I will never have a beer with George W. Bush. Not because he'll be forever flanked by federal security agents, or even because I hated him as President, but because he quit drinking cold turkey after his 40th birthday. This, and other turning points, are documented in his soon-to-be-released memoir, Decision Points.
When I first heard that former President George W. Bush was releasing a memoir called Decision Points, I joked that it would have been more appropriately titled "Decider Points."
Dubya has long been the butt of our (like-minded liberals and true moderates') jokes, and mocking him has become something of a coping mechanism for the feeling that we're voting pointlessly in our hot mess of a nation. (No son or daughter of Texas who's read Molly Ivins hasn't had a laugh at the family's expense.)
So when excerpts of his memoir started hitting the web, I was surprised to find that I found him so . . . well, funny. Dare I say it — likeable. The warmest I'd felt to our former President was a sort of pity that such a regular Joe had gotten in so far over his head. If only he'd had the luxury of being just a good father, husband, and golfin' buddy, I thought. Too bad his father was who he was.
My views on his presidency remain resolute, but I've got a feeling people's views about the man — famous for his fumbling with words — may be about to change.
Take this excerpt, from an interview with Matt Lauer — his first interview since he left office: "I wasn't a knee-walkin' drunk. I could easily have a beer or two, or a martini, before dinner, bourbons, B&Bs. I was a drinker. […] So I'm drunk at the dinner table at Mother and Dad's house in Maine. And my brothers and sister are there, Laura's there. And I'm sitting next to a beautiful woman, friend of Mother and Dad's, and I said to her out loud, 'What is sex like after 50?'"
Bush goes on to say that he called the woman to apologize and had the joke batted back when, on his own 50th birthday, he received a card from her that read: "Dear Governor, Well, what's the answer?"
I laughed! I mean, that's a great story, and Bush tells it to Matt Lauer with a familiar Texas charm. Then I promptly looked around in horror, hoping no one saw me — do I like this guy?
Also much-talked about is the hurt Bush said he felt at the hands of Kanye West after the rapper charged that the then-president "didn't care about black people." In that segment of the interview, Lauer wonders if Bush will get some heat for saying that the insult, not the failings of federal aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina, was his Presidency's lowest point.
The full interview airs Monday at 7 p.m. on NBC; Decision Points is out Tuesday. Amazingly enough, I plan to buy a copy; though I'm more scared I'll like it than become incensed by it.
The midterm elections just reversed the pecking order in congress. What do you think of Bush's legacy? Is it changing? Are your attitudes? Tell us in comments.