Friday, May 29, 2009


Last week, Barack Obama and Dick Cheney went mano-a-mano on the subject of national security in near-simultaneous speeches; on the same day, George W. Bush addressed some high school students and talked about ... er, dog crap, among other things.

I guess Cheney's very public, much-discussed boasting about torture is finally getting to his former boss-on-paper. Yesterday Bush, for the first time since he left office, talked about torture and asserted pride of ownership:

Former President George W. Bush on Thursday repeated Dick Cheney's assertion that the administration's enhanced interrogation program, which included controversial techniques such as waterboarding, was legal and garnered valuable information that prevented terrorist attacks.

Bush told a southwestern Michigan audience of nearly 2,500 -- the largest he has addressed in the United States since leaving the White House in January -- that, after the September 11 attacks, "I vowed to take whatever steps that were necessary to protect you."

In his speech, Bush ... didn't mention Cheney, his former vice president, by name....

Oooh, that's cold.

I think I knows what's bothering Bush. After Cheney's eighty billion recent public appearances, Dick and his camp got word out, via last Saturday's New York Times, that, well, yes, he just so happens to be in the market right now for a big fat book deal:

With his sustained blitz of television appearances and speeches, former Vice President Dick Cheney has established himself as perhaps the leading Republican voice against President Obama.

Not a bad time, then, to be in the market for a multimillion-dollar book contract.

Mr. Cheney is actively shopping a memoir about his life in politics and service in four presidential administrations....

A person familiar with discussions Mr. Cheney has had with publishers said he was seeking more than $2 million for his advance....

(Not to brag, but I told you this public-appearance blitz was an attempt to market his book to publishers.)

Bush has been looking forward to writing his memoir for quite a while; he made a deal for the book in March. As president he liked to think of himself as a guy doing big president-y things (like fighting wars) -- but now a big, (post-)president-y thing he's been planning to do for a long time runs the risk of being eclipsed by similar work by his ex-subordinate-on-paper.

So, yeah, I think he's jealous.

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