Bush is Who He Is, Wead Tapes Show
Who is Wead flipping off here? (NYT photo)
The leftiblogs and their comment logs were abuzz last night in anticipation of the NYTimes piece this morning on the appropriately named Doug Wead's secret tapes of pre-presidential Bush.
The blogs' and the NYT's drive to paint Bush as a hypocrite overwhelms their rationale. The entire Gannon event, at its core, is a desire to paint Bush as a hypocrite on gay marriage and gays in general. Yet the Wead tapes show Bush as more complex -- being opposed to gay marriage, but also refusing to bash gays:
"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays."The NYT falls into the same trap, misrepresenting the tapes in an attempt to paint Bush as a hypocrite on his faith. Near the top of the story, veteran reporter David Kirkpatrick says:
Few will read farther, and they will go away with a misconception about the genuineness of the President's faith, which does not become evident until the second half of the lengthy story:
Preparing to meet Christian leaders in September 1998, Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead, "As you said, there are some code words. There are some proper ways to say things, and some improper ways." He added, "I am going to say that I've accepted Christ into my life. And that's a true statement."
But Mr. Bush also repeatedly worried that prominent evangelical Christians would not like his refusal "to kick gays." At the same time, he was wary of unnerving secular voters by meeting publicly with evangelical leaders. When he thought his aides had agreed to such a meeting, Mr. Bush complained to Karl Rove, his political strategist, "What the hell is this about?"
Mr. Bush knew that his own religious faith could be an asset with conservative Christian voters, and his personal devotion was often evident in the taped conversations. When Mr. Wead warned him that "power corrupts," for example, Mr. Bush told him not to worry: "I have got a great wife. And I read the Bible daily. The Bible is pretty good about keeping your ego in check." ...
In another conversation, he described a "powerful moment" visiting the site of the Sermon on the Mount in Israel with a group of state governors, where he read "Amazing Grace" aloud. "I look forward to sharing this at some point in time," he told Mr. Wead about the event.
The article's big revelation, an apparent admission of marijuana use, is the lefty focus because they have little else to focus on, despite the release of hours of private, secretly recorded tapes. No gay-bashing, no conspiracy theory confirmations, just pretty much the same guy that's been in the Oval Office for the last five years.
His answer about why he doesn't want to talk about drugs made my wife, who works to protect kids from drugs, very happy: "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."
Still, the tantilizing temptation to find something hypocritical about Bush drove the story to the top of the NYT, where it ran without answering two questions that overwhelmed me: If secret tapes of Clinton, Gore or Kerry were released, what would they say, and how would the NYT have covered them?
So Bush is just who he is ... and Wead is just who he is, someone who betrays a trust for personal profit. His is one book I'm not going to buy.