by Max Brantley
I heard a mention on Olbermann last night of a new book by a former speech writer for George W. Bush and was intrigued because of Bush's reported comments about politics.
Here's a lengthy excerpt. It was recommended to me by a friend who was right in saying it was worth a read. The Bush White House was more like "The Office" than "The West Wing," Matt Latimer says. The economic meltdown is the focus of the exceprt and the White House's poor response. But there's some politics, too, including Sarah Palin's addition to the Republican ticket in 2008.
It was clear, though, that the president, ever the skilled politician, had concerns about the choice of Palin, which he called “interesting.” That was the equivalent of calling a fireworks display “satisfactory.”
“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?”
Everyone in the room seemed to look at him in horror, their mouths agape. When Ed told him that conservatives were greeting the choice enthusiastically, he replied, “Look, I’m a team player, I’m on board.” He thought about it for a minute. “She’s interesting,” he said again. “You know, just wait a few days until the bloom is off the rose.” Then he made a very smart assessment.
“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.” It was a rare dose of reality in a White House that liked to believe every decision was great, every Republican was a genius, and McCain was the hope of the world because, well, because he chose to be a member of our party.