Bush granted journalist Robert Draper several extended interviews in late 2006 and early 2007, as well as unusual access to his aides, for the book “Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush,” which went on sale Tuesday.
Among the uncovered gems:
Bush told the author of a new book on his presidency that “I try not to wear my worries on my sleeve” or show anything less than steadfastness in public, especially in a time of war. “I fully understand that the enemy watches me, the Iraqis are watching me, the troops watch me, and the people watch me,” he said. Yet, he said, “I do tears. I’ve got God’s shoulder to cry on. And I cry a lot. I do a lot of crying in this job. I’ll bet I’ve shed more tears than you can count, as president. I’ll shed some tomorrow.”
The book has been reviewed by The New York Times:
It is a portrait of the commander in chief as a willful optimist, proud of his self-confidence and convinced that any expressions of doubt would make him less of a leader: a man addicted to “Big Ideas and small comforts” (like riding his bike), a stubborn, even obstinate politician loath to change course or second-guess himself, and given to valuing loyalty above almost everything else… what “Dead Certain” does do and does very nimbly is give the reader an intimate sense of the president’s personality and how it informs his decision making. At the same time, it ratifies what many other reporters and former insiders have said about this administration’s ad hoc, often haphazard policy-making process, while suggesting that the West Wing has grown increasingly dysfunctional over the years, with the aides Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett “constantly at war” with each other, and other staff members not on speaking terms…
It is also clear from Mr. Draper’s book that President Bush dislikes criticism and bad news, and that staffers found it very hard “to stick one’s arm into the fiercely whirring gears of Team Bush’s institutionalized optimism and say, ‘Let’s … slow… down. And rethink this.’ ” For that matter, this volume is studded with examples — on matters ranging from the Iraq war to Hurricane Katrina — of aides failing to deliver distressing information to the president or failing to persuade him to grapple quickly with unfortunate developments.
The NYTimes review reveals other gems from the book, like this one:
Apparently Mr. Bush loves doing imitations of Dr. Evil from the “Austin Powers” movies.
Well, not much new from the book. It adds support to suspicions raised throughout Bush’s post 9/11 presidency that Bush is loyal to a fault and dislikes criticism. These deficiencies exacerbated problems stemming from the prosecution of the Iraq War. It also shows that a change in the executive branch could lead to real changes in the Iraq War.