Here’s a excerpt from an Alexander Cockburn interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman wherein the Rumsfeld biographer lays out a scene that defies even the suspension of disbelief Hollywood logic, yet nevertheless plays so perfectly into liberals’ ideas about George W. Bush that it will no doubt soon become as sacrosanct in their lore as the bit about God telling Bush to smite Iraq:
Goodman: In 2006, you write that George W. Bush said to his father, “What’s a neocon?”
Cockburn: That’s right. One of the rare moments of sort of communication between the two. Bush said to — they were out at Kennebunkport, and Bush Jr. says, “Can I ask you a question? What’s a neocon?” And the father says, “Do you want names or a description?” The President says, “I’ll take a description.” He says, “I’ll give it to you in one word: Israel,” which is interesting on all sorts of levels, including the confirmation that our president doesn’t really read the newspapers.
Goodman: Explain what you mean when you say that. And how do you know that this conversation took place at their vacation home?
Cockburn: Well, I can’t really say who told me, but it’s someone who was — I have absolute confidence in both in their — that they’re telling the truth and also in their position to be aware of this conversation.
Funny to imagine the sort of chap who would pal around with both Cockburn and the Bushes, isn’t it? And here’s another funny, similarly unlikely bit as well:
Goodman: So what does it say about George W. Bush, that one of the few men who were in that circle that, as you put it, the former president and George W. Bush’s father, of course, despised, that he made one of his top key people in his own administration, George W. Bush?
Cockburn: Well, isn’t that very interesting? I mean, it tells us a lot about the relationship between the two Bushes. You know, we’ve heard this before, that there was an antipathy certainly on the younger Bush’s side towards his father. I mean, who knows? Unless we get him on the couch one day, we’ll not really find out where this came from. But it’s certainly there. I mean, you know, there’s so much anecdotal evidence of him expressing resentment — I mean, his famous remark that he didn’t pay attention to his own father, but he answered to a higher father, as he told Bob Woodward. So it’s there. And how can one not assume that the appointment selection of Don Rumsfeld to be his Defense Secretary was, in a way, one more jab by the son toward the father?
If that’s true, I guess the real question isn’t ‘Why did Bush choose Rumsfeld?’ but, ‘Why wasn’t Saddam Hussein named Secretary of State?’