George Bush may not have had the combination of political assets to prevail as a presidential candidate, but he brought some valuable qualities to the Republican campaign. We hope they survive without him -- now that he has left the hustings to Ronald Reagan -- as the election year goes on.
Among the Bush qualities have been the energy to help grass-roots organization take him unexpectedly far; the candor to admit shortcomings and recognize complexity of issues; and the confidence that Americans, young and old , can come together to solve their problems.
Mr. Bush perhaps did his political image a disservice with the stump delivery of a genteel cheerleader pumping up enthusiasm for a homecoming game. But he argued that his diplomatic exposure to the suppression of the individual in China enhanced his conviction about the potentialities of individual freedom in America. And, amid all the Washington talk of public malaise, his display of buoyancy was refreshing:
"We don't have to be cynics about this country. We don't have to feel everything is lousy and you can't change things. Go in there with some optimism."