People tend to have short memories.
And reams of media are spent discussing tone and flair like the two men are swatch fabrics. The opening of Howard Kurtz’s article on the Daily Beast reads like B-grade Western.
The president shook his head.
“Look, I’m not going to debate the issue,” he said. He had already decided.
Waterboarding was legal. Why? “Because the lawyers said it was legal,” George W. Bush told Matt Lauer.
But what if an American was taken captive in a foreign country? Bush cut Lauer off: “All I ask is that people read the book.” Case closed.
Twenty-five hours earlier, Bush’s successor was seen fielding this question: Had he lost his mojo?
First of all, the article is hodge-podge styling. Bush’s interview was a history-painting publicity project, on the back of his new biography (nicely titled Decision Points). For Obama, it was an evaluative interview post-Midterms. Heavy stuff it was meant to be and was.
Second, and this is the unfortunate consequence: such articles become a touchstone for divisiveness—the apparent game-winner using it to affirm his own smoke-mirrors. Distracted by Bush’s antics and left hurt by a President who didn’t seem to soothe and promise candy, few realise what a strange comparison Kurtz was trying to cobble together.
If anything, Americans show themselves to be easily swayed by their own penchant for swagger and ego. Endearing in times of crisis, idiotic when used to decide in times of crisis.