Former president jumps out of perfectly good aircraft

It’s amazing, really, how one word can dog a person. Newsweek applied the “W word” to former President George Bush in 1987. And people repeated it until it stuck for the same reason characterizations stick today in social media: People often believe what they’re told to believe, and much of politics is marketing.

Not a particularly popular president, and certainly one whose political strategies are fair game for questioning (See Atwater, Lee), George Bush nonetheless is the only living president who actually fought in a war, enlisting when he was 18. It wasn’t for show when he parachuted out of a burning plane during a battle in the South Pacific.

It’s a safe bet that the writers at Newsweek never did, but the word stuck anyway.

It took 24 years for the magazine to correct its characterization of the former president, which it did in 2011, reporting on Bush’s trip as vice president to confront the death squads of El Salvador.

Wimps don’t generally jump out of perfectly good aircraft on their 90th birthday.

Former President George H.W. Bush, strapped to Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, a retired member of the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, prepare to land on the lawn at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church while celebrating Bush’s 90th birthday in Kennebunkport, Maine, Thursday, June 12, 2014. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press.
  • Jack Boardman

    Although for political reasons, I could not vote
    for Bush 41—But I never considered him a “Wimp.” As a pilot of a Grumman TBF
    Avenger during an attack September 2, 1944 his aircraft was hit by AA fire
    & Bush completed his run before bailing-out—hardly the actions of a “wimp.”
    According to Wikipedia: […](T)hrough 1944, Bush flew 58 combat missions for
    which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the
    Presidential Unit Citation awarded to USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    If that happened today the backlash against Newsweek would be loud.

  • joetron2030

    I thought it was awesome that he jumped on his birthday again.

    I think it’s awesome that he did it in deck shoes and not tennis shoes or boots, too.

  • jon

    FAKE! You can totally see the string holding him up!

    I know.. that’s how a parachute works… but I couldn’t help myself…