Prezes and ex-prezes, &c.

Former president Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., February 28, 2021. (Joe Skipper / Reuters)
On the wrecking of a tradition; CPAC now and before; the fetishization of guns; a ferret named Elizabeth Ann; and more

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I n the late 1990s, I was mad at George Bush (the first one). Why? I wanted him to speak out against President Clinton and his depredations (as I saw them). His silence irked me. I thought he was gentlemanly to a fault.

“I’m tempted to go off the reservation,” he said at one point. In other words, he was tempted to go ahead and criticize his successor, publicly. But he held his peace. Probably, he was right.

There is a tradition — not deeply entrenched, but existent — that an ex-president does not criticize his successor. At least in public. At a


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