Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bush, Palin, and conservatism

Via Drum, the latest Bush-admin tell-all (speechwriter Matt Latimer) demonstrates that Dubya is not a stupid man:
I was about to be engulfed by a tidal wave of Palin euphoria when someone--someone I didn’t expect--planted my feet back on the ground. After Palin’s selection was announced, the same people who demanded I acknowledge the brilliance of McCain’s choice expected the president to join them in their high-fiving tizzy. It was clear, though, that the president, ever the skilled politician, had concerns about the choice of Palin, which he called “interesting.” That was the equivalent of calling a fireworks display “satisfactory.”

“I’m trying to remember if I’ve met her before. I’m sure I must have.” His eyes twinkled, then he asked, “What is she, the governor of Guam?”

Everyone in the room seemed to look at him in horror, their mouths agape. When Ed told him that conservatives were greeting the choice enthusiastically, he replied, “Look, I’m a team player, I’m on board.” He thought about it for a minute. “She’s interesting,” he said again. “You know, just wait a few days until the bloom is off the rose.” Then he made a very smart assessment.

This woman is being put into a position she is not even remotely prepared for,” he said. “She hasn’t spent one day on the national level. Neither has her family. Let’s wait and see how she looks five days out.” It was a rare dose of reality in a White House that liked to believe every decision was great, every Republican was a genius, and McCain was the hope of the world because, well, because he chose to be a member of our party.
The Palin choice -- so bad, even Bush could tell as much.

Bush: careless, incurious, evil, but not stupid.

... N.b. that the movement conservatives were the ones who fell at Palin's feet, whereas Bush never was on that bandwagon; a strange thing about Bush is that, like his father, he's not a conservative ideologue. See this too from Latimer:
In 2008, Bush also told Latimer to take out a reference to the “conservative movement” in a speech. “Let me tell you something,” the President said. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement.” When Latimer was “perplexed,” Bush explained, “Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say,” the president said, “but I redefined the Republican Party.”
"Redefined" in the sense of "did whatever I felt like doing, and called it 'Republican.'"

Bush's presidency was for his own ego, tax cuts, and (after 9/11) overseas ass-kicking. If he cared about anything else while in office, I've forgotten what it was.

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