Exit interviews

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For eight years George W. Bush did his level best to remain entirely unaccountable to the American people, including a record number of signing statements, claims of blanket executive privilege for aides and 47 press conferences versus 77 vacations.

If ever you thought there was a guy who was going to back out of the room quietly at the end of his term, this is the guy. But apparently that's not our George.

In his final few weeks as president, Bush was suddenly doing interviews like Jan. 20 was the day his album dropped, and all with one important message.

"I am proud of the accomplishments of this administration ... I wouldn't worry about popularity," Bush said.

Translation: I'm great and you suck.

Apparently Bush was willing to appear on as many television outlets as it would take to convince us that he does not care what we think. And do you know why?

"I've been reading a lot about Abraham Lincoln during my presidency, and there is some pretty harsh discord when it came to the 16th president, just like there has been harsh discord for the 43rd president," Bush said on Jan. 13.

Yes, no matter what Lincoln did, it seemed that half the country - the South - just hated him.

I guess the assumption here is that Lincoln was vindicated by history and that Bush, too, will be vindicated by history. But the problem is that Bush narrowed his reading list too strictly. For instance, I've got a book written last year called Warren G. Harding: Even in Retrospect, That Guy Sucked.

Bush's final interviews had a different tone. Why is he so confident of history's judgment?

"I have often said that history will look back and determine that which could have been done better or, you know, mistakes I've made," Bush said.

He admits he has made some mistakes. So, with Iraq, do you think history will go with the pre-war shady intelligence mistake or the post-war no planning mistake?

"Clearly, putting 'mission accomplished' on an aircraft carrier was a mistake. It sent the wrong message," Bush said.

So, you believe history is going with the unfortunate stagecraft angle. Are you sure there's nothing else in there that history may want to examine?

"I believe that running the Social Security idea right after the '04 elections was a mistake," Bush said.

Social Security is your No. 3? That's not even on my friggin' list! I didn't even know you ran Social Security up there and I watch you every day.

You know we invaded a country based on them having weapons of mass destruction when they didn't, right? You do know you did that?

"There have been disappointments ... not having weapons of mass destruction was a serious disappointment ... Abu Ghraib was obviously a huge disappointment," Bush said.

No! These are not disappointments! Your TiVo not recording the Project Runway finale is a disappointment. The pizza guy bringing you meat lover's pizza sans your crazy bread is a disappointment.

When the prize under your Diet Coke cap is a coupon for more Diet Coke, it's a disappointment. X-ray specs are a disappointment. Abu Ghraib and the weapons of mass destruction are international ass hats.

Fine, you never got the right intelligence. The intelligence community let you down. If you had the right information, you would've made the right decision?

And Abu Ghraib would have been fine if the soldiers had only learned to stack prisoners how Rumsfeld wanted.

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