George W: Looking Great

Andrew Sullivan —  May 13 2011 @ 11:12am

Physically and mentally I mean, judging from his GMA appearance. I can't help but note also the difference in tone between his response to the remarkably successful raid on Osama bin Laden's compound and those of the hardcore Cheneyites. Bush echoes Obama in how it came about:

When asked by forum moderator Melissa Lee of CNBC how he felt upon learning the news, Bush said he was "not overjoyed," explaining that the campaign to track down the 9/11 mastermind was done not "out of hatred but to exact judgment."…

"The guy is dead. That is good," Bush said of bin Laden. "Osama's death is a great victory in the war on terror. He was held up as a leader … The intelligence services deserve a lot of credit. They built a mosaic of information, piece by piece," he said, claiming no credit for himself.

Then he pivots toward a broader point:

Bush said U.S. foreign policy needs to continue to promote the ideas of democracy and freedom as a way to combat global terrorism.

"The long-term solution is to promote a better ideology, which is freedom. Freedom is universal," Bush said. "People who do not look like us want freedom just as much. The relatives of [former Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice over 100 years ago wanted freedom. It is only when you do not have hope in a society that you join a suicide bomber team."

That doesn't sound like Cheney, does it? He still befuddles me, this man. His heart seems so often in the right place, and then he defers to thugs and cowards. Maybe he was just out of his depth. But my feelings about him remain much more complicated than about Cheney, Rumsfeld and Yoo. And when you see him again relieved of the burden of office, you realize how he got elected twice to the White House. He'd rather have been cycling.