Talking about Bush
Did you see our Page One on George W Bush’s session at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit?
The heading simply said, “Namaste India.” The picture underneath was of Bush with folded hands. A moment immortalised.
If you ever get the chance to watch a video of the session, grab it. Bush began with Namaste.
The audience was largely hostile. No one thought very much of him. Wasn’t he the blundering president mocked by anyone with 0+ IQ?
Bush’s initial gags loosened up the audience a little, but he came back with his speech, which was as ordinary as any written text can be.
But he kept coming with his one-liners some of which were excellently captured in the two reports we carried that day.
I guess if we had more space, we would have done more.
For me, the best story we couldn’t write then was his plea for not to be judged so early.
I don’t recall the exact quote, but in response to a question from Vir Sanghvi, who was moderating the session, Bush said he doesn’t care much for short-term evaluation of his presidency.
Don’t judge me now, he said. Give me some time.
Significant that he should say this in India, a country generally friendly to him. The nuclear deal has won for him a permanent place among Friends of India.
But that’s the thing. You couldn’t help feel bad for the man. And Bush has that quality: he makes you like him, with his folksy style and his self-deprecating one-liners.
Sometimes you forgot he was the president till just a few months ago. But it could all be because of the burden of a failed presidency that he is supposed to be carrying around in his head.
“What could we have done after 9/11?” he asked rhetorically in response to a question, “just walk away?”
But did he have to open another front, Iraq?
Bush wants to give history a little more time. For instance, he said, “My father (George Bush) fought the Japanese as a pilot. Who would have then imagined that 60 years later Japan would be among the first countries to call and offer assistance after 9/11?”
Bush wants time. That for me is a story.