Former President George W. Bush appeared in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer on Nov. 8, 2010. The impetus for the hour-long question-and-answer session is Bush’s new book, Decision Points. The interview, much like the book, revealed a few new anecdotes from the life of “Dubya” as an aside while primarily demonstrating the same “no regrets” mentality that pervaded eight years of American politics. Some of the key moments discussed with Matt Lauer included Bush’s thoughts on his own legacy, his feelings about Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, and his opinion on waterboarding.
George W. Bush on Dick Cheney and Karl Rove
Throughout the Bush presidency, there were frequent accusations that Cheney ran the White House and that Rove was the brain behind Bush. When Lauer addressed this to Bush and asked about his feelings concerning the situation, Bush did not have a very well-executed reply, especially considering the question. A terse “didn’t sting at all” does not suffice when dealing with critics questioning the mental capabilities of the Commander-in-Chief, and seems to lend validity to their claims.
George W. Bush on Waterboarding
For the frank talk portion of the interviews, Lauer and Bush sat in a stark room vaguely reminiscent of a sterile interrogation room from a movie set. Bush brought up the issue of waterboarding with a very affirmative voice and iterated repeatedly that he thought it was the right thing to do while justifying the legality of the technique. Bush, however, would not touch the issue of how he would feel if the same “techniques” were used on Americans. For critics, this is yet another example of the double-standards of the Bush administration.
The George W. Bush Legacy
Matt Lauer’s final question focused on Bush’s past statements that history isn’t ready to judge him yet. Prior to this question, a curt “so what” was the former president’s reply to a presentation of statistics that stated he had only a 30 percent popularity rate when he left office. Bush’s answer to what his legacy might be was “I hope I’m judged a success…,” according to the MSNBC transcript of the show.
On one hand, Bush acts like statistics, which are the judgment of the masses, are unimportant. On the other hand, he reflects a desire to be judged a success by history. This is highly reminiscent of several moments in Bush’s presidency where statements were made and subsequently contradicted both on a high and low scale. Some of the most prominent examples are the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame and the alleged WMD photograph used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
The Matt Lauer interview with George W. Bush offered a few new tidbits about Bush’s personal life, but did little to answer real questions about real issues.
Thomas Hart. “Fair Game Tells True Story of CIA Agent Valerie Plame.” Personal Money Store.