Sunday, February 20, 2005

What's the Big Deal?

The New York Times scooped their competition with an exclusive on the secretly taped telephone discussions, circa 1998, between then future President George W. Bush and former Whitehouse adviser and friend of former President George H. W. Bush, Douglas Wead.

Why Wead felt compelled to tape the conversations is not completely clear, though he claimed they were for posterity - he is writing a book - and that "history trumps a personal relationship" - I wonder. The chronology of events seems to indicate that he may have been a little intimidated into sharing the tapes in order to lend veracity to his statements about Bush in his book drafts. I am sure the blogosphere will have at this subject in the coming days.

Okay, so there's a courseness about the way Bush reflects on his past behaviors. If someone were to be publicly probing my past behaviors, they would be met with an even fiercer courseness, I assure you.

But note what the then future President said about some of these "hot" topics over which the MSM is salivating. Speaking of Christian activists, he says:

"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."

Note the last phrase -- "it's a true statement." So what's the big deal?

On smoking marijuana:

"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."

Again, a fair and honest answer, really. The alternative to this is to have people who are perfect in their nature campaigning to lead our country. Frankly, since no such person exists, what does one do when confronted with past indiscretions? Blab about them? Make light of them? No. Why? Because we don't want young, or old people for that matter, experimenting with behaviors we may have tried, regretted, wouldn't do again and are trying to discourage. We don't want to promulgate destructive behavior, whether we've made the mistake of experimenting with them or not. Bush's remarks, though a little course, were as off the cuff as such a conversation is expected to be, and refreshingly honest. So, what's the big deal??

On whether power corrupts absolutely (an excerpt from the NYT article):

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."

True, true. So what's the big deal here?

The TV MSM news blips on this story made it sound like Bush was anti-gay, and cozying up to Evangelicals and others opposed to so-called gay rights. But in private, casual conversation, Bush says something surprisingly tolerant (another excerpt):

Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gay people. "I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.

But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"

Later, he read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."

"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays."

Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged not to hire gay people, Mr. Bush said sharply: "No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays."

Incidentally, I consider Bush's view to be the authentic Christian view, that is, being gracious.

So, this is a mole hill. There is no mountain here. It's no big deal. Let's move on.

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