In an interview with the Hoover Institute’s Peter Robinson, Bush explained his self-imposed obscurity with his trademark lack of deep self-reflection.
When asked about what he wants to accomplish in his life as a former President, he quoted his father, former President George H.W. Bush, who said, “once you get off the stage, you stay off the stage.”
The younger Bush agreed that “not being on the stage is something I was comfortable with.”
He then lamented the loss of anonymity involved in being a President and said that he’s trying to regain that.
“I think it’s bad for the presidency to have former Presidents bloviating, opining or telling people how it ought to be done.” He went on to say that he likes not being in the public eye better, but added, “Look, eight years was awesome. You know, I was famous and I was powerful, but I have no desire for fame and power anymore.”
“I don’t want to undermine our president — whoever is president,” he added. “And a former president can do that. And I think it’s bad for the presidency itself.”
“I have found that life after the presidency is awesome.”
Here’s the video:
It’s understandable why Bush would want to stay out of the limelight. He left the office as one of the least popular presidents in history. He created a massive recession that could have easily turned into a depression if his policies of fiscal denial were allowed to stand. He started two wars, was responsible for countless deaths and a culture of torture. His legacy was one of international humiliation.
However, instead of forming philanthropic foundations or building homes for underprivileged people, Bush has spent his retirement attempting to rewrite his legacy.
On Tuesday, he released a book called the “4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs,” which is apparently chock full of advice from Nobel Prize winning economists, making one wonder why he didn’t employ them when it really mattered.
Of course the book is filled with the usual – government jobs don’t matter, lower corporate taxes, don’t raise taxes – line of rhetoric, but James K. Glassman, executive director of the George W. Bush Institute, wrote something completely contrary to current GOP wisdom in the book’s forward. He said that deficit reduction should not be the immediate goal and that spending cuts could strangle growth. “Reducing the debt is critical,” said Glassman, “but growth comes first.”
The Romney camp is probably cringing at the reemergence of George W. Bush and particularly at Bush’s release of a deeply ironic book on economics. The Republican party has spent three and a half years trying to erase the memory of the Bush Presidency. I’m sure they’re as happy as anyone with his quest for anonymity.