Jay Nordlinger has published fairly raw notes of his recent interview with President Bush. This isn't the Bush you know. Even for those of us who stubbornly hold that it's a bit early to start writing the history of this presidency, and have defended him even though he seems little interested in defending himself, it's a shock to see so much unedited extemporanizng. I should say, the shock is in realizing how very little we've actually heard from him these last eight years. It's a shame. Here's just a taste, which goes to show how little concern this man has ever had for his own reputation:
You can get short-term popularity in the Middle East if you want, by blaming all problems on Israel. That’ll make you popular. You can be popular in certain salons of Europe if you say, ‘Okay, we’ll join the International Criminal Court.’ I could have been popular if I’d said, ‘Oh, Kyoto is the way to deal with the environmental problem.’ That would have made me liked. It would have made me wrong, however. And, ultimately, you earn people’s respect by articulating a set of principles and standing by them. You know, popularity comes and goes. It just does. It comes and goes for an individual or a nation. But principles are enduring.Well put, Mr. President.