I guess all of those cocaine rumors were true about President Bush, if we are to believe Scott McClellan in his new book entitled, “What Happened”:
McClellan tracks Bush’s penchant for self-deception back to an overheard incident on the campaign trail in 1999 when the then-governor was dogged by reports of possible cocaine use in his younger days.
The book recounts an evening in a hotel suite “somewhere in the Midwest.” Bush was on the phone with a supporter and motioned for McClellan to have a seat.
“‘The media won’t let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,’ I heard Bush say. ‘You know, the truth is I honestly don’t remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don’t remember.’”
“I remember thinking to myself, How can that be?” McClellan wrote. “How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn’t make a lot of sense.”
Bush, according to McClellan, “isn’t the kind of person to flat-out lie.”
“So I think he meant what he said in that conversation about cocaine. It’s the first time when I felt I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true, and that, deep down, he knew was not true,” McClellan wrote. “And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious — political convenience.”
In the years that followed, McClellan “would come to believe that sometimes he convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment.” McClellan likened it to a witness who resorts to “I do not recall.”
“Bush, similarly, has a way of falling back on the hazy memory to protect himself from potential political embarrassment,” McClellan wrote, adding, “In other words, being evasive is not the same as lying in Bush’s mind.”
And McClellan linked the tactic to the decision to invade Iraq, a decision based on flawed intelligence.
“It would not be the last time Bush mishandled potential controversy,” he said of the cocaine rumors. “But the cases to come would involve the public trust, and the failure to deal with them early, directly and head-on would lead to far greater suspicion and far more destructive partisan warfare,” he wrote.
Add another thing that Barack Obama has in common with George Bush circa 2000 campaign:
2. Faulty memory.
3. Bad debater.
4. Bad public speaker unless led by a teleprompter.
5. Gaffe machine.
6. Faulty on history and geography.
7. Speaks in platitudes and generalities, never deals in specifics.
8. Rarely allowed to be interviewed.
9. Cocaine user.
10. Bush claimed to be a uniter not a divider, Obama speaks of unity and that in order to maximize your potential you must give up your individuality to a greater cause, movement, or group. (I know that sounds like a cult which is why I call the Obama kool aid drinkers, Obama cultists.)
11. Both claimed to be Washington outsiders.
12. Both claimed that they were able to cross parties and work across the aisle.