He bounded into the room like a big golden retriever. A big stupid stupid dog knocking over tables and lamps.
Peggy’s been kind of hard on President Not Reagan so she’s in the mood for a little make-up sex. Let the leg-humping begin:
The president bounded into the Roosevelt Room at 10:30 on a weekday morning with a flurry of aides behind him. He looked tanned, rested and perhaps preoccupied. He walked around the table and shook hands with everyone. Then he did something surprising. He sat down at the big brown meeting table and instead of offering an opening comment and then taking questions, as I’d expected, he simply talked to us about how he sees the world. He did this for 45 minutes. He was funny and frank. He made a point to make and maintain eye contact with each of us, now this one and now that, as he talked. He shared thoughts, observations and stories in a way that seemed both free-associative and thematically linked. The theme was freedom, or rather liberation–liberation in political terms, in personal terms, in the world and at home. I cannot quote him, but since the dozen who were there will soon be sharing their impressions with friends, and since you are my friends . . .
What the president’s associates and allies had been telling me seemed completely true. His spirits were high, and at points he seemed loaded for bear. He has rock confidence that his actions in Afghanistan and Iraq have been right and have helped the world. He suggested that you’ve got to stand your ground when it’s the high ground. He made it clear he intends to.
He wound it all up, took no questions, and left with the flurry.
Of course, as Peggy herself said last week:
George W. Bush is not good at talking points. You can see when he’s pressed on a question. Mr. Russert asks, why don’t you remove George Tenet? And Mr. Bush blinks, and I think I know what is happening in his mind.
Making this the perfect Bush Meetup for Peggy who has made a career out reading people’s minds and finding that most of them not only agree with her her, but they like her, they really like her:
We left inspirited. Most everyone there if not everyone was a supporter of the president, but I think each came out more so.
How did he treat me? I’d like to say he was cool because that would suggest he’s been reading my columns and they’ve had a huge impact. In fact he was friendly as ever. There are several ways to interpret this. I choose to believe he is hiding his pain.
Peggy then recycles some of her greatest hits from her online interview the other day:
Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man. He’s normal. He thinks in a sort of common-sense way. He speaks the language of business and sports and politics. You know him. He’s not exotic. But if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help. He’ll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, “Where’s Sally?” He’s responsible. He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world. And then when the fire comes they say, “I warned Joe about that furnace.” And, “Does Joe have children?” And “I saw a fire once. It spreads like syrup. No, it spreads like explosive syrup. No, it’s formidable and yet fleeting.” When the fire comes they talk. Bush ain’t that guy. Republicans love the guy who ain’t that guy. Americans love the guy who ain’t that guy.
You see, normal guy Bush isn’t an intellectual (stop the presses!) and it’s the intellectuals who start all the problems of the world with their fussy Manichean outlook. Good/evil, black/white, peace/invade Iraq to grab the oil and reward our campaign contributors with no-bid contracts, tomato/to-maw-to. Stuff like that. And so, when the fire comes, we need a man of action. A man, who when confronted with a fire, directs traffic and counts kids and lets others put their lives on the line because he’s all busy with that pointing and counting stuff and can’t be bothered putting his life on the line because, well, what if there’s another fire? Who’s gonna direct traffic? Bush is that kinda guy, and by God, America just loves a curbside flagwaver because someone needs to wave the flag when the caskets roll by.
Which is why Peggy thinks he should be President again. Or something like that. I won’t pretend to read her mind.
(Added): I would be remiss in not pointing out one part of Peggy’s column that made my day:
Barbara Bush wasn’t exactly fancy. They lived like everyone else. She spoke to me once with great nostalgia of her early days in Texas, when she and her husband and young George slept in the same bed in an apartment in Midland. A prostitute lived in the complex. Barbara Bush just thought she was popular.
All of you psychology majors out there may have at it…