Sunday, September 2, 2007

Bush's so-called legacy

I've been busy with things for school the last couple of days and haven't had time to write much about this. But President Doofus is thinking about what life is going to be like after he leaves the White House:

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.”
Yes, that's true, Clinton is. Of course, people like Clinton. And without Rove, he doesn't even remember to put in terms of "speaking out about the issues" or "working on things he considers important" or something like that... It's about the money. Because 20 million just doesn't go as far as it used to, you know. But wait, there's more:
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.”
I can see him getting bored, too. After all, boredom is usually a symptom of a lack of engagement. You get bored when there's nothing interesting going on. And this is not a man who engages deeply with the world. Indeed, the last seven years have been short-attention-span theater.
For now, though, Mr. Bush told the author, Robert Draper, in a later session, “I’m playing for October-November.” That is when he hopes the Iraq troop increase will finally show enough results to help him achieve the central goal of his remaining time in office: “To get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence,” and, he said later, “stay longer.”
That's the important thing, you see. Keeping troops in Iraq as long as possible. And it's not about the Iraqis. It's about the politics. It's all about the politics. Always has been.
But fully aware of his standing in opinion polls, Mr. Bush said his top commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, would perhaps do a better job selling progress to the American people than he could.
That's right. It's not about the people dying, the chaos, the complete ineffectiveness of the government. It's about how the war's been packaged and sold to the domestic audience.

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.
By that measure, he's been a success. They'll be writing about him for years. And I suppose he can't be blamed for finding a suitably sycophantic hack to fire the first volley in the book wars. After all, there are those speaking fees to consider!

Mr. Draper, a Texan like Mr. Bush and a former writer for Texas Monthly, spent hours interviewing Mr. Bush and his close circle of aides in 1998, when he wrote an early, defining article on Mr. Bush’s budding presidential candidacy for GQ magazine.

Mr. Draper’s family also has a history with Mr. Bush’s. Mr. Bush’s father in 1982 was an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of Mr. Draper’s grandfather, Leon Jaworski, a special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal.

Find a loyal family retainer to do your sales job. Classic.
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.”
Psssst.... some of us would appreciate some indication that you are worried, just a teensy. We certainly are. In fact, some of us are downright unnerved. And your blithe confidence that everything will be all right if we just let you keep doing what's worked so terribly so far...well, you're not helping. A few signs of worry would be encouraging. As it is, it looks like you're unaware of what's going on.

Oh, and by the way... He's in charge:

And in apparent reference to the invasion of Iraq, he continued, “This group-think of ‘we all sat around and decided’ — there’s only one person that can decide, and that’s the president.”
Except when he isn't:

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.

Yep, there was a policy. It didn't happen. He apparently shrugged and said "oh well."

And ultimately, the Iraq situation boils down to a problem of politics and PR:

He otherwise addressed his unpopularity as a tactical issue. For instance, in May he said that this fall it would be up to General Petraeus to convince the public that the Iraq strategy is working.

“I’ve been here too long,” Mr. Bush said, according to Mr. Draper. “Every time I start painting a rosy picture, it gets criticized and then it doesn’t make it on the news.”

That's right. Because, of course, the awful biased media only reports the bad things like people dying and troops without body armor and civilian casualties and death squads and ethnic cleansing, but they don't report all the good things that are happening, like, um....well....
“One interesting question historians are going to have to answer is: Would Saddam have behaved differently if he hadn’t gotten mixed signals between the first resolution and the failure of the second resolution?” Mr. Bush said. “I can’t answer that question. I was hopeful that diplomacy would work.”
Given his continual push for war on any old justification at all, this rings pretty hollow.

Absolutely incredible. Completely untroubled by the awful burden of self-awareness. And we put him there.


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