The conservatives are just now figuring out that George W. Bush was a self-absorbed, smug and arrogant jerk.
Former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer has a new book coming out that promises to disclose what administration officials were saying behind the scenes. Not surprisingly, there’s a “growing nervousness” about the book amongst many prominent conservatives. GQ has some new excerpts of Latimer’s book, which reveal that President Bush liked to mock other politicians:
On Sarah Palin: “‘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?‘ … ‘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.’”
On Barack Obama: “He came in one day to rehearse a speech, fuming. ‘This is a dangerous world,’ he said for no apparent reason, ‘and this cat [Obama] isn’t remotely qualified to handle it. This guy has no clue, I promise you.’”
On Hillary Clinton: “Wait till her fat keister is sitting at this desk.
On Joe Biden: “If bull– was currency, Joe Biden would be a billionaire.”
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.”
A couple of interesting notes. His comments about Sarah Palin — “She hasn’t spent one day on the national level. Neither has her family” — reveal that Mr. Bush is both unacquainted with the concept of irony and he believes that family connections — like his own — make up for experience on the national level. If you have been searching for a definition of white upper class privilege and patriarchy, you can stop looking.
Second, while it’s no surprise that Mr. Bush comes up with this kind of boorish frat boy locker-room talk — we know that presidents from Warren Harding to Bill Clinton did — the way he treats the Republican party as his own little sandbox lends a lot of light to the way he ran the country: it’s his world; we just get to live in it.
Naturally, the conservatives who backed everything that Mr. Bush did, from invading Iraq to warrantless wiretapping, are suddenly distancing themselves from him. They are shocked, shocked to find out he was not really a conservative after all.
How many times during the last eight years did you hear that George W. Bush was a dangerous right-wing extremist? Probably too many to count.
What you heard less often were expressions of the deep reservations some conservatives felt about Bush’s governing philosophy.
Oh, woe is me… if only we’d known!
Nope, sorry; you bought him, you paid for him, and he’s all yours.