Friday, May 29, 2009

Good-Cop, Bad-Copping Obama

With a decade of rehearsal, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have their act down pat--the regular guy who never raises his voice and his hair-trigger partner who chews the scenery. After weeks of shaking up by the Snarler, here is the former Decider to sooth our nerves.

Defending his torture policy as unequivocally as his vice president has done, Bush gave an audience of business people yesterday a spoonful of sugar with the reheated argument that, after checking with the lawyers, he only did what was legal and necessary and that "the information we got saved lives."

If Obama differs, Bush insists, he is not going to blame him (implicitly for not saving lives). "Nothing I am saying is meant to criticize my successor," he said. "There are plenty of people who have weighed in. Trust me, having seen it first-hand. I didn't like it when a former president criticized me, so therefore I am not going to criticize my successor. I wish him all the best."

Such fake "generosity" is even more grating than Cheney's outright attacks on Obama for making the country less safe, but it's par for the course in Bush's act as the good cop in their collaboration.

Asked what he would like his legacy to be, the 43rd president had a ready answer:

"The man showed up with a set of principles, and he was unwilling to compromise his soul for the sake of popularity."

Or reality.

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