September 1, 2013

"I know you're trying to subtly rope me in to the issues of the day. I refuse to be roped in."

Said George W. Bush, handling questions about Syria in precisely the style that befits a former President, speaking publicly.

But what if President Obama were to privately consult with George Bush? This is something I've fantasized about. I imagine Obama talking about how much he understands now what Bush went through and how Bush is the one person in the world who understands what he's going through. I picture Bush supporting the younger man in a completely empathetic and patriotic way.

55 comments:

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Yes. Yes, Bush would. He's a better man than his critics give him credit for.

Certainly a better man than I am. I'd tell the imbecile to go piss up a rope.

Edward Lunny said...

The I, me, my president has neither the humility or commonsense to seek the council of anyone experienced in these matters, let alone heed such advice. His maneuvering on Syria is nothing more than a political move. The outcome is irrelevant.

Lem said...

This is something I've fantasized about.

In other words...
There is zero chance Obama will play it that way.

St. George said...

"I picture Bush supporting the younger man in a completely empathetic and patriotic way."

There's not one man in a million who would have written that sentence.

Personally, I picture Bush telling "the younger man" with icy terseness that he needs to pull his head out of his ass.

These guys are not teddy bears, despite how they like to present themselves to the world.

Harold House said...

How can you say "Bush was the one person in the world who understands..."

The problem with the observation is to understand one needs to comprehend, not be led like a horse to water and making him drink.

The nation has been suffering for a decade because Bush understood so little.

Tregonsee said...

Bush43 was a class act, like the majority of the family. Sadly people with considerably less class can often have their way in politics.

Tank said...

You have a great imagination. I can easily imagine Bush's side of that story, but not Zero's.

Zero would never condescend to bring himself "down" to Bush's level. (Is that a proper use of condescend?).

Diogenes of Sinope said...

As you imagine Bush being supportive, completely empathetic in a patriotic way; I cannot imagine Obama being anything like that with Bush. Either in private or most certainly in public. Sadly for the USA, Obama seems to have a flawed personality.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Bush and his people were extremely cooperative and helpful during the transition period in late '08. The contrast with how Clinton's people behaved eight years earlier is quite remarkable. It is great testimony to Bush's faith in practice that he and (41) befriended Clinton and in many ways became the father and brother he never had.

I also recall (but cannot find the link) that when asked during the transition why he was being so cooperative after all Obama had said about him, Bush said (paraphrase) "Look, that's all just politics. When he starts seeing what I saw every day for the last eight years he'll understand much more than he does right now."

Bush would remain as classy as ever and not be dragged down to Obama's level.

Gahrie said...

Yes, President Bush would respond in a supportive way.

The problem is, President Obama is simply incapable of admitting either that he made a mistake or that he needs advice.

Illuninati said...

Althouse said:

"I imagine Obama talking about how much he understands now what Bush went through and how Bush is the one person in the world who understands what he's going through."

This comment is one of the things I like about your blog. You have the ability to imagine things that I believe are not remotely possible. That makes it fun. Perhaps when hell freezes over, Obama will develop the ability to empathize with someone who disagrees with his ideology.

When the most powerful man in the United States can pick a common citizen, George Zimmerman (a Democrat), freezes him (a White Hispanic racist), and do everything he can to destroy him, in order to promote a discourse on race racial hatred against whites), I am driven to the conclusion that Obama is a sociopath who lacks the ability to empathize. The powerful Democrats who continue to lie about Zimmerman even after the evidence has been laid out in a trial are also acting like sociopaths who have destroyed Zimmerman so that they can use him as a symbol to use to stir up racial hatred.

paminwi said...

This President is a narcissist. There is no other way to describe him. Class - there is not a single classy bone in the man's body.

Did you know the military is now "his military"?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxTqnEVw4F4#t=19

RebeccaH said...

Dream on, Althouse. President Bush thinks President Obama is a moron, just like the rest of us do. He's just too much of a gentleman to say so.

Michael K said...

"The nation has been suffering for five years because You understood so little. "

Fixed it for you.

I can imagine Bush doing it but not Obama.

AprilApple said...

Obama doesn't possess an oz. of humility. Your fantasy is just that - a fantasy.

edutcher said...

Anyone else would say, at that point, "He WAS right, after all".

Not our Little Zero, and I can't see him consulting Dubya.

It would be an admission he was wr..., in err..., incorr...

Well, it just wouldn't happent

Sam L. said...

As Barry knows he's smarter than anyone else in the room....Not. Gonna. Happen.

As Ed Lunny said, Barry hasn't the humility, to lower himself to ask.

Birkel said...

" I imagine Obama talking about how much he understands now what Bush went through and how Bush is the one person in the world who understands what he's going through."

Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence. Could the good professor please relate a single example of President Obama's ability to see beyond himself?

Seriously, Professor Althouse, can you get beyond your own wish-fulfillment of this tabula rasa?Can you admit the sharp creases of pants and tingling of legs and whatever other nonsense your lot allowed to sway it toward the least qualified president in America's history was bull shit on stilts?

Where's the mea culpa? And if fanboys who put this unqualified piker in office cannot admit their collective mistake, what reason does he have to change course?

Hagar said...

W. is a kindly man, and he might well be trying to understand Obama's behavior, but I doubt he would "understand."

And Barbara Bush would give Mr. Obama a severe "talking to."

roesch/voltaire said...

I am glad to read that Obama is seeking congressional approval first, and in the mean time a more complete report from the UN will be available. This is a caution and respect for data that the Bush/Chaney gang ignored in their rush for war.

Big Mike said...

I agree with St. George more than I agree with Kev. It's easy to forget that Dubya had an MBA from Harvard, and, frankly, based on the evidence to date it's obviously a much more challenging degree than a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law.

I think Dubya would tell Obama to ditch the yes-men, and get staff who can help him think a couple steps ahead so he doesn't get himself into a corner.

But I also agree with the majority sentiment that Obama would never actually consult with George W. Bush. A form of show, where he invites George W. back to the White House, for purposes of staging show. Possibly. But even that's a bit of stretch.

Drew said...

The thing is, the President is so convinced of his own brilliance, he would never ask anyone for advice. About anything.

David said...

"Ain't gonna happen."

jms said...

You mean the way that President Kennedy consulted with former President Eisenhower during the Cuban missile crisis?

Yes, that would be the smart thing to do. He might even decide to do it quietly, secretly even, in order not to invoke the ire of his base.

But I can't imagine that his ego will allow him to do it.

jms said...

You mean the way that President Kennedy consulted former President Dwight Eisenhower during the Cuban missile crisis?

Why yes, that would be a smart thing to do. He might even be well advised to do it quietly, even secretly, so as not to raise the ire of his base.

I don't think his ego will allow it.

Koblog said...

"I picture Bush supporting the younger man in a completely empathetic and patriotic way."

....and then BOzo steps to the podium and, reading TOTUS, blames the previous administration and the republicans for the mess, and that he is working hard against nefarious racist forces to supply free healthcare to all immigrants.

Skeptical Voter said...

Oh come on. I don't doubt that Dubya would offer advice--if asked.

One difference between Obama and Dubya will become apparent when Obama finally leaves office (and our "long national nightmare is over').

Dubya will continue to be silent or at least offer no criticism of whoever is President.

Obama will continue to offer his opinions, criticisms and bollixed up ideas to such an extent that he will make Jimmy Carter look like a mute.

otiswild said...

If I were W:
"I haven't had access to the classified materials that would allow me to make an informed judgement about the situation, so it would be unfair for me to comment on matters on which I did not have all the facts. I myself have been the recipient of such criticism and would not wish it on another. "

Classy, yet with a bit of shiv.

glenn said...

We made a mistake, then we compounded it by making it again. Now we have to pay. In the words of the smartest President evah "Elections have consequences"

AprilApple said...

Obama's hatred for his political adversaries trumps all.

gk1 said...

Obama would never ask because he presumes everyone is as vindictive as he is after dumpling nothing but scorn on G.W. The was the Nemesis Victor Davis Hanson had predicted years ago after years of Obama hubris.

Cedarford said...

I think how it works is certain Presidents or members of that leaders Executive Branch thought to have been successful are consulted by present leaders - leaders of other nations, leaders of Congress, the current President.

Ford, Reagan, HW, and Clinton all consulted Nixon on politics and foreign polcy. Clinton also talked regularly to HW on foreign affairs.

Subsequent Presidents rarely talked to Jimmy Carter, deemed a failure.

Dubya Bush, like him or not, is perceived as a Carteresque disaster. An imploded economy and a thoroughly bungled foreign policy as a tool of the neocons - was what his successor inherited...

It unfortunately goes past Obama being a preening narcissist...Clinton gets phone calls from him, HW has...but not Carter or Bush II.

cubanbob said...

Bush is wise to stay silent. Historians will judge him to be a much better president than Obama. All the Bush haters keep blaming Bush-five years out-for Obama's failures yet they conviniently overlook they elect Obama to fix the mess they blame Bush for. Obviously they hired an Affirmative Action Peter Principle Hire. But they are too Stuck On Stupid to see how truly stupid they are. By this point in the second Reagan Administration Reagan had won carrying 49 states and the country was in full recovery. Indeed in August and September of 2008 the lame duck and wildly unpopular Bush was a far more competent,engaged and decisive president than Obama has ever been todate.

Mazeman said...

Only to have Obama violate the trust and "blame Bush" if anything does go wrong...

Mazeman said...

Only to have Obama violate the trust and "blame Bush" if anything does go wrong...

Anthony said...

How do you picture former president Obama responding to a private request for advice during a foreign crisis from President Walker?

jr565 said...

I think Bush, behind closed doors should demand an apology from Obama and Biden for acting like such dicks during his presidency.

Jim Bullock said...

These two snippets from the comments are striking, side by side...

The problem with the observation is to understand one needs to comprehend, not be led like a horse to water and making him drink.

The problem is, President Obama is simply incapable of admitting either that he made a mistake or that he needs advice.

Why is Bush a sock puppet front for others while Obama a priest-king ordering all about him to his will? I have heard far more recitation of cant from Obama's mouth than from that of Bush the Younger.

"The President" is a sort of constructed image, with a single person at the center, with that individual's talents ticks and flaws. Yet "The President" in operation is also the staff and influencers who work for the boss, the positioning and messaging of politics (vs. personality) and the currents in which the mechanisms of campaign, party and administration operate.

I prefer to think of an administration, with a particular person as the boss & figurehead. The boss's personality and preferences pervade the rest, but are also influenced by it in turn.

I wonder - imagine, sometimes - what would happen if President Bush, for all his flaws, weren't subject so such relentless vitriol and scorn, and if President Obama, for all his gifts, weren't subject to such relentless praise and celebration. Each is an assault of sorts, that wears at the ability to engage clearly, and truthfully. I speculate that each man might have done better with more honest brokers creating the currents outside the administration.

(Bonus speculation - How much is Hillary Clinton's inevitable presidential run dinged by foreign policy during her tenure as Sec. State. How much of that damage is traceable to hubris, allowed by this particular administration's sense of destiny, and special pass from criticism.

"What difference, at this point, does it make?" Who says that? Who thinks that's a move that can work? What attitude is betrayed by that performance, and what are the consequences in the coming election? How much of that terrible move traces straight from the special pass and anointment that has surrounded this administration since before it took office?)

jr565 said...

Here is the timeline of how he handles potential war time issues.
He puts down his red line back in August. You better not go over this line syria, or else.
Syria goes over the line.
He then says there will be military action on our part. He doesn't consult the congress. John Kerry makes a forceful declaration of why war is necessary but Obama mentions it in passing at a press conference.

He gets France, and only France to join his coalition. He then decides that he really should consult with congres. But he doesn't demand that they reconvene since they are on vacation so this issue won't even be addressed until they get back from their vacations.
He then goes out to play golf.

Regardless of whether you think we should go to war with Syria or not, this is how Obama handles seroius matters of war and peace?

As Jaime Weinstein said on Fox:

"You remember, Hillary Clinton said — she wondered during the 2008 campaign whether President Obama could handle a 3:00 a.m. call. Now I think there is a question whether he can handle a 3:00 p.m. call. This was not something that came upon him in the middle of the night. He knew about this red line since he issued it back in August [2012] and he hasn’t sought to get authorization since then.”

Democrats should be ashamed that they ridiculed Bushs' lack of leadership. And that they elected this guy. TWICE!

Bill M said...

Harold House's comment is indicative of many on the left. Everything is Bush's fault because to acknowledge Obama's economic and foreign policy decisions over the last 5 years would be criticizing the half black President and that just won't do.

Unknown said...

He Who Must Not Be Middle-Named might ask GWB, and GWB might answer, but the answer would be meaningless to The One. He would be asking, to play at humility, for political purposes, but any real answer given by GWB would be ignored or downplayed as unrealistic and simply a furtherance of the hated Bush policies. But The One tried, he tried to Give Peace a Chance, but there was no alternative. A true narcissist could do nothing else.

Diggs said...

The only reason Obama would consult Bush on anything is so later, should it not go well, he could AGAIN blame Bush.
But like you said, it's pure fantasy. Obama doesn't think anyone has anything to tell him, since he knows it all.

TOTWTYTR said...

Dear Professor Althouse;

Please stop using whatever hallucinogenic drugs you are on.

SteveR said...

HD House returns in full form. Obama will consult no one out side of his insiders (e.g. Jarrett) who know the answers he wants to hear. Find a way to blame others, no matter what you do.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree that Bush(43) is a class act. His father did the same thing when asked his opinion about Clinton while the latter was in office. But, of course, Bubba Clinton didn't reciprocate with the younger Bush when he became an ex-President. The Bushes, and many other former Presidents, just don't think that it is the right thing to do to criticize their successor (or maybe even successors) while in office.

I think though that in addition to his innate goodness, you are also maybe seeing his Christianity. GWB seems to see the best in people and tries not to judge them. I see this too in what he has done since leaving office - preferring to work in Africa, etc, instead of getting mega-rich, as did his predecessor with his speaking fees and tax exempt foundation that is broke after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on their family and friends, including more than $50 million on travel alone.

TDP said...

Obama empathizing with Bush is impossible. Obama does not do empathy.

"Understanding" what Bush went through? Pfffft. Obama would be all, "George, it's your punk-ass fault that the One's golf game is suffering because of this Syria thing. So advise me then I'll go do what I want to anyway.. bitch."

I do though believe that if Obama did seek Bush out, George would offer Obama the full benefit of his experience and advice.

But Obama rarely seeks advice beyond Vallerie "Obama's Brain" Jarrett.

However, I'd pay to see Obama ask Cheney for advice... Cheney would tell Obama to 'Go F*ck your Oneself' then kick his ass all the way back to Air Force One.

eddie willers said...

How do you picture former president Obama responding to a private request for advice during a foreign crisis from President Walker?

"Can't I just eat my waffle?"

Enzyte Bob said...

Time to be honest here. Bush and Barry are both C-students and they gave us C-presidencies. Barry is working on a D about now. That's what happens when voting gets taken with the same level of seriousness as American Idol.

The Rand Pauls and Ted Cruz's of this world are making more sense by the day.

JAL said...

r/v @ 9:52 a.m. again demostrates that he lives in a parallel universe.

PH said...

If it happened: I think Bush would give Obama some honest and sincere advice: stay out of Syria.

The Sanity Inspector said...

I appreciated what Bush said early in Obama's presidency, when invited to critique his performance: "He deserves my silence."

jr565 said...

After being voted out of office, a president talks to his successor. While giving his successor a tour of the white house and right before leaving for the last he takes the new president aside and tells him that if he ever got really jammed up, he should look in the centre drawer of his desk, where he would find two envelopes, and to open envelope #1.

Well, time goes by and one day, the shit hits the fan internationally and the economy goes bad and the new president is in real trouble over it. So he remembers the drawer and the envelopes, and so he gets envelope #1 and opens it. Inside is a sheet of paper with just two words on it: "Blame me!"

A few months later, the new president finds himself in hot water again, and remembers that there is an envelope #2. So he goes and opens that one and finds another note. This one reads, "Get two envelopes ..."


The problem with Obama's administration is that he keeps pulling out the first envelope. He will never pull out the second envelope because, for whatever reason, noone, not the media, and certainly not his supporters, holds him accountable for the shit hitting the fan.

Douglas said...

Of the former presidents whom I remember, those who acted in public with the dignity befitting their office were: Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Those who did not - those who continued their partisan endeavors after leaving office - were Carter and Clinton.

SukieTawdry said...

Bill Clinton remarked once that while George W called him often, he seldom hears from Obama.

Marty said...

Yes. Of course, Obama has neither the intelligence, the open-mindedness nor the class to do any such thing. He may ask Valerie Jarrett, though.