Peggy Noonan Calls Budding Friendship Between Bush I and Clinton Creepy

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Peggy Noonan says there's something unserious about Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush's newfound affection. In a conversation with friends this summer, says Noonan, "someone called the growing chumminess 'creepy' and asked what I thought of it. I said I found it creepy too. What, I was asked, did I think was behind it? Why are Mr. Bush senior and Mr. Clinton so publicly embracing each other, yukking it up for the cameras and complimenting each other?Because it serves their individual needs and interests, I said. They both get real benefit out of it while appearing to be ignoring their own interests. That's a great twofer.

What does Democrat Bill Clinton get out of cultivating the Republican Bushes? He gets public approval from a man most of the country sees as personally upstanding. When Mr. Bush puts his arm around Mr. Clinton, he confers his rectitude.

What does the elder Mr. Bush get out of it? He burnishes his reputation for personal generosity and a certain above-it-all nonpartisanship. He shows he's not narrow like a conservative, but national like a great leader. This has a spillover effect on his son, the incumbent president. The more his father embraces the foe, the more embracing the current President Bush looks.

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