June 14, 2008


I freed millions from barbarism, says President with no regrets
: President Bush flies into London today for the last time as US leader. In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with Ned Temko on the eve of his visit, he defends his legacy, issues a stern warning to Iran ... and reveals his plans for a freedom institute devoted to 'universal values' (Ned Temko, 6/15/08, The Observer)

For a political leader who has rivalled Gordon Brown's vertiginous nosedive in the opinion polls in the past year, President George W Bush looked remarkably untroubled by self-doubt as he crossed Europe last week. [...]

Asked in the Rome interview about popular opposition in Britain to the war and his presidency, he replied: 'Do I care? Only to the extent that it affects people's view of the citizens I represent. Do I care about my personal standing? Not really.'

He remained, he said, convinced that Iraq, and the world, was a better place without Saddam Hussein. And he said that while 'Presidents don't get to do re-dos' on issues such as Saddam's lack of weapons of mass destruction, there was one lesson from the run-up to the Iraq war that he felt was hugely relevant to the standoff in Iran.

'We didn't realise, nor did anyone else,' Bush said, 'that Saddam Hussein felt like he needed to play like he had weapons of mass destruction. It may have been, however, that in his mind all this was just a bluff... that the world wasn't serious.'

He is who Woodrow Wilson thought he was.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at June 14, 2008 6:41 PM

That's my Bush. Too bad no intellectual or media Rightie wants to stand behind him. Which gets me to a couple of questions, OJ:

1. When a conservative says he's 'more Conservative than Republican,' what message does that send to the American people?

2. If a conservative makes that statement and then gets into a snit about "wasteful spending," "cronyism," and "amnesty for illegals" while complaining that no "doped up suburban white mice" will listen to him, why is it a surprise that Bush's approval rating is around 30%?

If an intellectual or media conservative is "intellectually honest" when he answers these questions, he'll then come to a big reason why Republicans only get 10% of the African American vote and only about 35% of the Hispanic vote (on average).

Posted by: Brad S at June 14, 2008 8:10 PM

'Do I care? Only to the extent that it affects people's view of the citizens I represent. Do I care about my personal standing? Not really.'

Why do the Euros and our leftists hate him? There's not much they can do to a man who believes in himself. "Do I care? ... Not really."

Posted by: ic at June 14, 2008 8:44 PM


It's not just the Euros/lefties that hate Bush; large numbers of the intellectual and media Right hate him because he won't protect them from the Evil Bad Press. Not to mention, they hate him because he won't use the "Bully Pulpit" to do their political dirty work for them.

I suppose I'm now a RINO for saying that. Too bad so sad.

Posted by: Brad S at June 14, 2008 9:08 PM

Brad, my take is that folks like that aren't truly "conservative" (not to get into a purity war), but believe that they derive benefit from their iconoclasm.

It also seems to be really difficult to live in the sauna of media politics and not get heated and short-horizoned.

One reason BroJudd is such a nice place to visit.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at June 14, 2008 9:12 PM

Actually, Brad, I think media righties and intellectuals do not defend him because he remains independent. He will do what he thinks is right, no matter what they say. For the same reason they hate John McCain - neither man will follow their marching orders.

Pesident Bush may be wrong, but he made the decision, and he lets the decision lie where he placed it. I think he is the man Kipling was refering to.


Posted by: Mikey at June 14, 2008 9:29 PM

The distrust felt for him by Beltway conservatives fits the usual pattern. Check what they were saying about Reagan at a similar point in his presidency. I've mentioned this before, but I have a book with a 1987 foreword by Robert Novak in which Novak goes on about how the Reagan administration got suckered by the Soviets and now the Commies have the upper hand. This was a very typical conservative talking point at that time.

If Iraq works out and the concept of democracy spreads around the Middle East, Bush will be a conservative hero and no one will remember what all these guys were saying about him. Also, the Left will brazenly pretend that they did something substantial to bring about the result.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 14, 2008 11:11 PM

The insight which I hope motivated President Bush was that information technology removed coexistence with the spiritual jailhouse as an option.

Then it became necessary that Iraq be taken down. This had two main effects. First, it convicted the residents of the jailhouse, both inmates and jailors, of their civilizational imcompetence. Furthermore, it reminded our side of that same incompetence.

Now the internal enemies of our way of life are doing their worst to exploit the burdens of the Iraq campaign for political advantage. They would like to ride popular impatience with the occupation of Iraq to warp the country ro thier domestic agenda. The media, culturally sympathetic to those folk-enemies and culture-traitors, likewise have been as destructive as they can be.

We don't know how the dice will fall, but there is still a good chance that history will judge the Iraq campaign to have been neither a crime nor a mistake, and President Bush will take his place with James Knox Polk for vision and accomplishment.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 15, 2008 7:33 AM