April 25, 2013

Highlights from the Bush interview: "I'll be dead... our afterlife... assiduously."

I'm watching John King's interview with George and Laura Bush (on the occasion of the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum).
GEORGE BUSH: History will ultimately judge the decisions that were made for Iraq. And I'm just not going to be around to see the final verdict.

KING: Not going to be around. That's an interesting way to put it. You...

GEORGE BUSH (laughing): In other words, I'll be dead....
I don't know why King acted puzzled over the phrase "I'm just not going to be around," but it was hilarious when Bush clarified the term. Lightheartedness at the idea of one's own death is disarming, and coming after King's strange confusion, it made us laugh. Perhaps King was hoping to draw Bush into some deeper contemplation of death. That didn't happen. We get a glimpse of Bush's social skill.

Having said so bluntly "I'll be dead," it was striking when Bush proceeded to refer to the post-presidency period as the "afterlife."
GEORGE BUSH: Democracies take time to evolve. Laura and I believe that women will help lead the democracy movements in these young democracies. And part of our afterlife will be to enable and empower women....
What amused me more than anything else was the one time in the interview when Bush whipped out a higher level vocabulary word. It sticks out, because it's something he almost entirely avoids. In this, he's so different from Obama, whose speaking style feels like the result of a lifetime of positive reinforcement for talking like a professor. Bush was addressing the problem dealing with Katrina, in our system of federalism which places primary responsibility on the state governor.
GEORGE BUSH: ... And the role of the federal government's to be supportive. In this case, the natural disaster was so overwhelming, and the infrastructure was so overwhelmed that I had a tough choice to make. And people would just learn the facts. See, that's all I care about, and that's what I wrote in my book which I'm sure you assiduously studied.
Laura laughs. "Assiduously" is there as a joke, and if you listen to the interview, you'll hear a lot of humor in the way he says it.

And let me throw in the next interchange, about the one way Bush could have moved control to the federal level:
KING: You talk about... the idea that you have a southern governor, a woman governor in a state with a large African-American population. A former governor yourself. And people were telling you, Mr. President, maybe you need to declare an insurrection.

GEORGE BUSH: Insurrection, which would have been pretty difficult. Not pretty difficult. Very difficult. Yeah, so it points out the dilemma.

KING: Do you wish in hindsight you had done it?

GEORGE BUSH: No. Not really. There's no telling how history would have recorded the situation, had I declared insurrection. I can tell you that the decibel level would have risen even louder than it was.
Notice how gently he refers to the vicious criticism he had to deal with. He doesn't say people were awfully cruel to him, which they were. He mentions "the decibel level," and that's only after his stock answer for almost everything: History will judge. And he wants the American people to think and learn. That's the idea of the library, which he refocuses on:
GEORGE BUSH: The point is, is that it -- this helps Americans understand the decisions that I made during a massive storm. But also points out that — the dilemmas that presidents face. Not just me but every president who’s got a series of conflicting advisers. And you've just got to pick and make the best judgment call you can. And hopefully, people will go to the Decision Point Theater and say, "Wow, I didn't understand that" or "I now understand it better." And it's interesting to me, they say, of how a president makes decisions, and hopefully it will help them make better decisions.
There's something very sweet and modest about the expression of hope that visitors to the library will be helped in their own lives as they go about making personal decisions. 

79 comments:

Seeing Red said...

KING: You talk about... the idea that you have a southern governor, a woman governor in a state with a large African-American population. A former governor yourself. And people were telling you, Mr. President, maybe you need to declare an insurrection.


What was King going for here?

Female governor, Southern, large AA population.

AprilApple said...

John King - another pro-democrat hack media idiot.

Matthew Sablan said...

This interview, again, shows Bush is immensely smarter, more charming and more human than his opponents ever gave him credit for.

Assiduously indeed.

Matthew Sablan said...

I note the CNN story skips from verdict to "I'll be dead," leaving out King's confusion about what Bush meant.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

He seems like a gracious, humble man.

machine said...

...maybe History will look under the couch again for the WMDS....

...you know....just to be sure.

bagoh20 said...

I think what you see in him is the serene confidence that comes from knowing that he truly did what he thought was right and decent with good and honest intentions. He feels confident that anyone who gives it a fair analysis will come away believing he did the right thing most of time and when he didn't it was an honest mistake not due to politics, or self interest.

When you conduct your life and handle your responsibilities as if God is watching, you don't feel a great need to explain yourself or try to re-frame things. "Learn the facts and judge for yourself" is a good man's explanation of his record.

Matthew Sablan said...

Machine: The problem was people heard nukes when he said WMDs, and not the small quantities of chemical agents that they did find.

Patrick said...

Let me just fill in for Robert Cook here:

war criminal, robber baron investment banker, 1% parasites living off the labor of the poor...

Glad I could save you the trouble, Robert!

traditionalguy said...

Bush uses a Texas good old boy jokester persona, but to the alert he is cleraly superior in intelligence to the people he has to deal with, and yet he treats them so gently.

rcommal said...

Ah, yes, Gov. Blanco, whose sense of urgency about the impending Katrina was so great that on the cusp of that weekend in late August 2005, she still hadn't made up her mind whether to cancel her attendance at the Southern Governors Association the following Tuesday, where she was scheduled to be sworn in as chairperson (a situation I noted in what is one of the very first, if not *the* very first I publicly posted on this blog).

That stellar governor, who then turned around and found the urgency to blame everyone else, other than herself.

Nonapod said...

It's always interesting to me how most former presidents go through phases where negative public opinion of them softens a bit several years after they were in office. Like they say, time brings perspective I guess.

In Bush's case, I didn't agree with everything he did (most notably Medicare Part D and TARP) but overall he was worlds better than what we have now. Throughout most of his presidency the media treated him fairly shabbily and he rarely fought back and didn't stoop to insults and petulance unlink our current crybaby in chief. At the time, few people saw this as a positive thing about him, but these days more and more people are starting to miss that.

machine said...

which explains why even he made jokes about it...

Inga said...

I like him so much better as a former President.Sweet man.

wyo sis said...

Bush and his father and Romney and Reagan come to mind as people who are both smarter than most of the people in the room, and savvy enough to let other people figure that our for themselves, or not.
It isn't that they don't make mistakes, it's that they have solid values that underlie their decisions. Those values don't change so even a wrong decision has a coherent reason and sometimes it goes against their own self interest.

No wonder politicians worry about their legacy.

The legacy speaks for itself.

SteveR said...

Seems like the evaluation of stupidity, gaffeness, corruption, cronyism, and qualification has become much more friendly these last few years than when GWB was president.

jd said...

he always finds a way to make it about HIM!

David said...

John King's problem interviewing Bush is that Bush is about 30 IQ points smarter than John King. Not a fair fight.

dreams said...

George Bush is smarter than John King and all those liberal agenda journalists, John King is one of the dumber liberals in my opinion. And I'm not the only one who thinks so.

"George W. Bush Is Smarter than You"

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/04/25/george_w_bush_is_smarter_than_you_118125.html

President-Mom-Jeans said...

I miss Bush, the humilty, self deprecation.

The competency in office compared to President Foodstamps.

Much like with Reagan, despite how much the left and Media hated him during his presidency, in a generation or so the truth will push through.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Matthew Sablan said...

This interview, again, shows Bush is immensely smarter, more charming and more human than his opponents ever gave him credit for.

machine said...

...maybe History will look under the couch again for the WMDS....

...you know....just to be sure.


...proving Matthew's point.

edutcher said...

Interesting how the people that try to make him look stupid, only succeed in making themselves look stupid.

Case in point:

machine said...

...maybe History will look under the couch again for the WMDS....

...you know....just to be sure.


You mean the ones WikiLeaks showed were there?

The ones the guy who was 2-in-C of Saddam's air force said were trucked into Syria by the Russkies, and are currently being used by the Pencil Neck against the insurgents?

You mean the yellowcake sold to the Canucks from Saddam's storehouses a couple of years ago?

Those WMDs?

Ya burnt?

Inga said...

I like him so much better as a former President.Sweet man.

The She Devil of the SS forgets the doofus who replaced him.

Marty said...

Didn't vote for Bush the first time, but did vote for his re-election. He was focused on not only defending our country from the jihadis, but did so from a global strategic point of view that, in retrospect, turned out to be a lot harder to accomplish than to envision. Could ding him for a lot of bad decisions, most importantly for not seeking a tax increase to pay for the wars, but compared to John Kerry? Not a tough choice at all.

machine said...

...maybe History will look back kindly on the man who tried to make to torture cool...maybe.

dreams said...

And what about that average 5.3% unemployment number under Bush that thanks to the liberal media almost no one knows about.

Charles said...

dreams said...

And what about that average 5.3% unemployment number under Bush that thanks to the liberal media almost no one knows about.

We knew about it. We were just told that it was a terrible indicator of the "jobless recovery."

MadisonMan said...

He seems very comfortable and content in the interview. Laura sure comes alive when she talks about a Library.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Rumsfeld used to say "A's hire A's and B's hire C's."

That goes a long way toward explaining Janet Napolitano.

Marshal said...

Charles said...
dreams said...

And what about that average 5.3% unemployment number under Bush that thanks to the liberal media almost no one knows about.

We knew about it. We were just told that it was a terrible indicator of the "jobless recovery."


All jobs created under Republican Presidents are McJobs. Basic English.

Pastafarian said...

machine, maybe history will look back harshly on the administration that stopped administering vanilla swirlies to terrorists out of compassion, after the next major attack succeeds and kills thousands.

Then again, history books are written by hard-left ideologues, so...probably not.

Hell, there are still history books out there that claim that Roosevelt's policies saved us from the Great Depression, when they actually extended it.

Ipso Fatso said...

I voted for Bush twice, but he and Rove did a great deal of damage to the conservative brand and made it very easy for a clown like Obama to ride in on his half-white horse and try to save the day.

Granted while the media rolled over on thier stomach for Obama they set out to destroy Bush and did a good job of damaging him. There should have been more push back and Bush should havestood up to the idiot R's in congress and put in a timely veto or four.

Freeman Hunt said...

Bush's way of being is so jarring in these much different, lesser years.

machine said...

...and "conservatives" used to believe in the rule of law...


but now...meh, let's squash some nuts!

bagoh20 said...

The Bushes, and the Romneys are example of decent people who spend their lives doing a lot of good with personal spending of time, effort and money, rather than just talking about compassion and fairness, and "doing your fair share".

There are people who spend a lot of effort telling us what's wrong in the world, while doing little to improve the lives of people around them where they have more real power and influence than a President does on the average American. You are the President of your immediate community. Are you walking the walk there?

Tim said...

Somewhat off topic, but it seems clear the troll prefers Obama's death by drone over allegations of Bush's, (albeit poorly defined) "torture."

Noted.

edutcher said...

machine said...

...maybe History will look back kindly on the man who tried to make to torture cool...maybe.

You mean the waterboarding Pelosi Galore and the rest of the Democrats had no problem with until they thought their asses were safe and then started screaming, "Torture!", when they thought it might gain them some political advantage?

...and "conservatives" used to believe in the rule of law...

You mean like the current Adminsitration which thinks it has the right to pick and choose which laws to enforce?

I can knock this moron's stuff down all day.

Ya burnt?

twinsdaddy said...

Joan Walsh was on MSNBC the other night and stated, with a straight face, that the reason Bush's approval rating was improving is because the Whiney One is doing such a great job.As with most things on that network the opposite is true.I don't for a second believe they are tied, there are at least 10 to 15 percent of people who will never state they disapprove of our current leader for fear of being branded with the big R word. I think most of us realized after watching the O's response to the Gun bill defeat, that this the biggest pussy who has ever been President......EVER

bagoh20 said...

If Bush was never President, 9/11 still would have happened, and if people are honest they will admit that much of what followed would have too. The war in Afghanistan would have happened under Gore, and it's likely some version of the Iraq war too. You have to remember what really led to Iraq II was not 9/11, but atrocities and escalating concerns about the Saddam regime under our no fly zone, and embargo. It was the evidence-supported and widely believed danger he was developing into. We would have done something there no matter who was in office. Remember also that the country and the congress wanted to do something in Iraq. Once we were in, there was no good way out other than winning. Imagine if we lost, or if Saddam was still there all this time. Both are very bad scenarios to have lived with that almost certainly would have ended up worse than where we are today.

At home, the economic collapse would have happened about the same time, and whichever party was in power the previous 8 years was going to lose. The economic problems we have are decades in the making, running on autopilot, and bipartisan in cause.

If you're lucky, you get to be President before or after the bills come due, like Clinton did, but you don't have the power to stop the bills from coming, only trimming them a little here or there. It's much easier to run them up big than scale them back even a little.

jimbino said...

GEORGE BUSH: "The point is, is that it ..." is a flawed grammatical construction commonly employed by folks who don't have a brain to process what comes in their ears before putting it out their mouths. The other one is "Absolutely!!!"

It took an Obama to enable me to appreciate the fumbling Bush.

mariner said...

rcommal,

That stellar governor, who then turned around and found the urgency to blame everyone else, other than herself.

That stupid bitch was so awful she couldn't get re-elected EVEN IN LOUISIANA!

mariner said...

Ruth Anne Adams,
Rumsfeld used to say "A's hire A's and B's hire C's."

If we had a more transparent administration and a more vigilant media we'd find out more about who F's hire.

Matthew Sablan said...

Let me be clear, we shouldn't pick on public speakers for not speaking perfectly. Some people might say we should all speak as crisply as a thespian in a well-rehearsed role, but that is a false choice between natural speaking and theatrics. If you like your speaking pattern, you can keep your speaking pattern.

n.n said...

He knows they don't respect him. He counters their liberal mocking with quite sarcasm, but in moderation.

Katrina was not an event which overwhelmed local resources. Katrina was an event which exposed overwhelming local corruption.

As for Iraq, it was an open problem. Our presence there should have concluded with Bush Sr. It could have been finalized with Clinton. Instead, it was left for Bush Jr. to finish what his predecessors left undone.

cubanbob said...

Bage well said. Machine is today your assigned day to be Zero's fluffer? Joan Walsh once again proves Orwell right. No ordinary person can believe such things.

bagoh20 said...

Jimbino, Don't you even realize how dumb and emotional that sounds. A man like Bush would never make a silly attack like you just did, clearly showing how superior he is to you in intellect and character.

"flawed grammatical construction"

What a dweeb.

Dante said...

When you conduct your life and handle your responsibilities as if God is watching, you don't feel a great need to explain yourself or try to re-frame things. "Learn the facts and judge for yourself" is a good man's explanation of his record.

I personally think the morality of a Ron Paul is stronger than the morality of Bush, and I suspect Ron Paul derived his morality, by studying it and internalizing it, rather than reading the rules and following them.

cubanbob said...

GEORGE BUSH: "The point is, is that it ..." is a flawed grammatical construction commonly employed by folks who don't have a brain to process what comes in their ears before putting it out their mouths. The other one is "Absolutely!!!"

It took an Obama to enable me to appreciate the fumbling Bush.

4/25/13, 11:35 AM

It took a Zero to enable me to appreciate a fumbling Bush.

machine said...

...maybe History will look kindly on the man who drive the economy off the cliff...then disappeared....


but he paints nice puppies so...it's cool.

ricpic said...

Bush's description of his and Laura Bush's post presidential life as "our afterlife" doesn't jibe with the presence he has achieved in his portraits of their dog. Of course for all I know Bush may consider painting to be no more than a diversion. Nevertheless he had to have been at full attention, the opposite of an afterlife, during the moments he painted such vital pictures.

Alex said...

machine, please connect the dots on "bush wrecked the economy". Show your work, don't just parrot DNC talking points.

bagoh20 said...

"I personally think the morality of a Ron Paul is stronger than the morality of Bush".

Only if you prefer the Paul ideology. Personally I'm torn. But for example, Bush looked at what was happening in Iraq, and said we need to do something to stop the atrocities which we are enabling, and make things better for those people and everyone else who will suffer if we don't.

Paul, I assume would say let it happen, it's none of our business. That would probably have been better for us, at least in the short run, but it's not all about us. I think Bush chose the higher road. It could still end up a waste, but there is certainly no guarantee that the road not traveled would turn out worse.

It'a always easy to say if you listened to me, then the unexpected bad things would not have happened, but that just wishful thinking. Different bad things would happen.

On domestic policy, I'm pretty much in Paul's camp, not Bush's.

edutcher said...

machine said...

...maybe History will look kindly on the man who drive the economy off the cliff...then disappeared....

You mean the housing crash caused by Willie Whitewater's subprime extensions to the CRA?

The one our stoner in chief worked so hard to keep going?

Keep 'em coming. I just hope the mindless automaton can stand the strain of having all his illusions destroyed.

Ya burnt?

Birches said...

Definitely got Bush fatigue, which led to my new general rule that NO President deserves to be reelected. That second term is such a waste (see how quickly Obama's second term is turning sour).

However, after 9/11 I was immediately grateful that Al Gore was not the President. I think most people feel the same way.

Seeing Red said...

They elected Landrieu Senator.

Tim said...

After the election of 2000, the left and the press undermined Bush and his attempt to staff his administration for many months. 9/11 was less than 9 months into his term. The left and the press (but I repeat myself) never let up for 8 years.

Æthelflæd said...

bagoh20 said...

"Only if you prefer the Paul ideology. Personally I'm torn."

Same here.

Portia said...

machine is trying, but he/she just can't seem to get there.

n.n said...

ricpic:

His "afterlife" is actually a dénouement. It occurs between the apogee of life and our final resting place.

Sam L. said...

" machine said...

...maybe History will look back kindly on the man who tried to make to torture cool...maybe.

4/25/13, 10:54 AM"

Yeah, we all DO so think highly of Saddam.

furious_a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
furious_a said...

Listening to W's comments, reminded of this:

Through the hills of Kentucky 'cross the Ohio river
The old man kept talking 'bout his life and his times
He fell asleep with his head against the window
He said an honest man's pillow is his peace of mind.

--Minutes to Memories

...plus making Johnny Cougar's head explode.

wyo sis said...

I'm pretty sure he's using the word "afterlife" ironically. Whether he thinks of it as a denouement is not revealed. Except by his actions, which indicate he's having a great time.
It would be great if everyone else had a life as full of action and responsibility met head on with courage and determination. He doesn't owe any of us an apology for the way he used his public life.

AReasonableMan said...

Alex said...
machine, please connect the dots on "bush wrecked the economy". Show your work, don't just parrot DNC talking points.


This is a standard way for some to elide the responsibilities that Bush has for his disastrous economic and foreign policies, which are best judged by their results.

Of course he is a personable person, he is a politician. What he isn't is a person who advanced the best interests of the country either here or overseas.

edutcher said...

Troll, of course, can't read and needs everything told to him.

If he read my answers to the mindless automaton, he realize why he's AnUnreasonableTroll.

Matthew Sablan said...

"This is a standard way for some to elide the responsibilities that Bush has for his disastrous economic and foreign policies, which are best judged by their results."

-- Maybe we can use the Krugman defense: If only we had done MORE of what Bush wanted, everything would've been fine.

jeff said...

"This is a standard way for some to elide the responsibilities that Bush has for his disastrous economic and foreign policies, which are best judged by their results."

And THAT is the standard way for some to avoid actually explaining why things when off the cliff, coincidentally the same time the democrats took over in congress. Also avoiding explaining why housing led the slump after years of the government pushing for loans for bad risks. The people leading the committees that oversaw that sort of thing tended to be democrats. Which is to be avoided at all costs and not mentioned at all.

n.n said...

Matthew Sablan:

Bush Jr. wanted more accountability. He wanted to audit the principal funnels for American wealth, Fannie and Freddie, presumably to determine the effectiveness of the policies which supported their creation and persistence.

Interestingly enough, Romney also wanted an audit... of the Federal Reserve. He wanted to know the effectiveness of debasing our currency in order to delay accountability for our profligate spending. This came out at the same private meeting where he cited that nearly half of the population had an incentive to support redistributive change.

As for for foreign policy, with Bush Jr., there was Iraq and Afghanistan. Whereas with Obama, there is Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and various other nations in Africa and Asia. Obama is deeply embedded in foreign policy.

AReasonableMan said...

This knee-jerk support for Bush Jr is a poor strategy. It would be much better to just write him off as the complete stinker he was as president and move on. There isn't a president with a more indefensible record in living memory.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

The gene for finding this interesting must be recessive and so rare that only cousins who breed can propagate it.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

And part of our afterlife will be to enable and empower women....

That's such an awesomely, stupendously stupid thing to say that I'm glad there are so many Friends of Bush here to overlook and/or praise it.

rcommal said...

There isn't a president with a more indefensible record in living memory.

What does "in living memory" mean? Or even just "living memory"?

The gene for finding this interesting must be recessive and so rare that only cousins who breed can propagate it.

Dang, Ritmo. The perspicacity of this comment is so fabulous, its originality and freshness so enlightening, that I can do naught but bow down to your superior breeding and the results therein.

AReasonableMan said...

Let's put this in simple terms.

Carter’s 52% approval rating is higher than Bush’s 47%.

rcommal said...

Statistics, often enough, are put in simpleton terms.

AReasonableMan just provided a great example.

wyo sis said...

"This knee-jerk support for Bush Jr is a poor strategy."

As if everything were a strategy.
Sad that that's the only way you look at it.

Carl said...

This knee-jerk support for Bush Jr is a poor strategy.

It's not a strategy, you cynical humorless orc. It's how people actually feel. I realize this may cause if anything at all no more than your mental equivalent of a divide by zero error, but you might as well be told that there are actually people who do not go through life strategizing, but simply saying plainly what they think, and acting on a set of core beliefs without much care about how many Facebook likes it gets.

Bush was one of those. He connects to kindred spirits. Obviously not to those who go through life playing a part, who have no actual face or soul or purpose, just an endless sequence of painted masks of finely-tuned strategy in pursuit of the nullity of popularity.

It would be much better to just write him off as the complete stinker he was as president and move on.

I can well imagine you feel that way. Next to real gold, the cheapness of the microns-thick electroplate is painfully obvious.

HA said...

machine said...

"...maybe History will look under the couch again for the WMDS...."

No need. History can ask the Justice Department where the Tsarnaev's got the WMD's they've been charged with using in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Apparently, WMD is a highly malleable acronym.

Robert Cook said...

"Bush...connects to kindred spirits."

Well, no wonder so many people seem to like him! We are a nation replete with ignorant assholes and overcompensating bullies.

Rusty said...

Patrick said...
Let me just fill in for Robert Cook here:

war criminal, robber baron investment banker, 1% parasites living off the labor of the poor...

Glad I could save you the trouble, Robert!


LOL!

Robert Cook said...

"What does in living memory' mean? Or even just 'living memory'?"

Not sure why you repeated the phrase without the "in" included, but, assuming you're really curious, it means: within the lifetimes of people still alive today.