Friday, April 09, 2004

John Dean, On Our Dire Circumstances

Here's just a portion of a radio interview former Richard Nixon staffer John Dean did earlier this week with Amy Goodman:

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to John Dean, author of "Worse Than Watergate, the Secret Presidency of George W. Bush." You were talking about Dick Cheney, what is his role in this White House, and is this Vice President's role unusual?

JOHN DEAN: It is very unusual. He's the most powerful Vice President we have ever had. He is in essence the Co-President. I think the best evidence of that is the fact that when the two of them are going to appear in the 9-11 commission, they're going together, in tandem. That speaks -- you know, one doesn't have to explain that terribly deeply.

AMY GOODMAN: Why don't you? No, why don't you explain it.

JOHN DEAN: I will, but let me come around this way to explain it. You have it with George Bush a president who is very good at working the campaign trail. He's very good at raising money. He has been doing it all of his life. He knows how to do that. He has got a pleasant public personality. It isn't as pleasant in private, but he is very good at putting a smile on his face and going out and glad-handing and pretending he's a regular guy that everybody wants to be his friend and he wants to be everybody's friend. He is -- he has been the Head of State of this Presidency. the Head of Government, which is a whole different ballgame, these are things that don't interest George Bush too terribly. He has no intellectual curiosity. He doesn't want to get into policy matters deeply. As even one of his speechwriters David Frum said, you couldn't give this president a quiz on his own administration and hope that he would pass it. He's not stupid, but he's ignorant but ignorant by design it appears. To go into the 9-11 Commission, I don't think George Bush could get very far other than to embarrass himself seriously in front of the Commission. While Tim Russert had him one on one under camera in the Oval Office, we all saw how thin and shallow that was, that it would be far worse with a Commission asking him fairly penetrating questions that Cheney can obviously answer and Bush can't.

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