The Washington Post is helping George Bush polish his flaccid legacy. Let's hope it's just a sympathetic one-off between ex-lovers.
Last Saturday, they ran a front page article on Bush-in-retirement. Woven into the puff piece was this seemingly bland statement (italics mine):
Now he will try to explain his two terms by writing a book and building a presidential center at Dallas's Southern Methodist University so that history will have the means to judge him fairly.
Do you catch that? The Post's reporter, Eli Saslow, is telling us it's imperative that we have Bush's tome -- and Taj Mahal -- to fully assess the past eight years. Where does this view come from? The sentence isn't attributed; it's presented as fact, not opinion.
Curiously, Saslow's sentiment mirrors something Bush himself declared in Canada three weeks earlier. While discussing his book, he dropped this gem of inanity:
I'm going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there's an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened.
Never mind the bizarre use of "authoritarian." If he knows the meaning, he's un-American, and if he doesn't, he's uninformed. A classic pick 'em, as they say in Vegas.
The bottom line is that the Post has bought the con job from the "commander guy." He insists history needs his opus to nail the real story, and the newspaper has turned this shaky proposition into accepted wisdom. It's really his spin, nothing more.
Bush's ghostwritten musings will certainly be of interest, perhaps helpful. But historians and academics have mountains of material to work with. A self-serving memoir is nobody's idea of "the means to judge him fairly."
Abe Lincoln never penned his, you know, yet future generations somehow got the gist.
No doubt Bush acolytes sold reporter Saslow on such a specious notion during interviews. They must have been delighted to see it in print without fingerprints, reminiscent of their time in power. They're still covering for the boss, even though this isn't quite so heady as pimping the Iraq war with lies and outing a covert CIA officer to slime her husband.
It's too late, however. Bush's testimony about "exactly what happened" on his watch is hardly exculpatory at this point, much less necessary.
A confession for deceit or incompetence would be one thing. If he's offering more cubic zirconia and rust, we've already overpaid.