The Great Restoration
It's a good thing that the Bush team is working hard with unusual focus and competence on what matters the most right now - making sure that reporters properly spin his legacy.
President Bush’s interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson this week was the “first of several planned ‘exit interviews.’” According to White House press secretary Dana Perino, Bush’s next interview will be with ABC’s Cynthia McFadden on the topic of the faith-based initiative. It will air on Nightline next week. If the first interview with Gibson provides any clue as to what we can expect from these interviews, Bush will paint a rosy picture of his legacy and “refuse to take responsibility for a single thing that went wrong on his watch.” Heather at Crooks and Liars catches the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes revealing that Karl Rove is currently orchestrating the Bush legacy project:
[T]here’s an ongoing Bush legacy project that’s been meeting in the White House, really, with senior advisers, Karl Rove, Karen Hughes has been involved, current senior Bush administration advisers and they are looking at how to sort of roll out the President’s legacy.
Why, there almost seems to be more planning going into restoring the legacy than has gone into prewar planning in Iraq, planning for the TARP program, planning after Katrina, etc., etc. How curious!
By the way, this isn't the "Bush legacy project" at all - I'm sure he's content to go back to Texas and get the hell away from that fake ranch and start getting down to the business of drinking cocktails out of the public spotlight. He could give a damn about his legacy - that's been very clear.
BUSH: I'll be frank with you. I don't spend a lot of time really worrying about short-term history. I guess I don't worry about long-term history, either, since I'm not going to be around to read it -- (laughter) -- but, look, in this job you just do what you can. The thing that's important for me is to get home and look in that mirror and say, I did not compromise my principles. And I didn't. I made tough calls. And some presidencies have got a lot of tough decisions to make--
No, this is the Karl Rove legacy project. He's the one concerned about his place in history. And his future power resides in everyone still considering him a genius and not a complete failure responsible for bringing the worst President in American history to the attention of the country. Similarly, blurring the lines on conservative extremism is the one way to lull the country into forgetting how destructive those policies truly were. So this isn't about making Bush look good in the past, it's about making Republicans look good in the future. This is why he's trying to restore his own credibility by claiming that the United States wouldn't have invaded Iraq if they had known there were no WMD, going much further than the President ever has.
In what was a remarkable admission that contradicted - to a large extent - the past statements from his onetime boss, former Bush strategist Karl Rove said on Tuesday evening that had the President known Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, the United States would not have gone to war.
"In the aftermath of 9/11 the concern was about a tyrant accused of enormous human rights abuses," but who also possessed weapons of mass destruction, said Rove. "Absent that, I suspect that the administration's course of action would have been to work to find more creative ways to constrain him like in the 90s."
The remarks, delivered at a debate in New York on Bush's legacy, came amidst a vigorous defense by Rove on behalf of the war's purpose and outcome.
Preposterous, yes, but you'll notice that the word "Bush" is absent in Rove's remarks. Having already lied their way into invading - and yes, distorting that intelligence which was apparently so "faulty" that it would have changed the very outcome of the invasion - the spinmeisters are now lying about the events of just five years ago, and making Bush disappear in the process. And it's working with a media that has always been too willing to accept whatever version of history they're spoonfed from on high.
The big news orgs seem eager to help Bush do this. Not a single one of their reports on the interview that we can find bothered to tell readers that there was plenty of good intel -- ignored by the Bush administration -- saying that Saddam wasn't the threat Bush was claiming he was. Nor did any of them bother mentioning that the weapons inspectors in Iraq were saying the same thing -- something that also went ignored.
These facts are absolutely central to understanding Bush's efforts to falsify history in yesterday's interview. Yet they went unmentioned in reports by Reuters, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, CNN, and The New York Times.
Worse, at least one news org pretended that Bush was making some kind of admission or concession here. WaPo hailed Bush's "candor" and said he was being "unusually blunt."
Let's go over this very slowly. For Bush to blame the failure of intel for his decision to invade is not a concession at all, and it is not an admission of failure on his part. Rather, it is the opposite of these things. It is an evasion of responsibility for what happened.
Obama's campaign ran on stepping away from Bush policies and toward change. The whole time there was this assumption that everyone knew what those Bush policies were, and therefore there was no need to delineate very specifically. That was a healthy assumption when 4/5 of the country thinks we're on the wrong track, but with the passage of time, that failure to specifically target Bush and Republicans will lead to convenient amnesia. And with another Bush ready to step in and make everyone forget about ol' W., the whitewash project will be complete.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — the younger brother of the president — is weighing a run for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Mel Martinez.
Martinez announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2010. Asked whether he was interested in running for the seat then, Bush told Politico by e-mail Tuesday night: “I am considering it.”
Jeb is popular enough in Florida that he could prevail despite the surname, and we've all been told over and over that he's really the smart one and Poppy wanted him to be President first and all that.
When conservative governments get away with their crimes, when they are given sanction to set the terms of their own legacy, the consequences for the future, when the same band of thieves returns to Washington to plunder, are grave.