The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush (2015)
Bush, as he did when campaigning for Congress, ran an "image campaign", highlighting his engaging personality and overall trustworthiness, and all signs seemed to point to a Bush victory, including Nixon's popularity rating of 74% in Texas. But Bush lost to Bentsen 53.5% to 46.5%; rural Democrats in East Texas voted in large numbers for Bentsen. Bush, though crushed, had lost before, and he was mulling over whether he should stay in politics or go back into the oil business.
Before the election, Nixon had developed a political "man-crush" on John Connally, and involved him in his Republican administration. Doing so confused Texas Republicans to no end, and despite a very positively reviewed campaign for U.S. Senator, Nixon's connection with Connally dearly cost Bush. Bush felt shunned, overlooked, and even betrayed by Nixon. Then, in early-December 1970, Nixon announced to those closest to him that Connally would be the new Secretary of the Treasury.
Nixon and Connally both understood that Bush needed to be "taken care of" in a positive way before the nomination of Connally as SecTreas was made public. Bush hadn't forgotten about the serious suggestion from November 1970 that he could serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The more Bush thought of the position, the more he liked it - he could learn diplomacy on the Big Stage without having much operational responsibility.
Before leaving the Oval Office, Bush made his case for the appointment to become the U.N. Ambassador. Bush said he would put forth an image that would be very beneficial to the Nixon administration. Nixon hadn't considered the appointment in that manner; the President decided to keep bush in the White House for the time-being, but had Haldeman put a hold on nominating a replacement in the United Nations. Then, very quickly, Nixon thought things over again, and realized that he didn't have any political allies in New York City (the Eastern Establishment, since the Hiss Case, absolutely hated Nixon), so why not send the affable Ivy Leaguer to Manhattan to defend the President in the salons on the East Side. Bush's career as Assistant to the President of the United States lasted less than one day.
Before the end of the month, the George and Barbara Bush were in NYC in the Ambassador's Residence at the Waldorf Towers. Ironically, Bush, who was from Connecticut and Texas, as well as being a Republican, privately complained about the Elitism in NYC, calling it "Center-Left Groupthink". To Bush, Elitists often failed to take opposing views into account, dismissing those POV's as uninformed, prejudiced, or just plain wrong. To Bush, being politically close-minded was a liability, not an asset.
As U.N. Ambassador, Bush learned about how to deal with the USSR, as in knowing when Russia was serious as opposed to merely posturing. Bush also learned that in order to deal with those from the USSR careful cultivation and signs of respect were required. To Bush, the best way to have a friend was to be one. The USSR Ambassador to the U.N. was Yakov Malik, who was the first Soviet that Bush knew well. Malik often made Bush's life difficult in the U.N., with the most difficult issue being Taiwan. Taiwan held China's seat on the U.N. Security Council, and the U.S. was committed to defending Taiwan's placement/role in the United Nations. During Bush's term as Ambassador to the U.N. in the early-1970s, many countries in the United Nations General Assembly wanted to expel Taiwan in favor of Communist China.
Nixon instructed Bush to "win the vote", and Bush, ever the competitor, upped his game. However, as Bush soon discovered, he was in a situation of presenting the wrong-issue-at-the-wrong-moment; Bush was even hissed by fellow ambassadors as he spoke in favor of dual membership. Taiwan was expelled by a vote of 59 - 55, with 15 nations abstaining. Bush was even hamstrung by Nixon and Secretary of State / National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in how he could respond to China's anti-American rhetoric in the United Nations (Bush favored much stronger diplomatically-worded responses). During a meeting with Bush, Kissinger didn't cool down until Bush explained that his motivation in taking on China in the U.N. was based on patriotism, not protecting his reputation. Bush adjusted to his new reality in the United Nations, even inviting Chinese delegates to his residence for dinner parties and entertainment, all to foster more collegial relations.