January 23, 2005

YOUNG MASTER:


True Confessions: A Democrat Likes George
(Lanny J. Davis, January 20, 2005, LA Times)

I have known President Bush for 40 years — ever since we attended Yale College together in the 1960s. I'm a Democrat (and I was a Democrat then), but I liked him and I still like him, as a sincere and kind man and a good friend.

Because I've known him for so long, it was clear to me when he first began running for president that he could beat Al Gore, and I warned Gore of that early on. I knew it then (and again in 2004) because I knew, from my earliest memories of George W. Bush, that not only did people routinely underestimate him — but that he encouraged them to do so. Ask Ann Richards, who was 20 points ahead in the closing weeks of Bush's first campaign for governor of Texas but lost to him after his last-minute surge.

The master of low expectations — that is my clearest, and fondest, memory of George Bush at Yale. We would hang out together in the wood-paneled common room at Davenport College, where we both lived. I'd be worried about studying for my history exam or outlining my outlines; he would be relaxing on the couches, observing people walking by, maybe chatting up a girl or talking sports with another guy. As far as I could tell, he never studied or worried much about his grades. He looked exactly the same then as today, without the gray hair. Same sardonic grin, always comfortable with himself, no sense of pressure, coasting intellectually. Yet when the term was over, he would get by — sometimes Bs, sometimes Cs. I could never figure how he did it without, apparently, ever opening a book.

But despite what you may have heard or read, George was not just frat-house party boy. One of my most vivid memories is this: A few of us were in the common room one night. It was 1965, I believe — my junior year, his sophomore. We were making our usual sarcastic commentaries on those who walked by us. A little nasty perhaps, but always with a touch of humor. On this occasion, however, someone we all believed to be gay walked by, although the word we used in those days was "queer." Someone, I'm sorry to say, snidely used that word as he walked by.

George heard it and, most uncharacteristically, snapped: "Shut up." Then he said, in words I can remember almost verbatim: "Why don't you try walking in his shoes for a while and see how it feels before you make a comment like that?"

Remember, this was the 1960s — pre-Stonewall, before gay rights became a cause many of us (especially male college students) had thought much about. I remember thinking, "This guy is much deeper than I realized."


One of the most unpleasant parts of the Impeachment was watching otherwise decent people, like Lanny Davis, pimp for Bill Clinton.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2005 6:18 AM
Comments

Davis is a trial lawyer, pimping out for the despicable is his job.

Posted by: Bart at January 26, 2005 8:15 PM
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