Bush’s Surprise Attack on Cheney, Rumsfeld
David Gergen – CNN
Excerpts from a new biography by Jon Meacham, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” (due in bookstores on November 10), show a deep, undisclosed disdain toward his son’s vice president and first Secretary of Defense….
Bush 41 doesn’t let 43 completely off the hook.
He is critical of 43’s overheated rhetoric getting into Iraq and recognizes that his son bears ultimate responsibility for choosing his inner circle and, critically, for making the decision to invade Iraq….
I suspect there is an even deeper motive at work here: That is H.W.’s desire to answer the demands of history. Modern presidents have a long and admirable desire to leave behind a record of their times so that future generations might learn lessons, both good and bad.
The Problem Wasn’t the Rhetoric
Jonathan S. Tobin – Commentary Magazine
…Bush41’s comments don’t seem to have much to do with actual policy disagreements — he still supports the decision to go to war and overthrow Saddam — as it does with tone and overall mindset about foreign policy. But if Bush41 doesn’t think the invasions of Afghanistan or Iraq were mistakes — as even most Republicans now do — then about what is he complaining?
He thinks the tone from Cheney, in particular, was too bellicose and not diplomatic enough. In particular, he singled out a line uttered by his son about the “axis of evil” as “not benefitting anything.” He apparently thinks the 9/11 attacks caused those in his son’s administration to become too “hardass” and to want to “fight about everything and use force to get our way in the Middle East.”
But which of the tough-minded policies that wound up preventing another 9/11 does the elder Bush really take issue with? Say what you like about Cheney, but that was his goal and he deserves praise for accomplishing it.
The Family Business
John Dickerson – Slate
In the book, Destiny and Power: The America Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president says that “iron-ass” Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld didn’t serve his son, the 43rd president, well. Cheney, who was secretary of defense under the elder Bush, “set up his own State Department,” according to the 41st president, and Rumsfeld was “arrogant,” never taking into account the views of those who disagreed with him.
This is probably not what Jeb Bush wants anyone to be talking about right now as his campaign struggles: the mistakes associated with the Iraq invasion and the fascinating complexities of his family tree.
Not long after the book’s revelations were made public, both President George W. Bush and Jeb Bush praised Cheney. “As it relates to Dick Cheney, he served my—my brother well as vice president, and he served my dad extraordinarily well as secretary of defense,” said Jeb, who then went on to reflect on his father’s possible motives. “I think my dad, like a lotta people that love George, wanna try to create—a different narrative perhaps just to—just ’cause that’s natural to do, right?”