In his weekly Thursday "Outlooks" blog post, "Secret Lives of the Presidents," liberal Times reporter turned blogger Timothy Egan described President Bush's "Ned Flanders" Christian "nation" and Republican race-baiting after LBJ:
George W. Bush, who got Ned Flanders Nation to see him as a righteous Christian guided by Biblical principle, had a soft spot for gay marriage, and didn't believe his own speeches on the subject. This from ex-speech writer Matt Latimer
Would honesty have served an earlier, equally needy southern president? When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he said, "Its purpose is not to divide, but to end divisions." He knew otherwise. And in his most politically prescient remark said to an aide: "We have lost the South for a generation."
Had Johnson said this, in some form, it would have thrown down a marker for later race-baiters in the Republican Party who sadly proved him right.
The initial buzz from Matt Latimer's book on George W. Bush, "Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor," focused on the president's assessments of Sarah Palin ("not even remotely prepared" for high office) and his remarks on Hillary Clinton's rear end.
But it's worthwhile for more than the gossip. Consider his public and private statements in the midst of the global economic meltdown, during the last days of his reign of error.