Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bush Says Jimmy Carter’s Criticisms Made His Life ‘Miserable’ .

President Bush has made a rare public appearance at the first official reunion of the Bush-Cheney Alumni Association, where he gave his reasons as to why, unlike his former Vice President, he has chosen to stay so quiet since leaving office.

I have no desire to see myself on television. I don’t want to be a panel of formers instructing the currents on what to do. … I’m trying to regain a sense of anonymity. I didn’t like it when a certain former president — and it wasn’t 41 or 42 — made my life miserable.
Think Progress have their take on this.

As USA Today notes, Bush is mostly likely talking about Jimmy Carter, since Ronald Reagan “was ill during Bush’s first term and passed away in 2004,” and Gerald Ford “stayed low-key until his death in 2006.” In 2006, Carter said that although he had been “very careful not to criticize President Bush personally,” he felt that his administration had “quite often deliberately misled the American people about the danger in Iraq to begin with, the causes for going to war in Iraq, and they have also misled the American people about what is happening in Iraq since we invaded.” After that time, he became increasingly vocal, especially when it came to Cheney, saying he had “been a disaster for our country.” He also said that the Bush administration had been “the worst in history,” but later tried to walk back those remarks.

It’s interesting that Bush admits to being so disturbed by Carter, since his administration tried to play down the former president’s influence. Bush said that such criticisms were “just part of what happens when you’re president.” Officials called Carter “increasingly irrelevant” and openly mocked him.

I have to give my rather grudging respect to the fact that Bush has, unlike Cheney, remained silent about the Obama presidency. Although I note that he applauds the stance which Cheney is currently taking:

For the first time, former President George W. Bush has said publicly that he approves of former Vice President Dick Cheney’s high-profile role in defending the past administration’s national security policies.

“I’m glad Cheney is out there,” Bush said Friday morning at a reunion breakfast.

But, it's very interesting to hear that an administration like Bush's, which came across as utterly unconcerned with how people viewed them - usually stating that their record was best left for history to judge - reveal that Carter's criticisms made them "miserable".

That's hard to believe. Certainly it puts them quite a distance from the arrogance which at the time seemed to define them, when they mocked the rest of us as being part of "the reality based community":

The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality."

[... ]

"That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
It's hard to imagine a group of people with such a mindset being bothered in the slightest by what anyone else thinks of them, far less being made "miserable" by it.

Click here for full article.

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