Tuesday night I meant to get in bed very early, but I saw a link to the videos of Matt Lauer's interview with George W Bush and stayed up an extra hour listening to him field questions-- often rather withering in nature-- from his interviewer.
I already knew I liked GWB. I already knew he was a decent person, and principled. He was sharper than his critics ever gave him credit for being. I remember how people accused him of being a puppet for Cheney and of being a colossal dimwit and in almost the same breath they'd say he knew all along that 9/11 was coming or-- more baffling still-- that he was in some way involved in its conception and execution. I don't know how some could reconcile calling him addle-witted and yet a sociopathic mastermind. Listening to him speak in an interview such as this one, not rising to the bait and yet standing his ground, I marvel that anyone would find him not likable.
The tone of Lauer's questions seemed quite contentious, and yet GWB fielded them with grace, candor and the genuine good nature I've always associated with him. I loved that his response to Lauer's mentions of high approval ratings and low ones at different points in the interview were met with essentially the same response of "so what?" He didn't take the job of President to win a popularity contest, and he had very clear and grave ideas of his responsibility in that role. He understood he could not afford the luxury of needing to be liked at all times. I'm thankful that when 9/11 happened, he was our President.
I didn't learn anything new from these video clips, but I did find reinforcement of two things of which I was already convinced: I like George W. Bush, and Matt Lauer is a tosser.