By Dana MilbankTo quote a poster which has had some prominence in the Left-ward protuberances of the Book: Heh, heh. I fucked ya. Thanks for blaming the Negro..."
Wednesday, November 10, 2010; 6:42 PM
I miss George W. Bush.
I don't miss him in the sense that I wish he were still president. If he were, we might be at war with Iran and North Korea by now, and perhaps Portugal. Neither do I miss the endless debates over waterboarding and the Iraq war - bad memories that have returned to the news as Bush has re-emerged into public view this week to launch his book.
Rather, I miss him because in the end he was willing to toss aside his ideological orthodoxy when the national interest required it - a trait conspicuously absent among his fellow conservatives these last two years.
It was the final chapter of Bush's presidency, and is correspondingly the final chapter of his memoir, "Decision Points." As Bush describes it, he had just been told by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that they should spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to buy up mortgage assets, and he approved the plan in full. "If we're really looking at another Great Depression," he recalls saying, "you can be damn sure I'm going to be Roosevelt, not Hoover."
By Tea Party doctrine, that's heresy. But Bush, in "Decision Points," doesn't back off at all from his defense of the auto industry rescue and the federal ownership of financial companies - even though those positions today would make him a pariah in his own party.
"The strategy was a breathtaking intervention in the free market," he writes of the TARP bank-bailout program. "It flew against all my instincts. But it was necessary to pull the country out of the panic. I decided that the only way to preserve the free market in the long run was to intervene in the short run."
In an extended book-launch interview with Bush, NBC anchor Matt Lauer referred to a Pew Research Center poll that found nearly half of Americans hold the false belief that TARP was passed under President Obama, while only 34 percent know it originated under Bush.
"Oh, yeah?" Bush replied. "Fifty percent of the people were wrong." He defended his rationale for supporting TARP: "Do you adhere to your philosophy and say, let them all fail? . . . Or do you take taxpayers' money and inject it into the system in hopes that you prevent a depression? And I chose the latter."
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