The L Word

3 comments September 2nd, 2007at 09:51am Posted by Eli

Sure seems like the Bushies are awfully concerned about their legacy all of a sudden. First Rove, then Condi, and now the Deciderer himself:

When President Bush is asked what he plans to do when he leaves office, he often replies curtly: “I don’t have that much time to think beyond my presidency” or “I’m going to sprint to the finish.”

Um, did that sound morbid to anyone else?

But in an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, he daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own.

First, Mr. Bush said, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With assets that have been estimated as high as nearly $21 million, Mr. Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets — it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

Good to know that he doesn’t plan to lose sight of what’s important.

Then he said, “We’ll have a nice place in Dallas,” where he will be running what he called “a fantastic Freedom Institute” promoting democracy around the world. But he added, “I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.”

Wow, he sure does sound excited about that democracy thing. Just like he is now.

The transcripts and the book show Mr. Bush as being keenly interested in what history will say about his term despite his frequent comments to the contrary; as being in a reflective mode as his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue dwindles; and, ultimately, as being at once sorrowful and optimistic — but virtually alone as commander in chief, and aware of it.

Aides said Mr. Bush agreed to speak so freely with Mr. Draper only after years of lobbying, in which Mr. Draper said he finally convinced Mr. Bush and his aides that he was writing about him as “a consequential president” for history, not for the latest news cycle. And aides said they saw the book as the first effort to write about Mr. Bush in the context of nearly his entire presidency.

You know, I don’t think “consequential president” is necessarily a good thing. You could say James Buchanan was a “consequential president” too. Then again, I suspect Dubya would rather be remembered as a monster than as a mediocrity. Just so long as he’s larger than life and twice as important.

Sitting in an anteroom of the Oval Office, he eschewed the more formal White House menu for comfort food — a low-fat hotdog and ice cream — and bitingly told an aide who peeked in on the session that his time with Mr. Draper was “worthless anyway.”

But as Mr. Draper described it, and as the transcripts show, Mr. Bush warmed up considerably over the intervening interviews, chewing on an unlit cigar, jubilantly swatting at flies between making solemn points, propping his feet up on a table or stopping him at points to say emphatically, “I want you to get this” or “I want this damn book to be right.”

How delightful. I can certainly see why so many people find him charming. Also, were some of these interviews at Crawford, or does the White House have a bit of an insect problem? Or maybe flies just follow Dubya wherever he goes…

Telling Mr. Draper he likes to keep things “relatively light-hearted” around the White House, he added in May, “I can’t let my own worries — I try not to wear my worries on my sleeve; I don’t want to burden them with that.”

It’s not sociopathic unconcern, it’s heroic protectiveness! Just like when he kept reading My Pet Goat on 9/11 because he didn’t want to upset the little kids! (I always wondered why he couldn’t just say he had to go take care of Important Presidential Business without being specific, but hey, I guess that’s why I’m not the president.)

In response to Mr. Draper’s observance that Mr. Bush had nobody’s “shoulder to cry on,” the president said: “Of course I do, I’ve got God’s shoulder to cry on, and I cry a lot.” In what Mr. Draper interpreted as a reference to war casualties, Mr. Bush added, “I’ll bet I’ve shed more tears than you can count as president.”

I would take that bet in a heartbeat, and I’ll just use my fingers, with my toes kept in emergency reserve. (Note: This only applies to tears shed over soldiers and ordinary citizens. Tears for Ken Lay, or for corporations in need of bailouts don’t count.)

[H]e said he saw his unpopularity as a natural result of his decision to pursue a strategy in which he believed. “I made a decision to lead,” he said, “One, it makes you unpopular; two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?”

That is a very good question. And the answer is an emphatic NO.

I think this is my favorite part right here:

Mr. Bush acknowledged one major failing of the early occupation of Iraq when he said of disbanding the Saddam Hussein-era military, “The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen.”

But when Mr. Draper pointed out that Mr. Bush’s former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, had gone ahead and forced the army’s dissolution and then asked Mr. Bush how he reacted to that, Mr. Bush said, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, ‘This is the policy, what happened?’ ” But, he added, “Again, Hadley’s got notes on all of this stuff,” referring to Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser.

Now that is one super-engaged Commander-In-Chief right there. And so committed to accountability!

We’re all doomed.

Entry Filed under: Bush

3 Comments

  • 1. whig  |  September 2nd, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    He doesn’t like his job, why not quit? No need to wait, just tender a resignation.

  • 2. PoliShifter  |  September 2nd, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    How many more people will die as Bush “sprints” to the bomb Iran, I mean finish line?

  • 3. Eli  |  September 2nd, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Dubya stays on because it pisses off the libruls. Besides, quitting would be an admission of weakness, and everyone knows he’s the Toughest Strongest Preznit Ever.


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