I remember after George W. Bush was elected and had served for several years, how much his presidency made me appreciate his father, George H. Bush. I wasn’t a huge fan of H. during his tenure, but at least he was intelligent. He thought with his head. He may have made some poor decisions, but at least their were rational ones. He also sincerely seemed like a compassionate guy, and his work since 1992 has only increased my respect for the former President.
Time is funny. After two years of Sarah Palin and the Tea Partiers dominating the political media discourse, even George W. Bush now seems more reasonable by comparison. It certainly helps, I suppose, that he’s remained quiet for most of the last two years. Until now.
W.’s memoirs are coming out soon, which means that he’s going to be making the talk-show rounds, and excerpts from that memoir are already starting to leak. I’ve already read about how he didn’t seem to be a huge fan of Dick Cheney, and in fact, nearly dropped him in 2004 (the logic for not dropping him, however, is not so sound).
But now he’s gone and said something ridiculously silly, and the entire eight years of gaffes has just come flooding back. What was the silliness? Bush writes in his memoirs, and reiterates in an interview set to air this Friday on “The Today Show” that the lowest point in his entire administration was when Kanye West said he didn’t like black people.
“He called me a racist,” Bush tells Lauer. “And I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now. It’s one thing to say, ‘I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘This man’s a racist.’ I resent it, it’s not true.”
Lauer quotes from Bush’s new book: “Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust.” Lauer adds, “You go on: ‘I faced a lot of criticism as President. I didn’t like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all-time low.’
President Bush responds: “Yeah. I still feel that way as you read those words. I felt ‘em when I heard ‘em, felt ‘em when I wrote ‘em and I felt ‘em when I’m listening to ‘em.
Lauer: “You say you told Laura at the time it was the worst moment of your Presidency?”
Bush: “Yes. My record was strong I felt when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And it was a disgusting moment.”
Lauer: “I wonder if some people are going to read that, now that you’ve written it, and they might give you some heat for that. And the reason is this — “
Bush [interrupting]: “Don’t care.”
Lauer: “Well, here’s the reason. You’re not saying that the worst moment in you’re Presidency was watching the misery in Louisiana. You’re saying it was when someone insulted you because of that.”
Bush: “No, and I also make it clear that the misery in Louisiana affected me deeply as well. There’s a lot of tough moments in the book. And it was a disgusting moment, pure and simple.”
It’s nice to know that the bizarre, out-of-left-field statement made by a crazy man has affected W. all these years. Of all the things that were said about him over those eight years, it was a statement made by Kanye West — the man who recently Tweeted “What’s better for devil worshipping Iphone or the Droid… Does lucifer return text… is he or she on Skype? Don’t wanna be sexist” — that he took most to heart.
Mr. President: Perspective. Look into it.