2 comments January 2nd, 2009at 07:13am Posted by Eli
Some pretty incredible quotes in this WaPo interview with Josh Bolten and Stephen Hadley:
“One of the mythologies,” Hadley said, “is that it was the vice president that somehow was pulling the strings on foreign policy in the first term and made it very ideologically driven and that somehow in the second term, the vice president’s influence is in decline and, therefore, somehow the real Bush has come forward, and we have a more pragmatic foreign policy.”
“That’s just hooey — it’s just hooey,” the ever-polite Hadley concluded….
[Bolten dismissed] dismissing the notion that Bush abandoned free-market principles and simply subcontracted decisions to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke.
“He hasn’t changed his philosophy, but he was advised and accepts . . . that massive government intervention has been necessary in the financial markets in order to protect the viability of the financial markets,” Bolten said. “It’s been a dialogue,” he added. “It’s not that Paulson all of a sudden shows up once a week and says, ‘Here is what I am going to do,’ and the president rubber-stamps it. It is a regular conversation between Paulson and Bernanke and Paulson and the White House.”
I don’t know whether it’s worse for Dubya’s legacy for him to be remembered as a gullible puppet, or as an independent-minded idiot who made awful, disastrous decisions all by himself.
The last two paragraphs are where it just gets surreal:
Bolten said another of his goals when he took over was to try to get the country to see the likable boss he and other aides saw in private, convinced that would boost Bush’s popularity. “I failed miserably,” he conceded. “Maybe in the beginning of the sixth year of a presidency, that’s a quixotic task. . . . But everybody who has actual personal exposure to the president, almost everybody, appreciates what a good leader he is, how smart he is and, especially, how humane he is.”
Hadley invoked Bush’s 2000 campaign theme in summing up the president’s personal qualities. “He has got this great compassion which was not just a slogan, ‘compassionate conservative.’ It is who he is. It is one of the great things he brought to this office,” Hadley concluded. “This is the one thing that just drives me crazy, that somehow this is an arrogant administration, an arrogant president running an arrogant policy. This guy — one thing he is not is arrogant.”
Wow. Just… wow. How could we all have been so wrong? I guess that’s what happens when you judge someone solely by their words and actions.