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[UPDATE - this post has been completely rewritten since its original appearance.]
In his May 21, 2004 column, the New York Times' Frank Rich mentions the "Let Them Eat Cake" quote of our time--Barbara Bush's statement in a "Good Morning America" interview given a few days before the commencement of Iraq War (March 18, 2003). She and the first President Bush discussed the invasion from the armchair perspective of two old folks sittin' around the house:
DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: (OC) You said that, that Mrs. Bush at one point had said to the two of you, don't watch too much TV. You may be watching too much TV.

FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH, UNITED STATES: No question.

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: (OC) You do watch?

FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH, UNITED STATES: I watch none. He sits and listens and I read books, because I know perfectly well that, don't take offense, that 90 percent of what I hear on television is supposition, when we're talking about the news. And he's not, not as understanding of my pettiness about that. But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's, it's not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that. And watch him suffer.

The "him" she's apparently talking about in that last sentence is Bush Junior, who doesnt seem to be suffering much in a clip from Michael Moore's new film Fahrenheit 9/11, as Rich noted--it's the much linked-to video where he clowns around as he is being made up for his televised announcement of the Iraq invasion. When I first read the Barbara Bush quote months ago, I didn't realize she was talking about her son, though. She uses "he" a couple of times, referring to her husband, and it seemed weird for her to be talking about "watching him suffer" with Bush the Elder sitting right next to her. (Maybe if I wasted my own beautiful mind watching more TV, I wouldn't have to parse these nuances from internet transcripts.) At any rate, my initial reaction to Rich's column was that he'd read it wrong, which I unfortunately blurted out in the first published version of this post. But I guess she is fussing over her poor suffering son, so lonely at the top. Privately she probably wants to knock him upside the head for embarrassing the family.

George HW and Barbara Bush

- tom moody 5-24-2004 12:42 pm [link]