Howard Fineman toys with a little bit of non-whoredom in an insightful column on Bush's reaction to the anti-war protests. I generally find Fineman's "journalism" to be wretch inducing because he focuses so much on appearance rather then substance and thus is easily fooled by Bush's "sweaty" form of politics. But I think he hits on a vital aspect of Bush's character in this piece: Dubya doesn't hate the opinions of others, he just doesn't think he has to care about them, and when they confront him directly he views their anger as validation of his own moral rectitude. Fineman relates an interesting anecdote on this matter (aside: Howard, of course, does not explain where he heard this story, so it is quite likely that it is another Rovian constructed story meant to inspire, but still...)
- Bush wasn’t oblivious to social change. DKE was open to blacks and Jews, and the future president was aware of — and not afraid of — the thickening ethnic mix around him. Lanny Davis, a Yale friend (and Democratic political antagonist), tells a story that makes the point. A resident in their dorm was an immigrant from India. He wore weird outfits and was generally viewed as an exotic, even pathetic, character. One day in the dorm lounge, the outcast walked by a cluster that included Bush and some friends. “Why do they even let in somebody like that?” someone asked aloud. “It’s a waste of money trying to educate him.” Bush angrily turned on the questioner. “Don’t you ever say something like that in my presence again,” he snapped. “He’s got as much right to be here as you do.” It would be nice to say that Bush, his cross-cultural curiosity awakened, became fast friends with the fellow — that he plunged into the study of the history of India, its cultures and religions, that he traveled to the subcontinent to see it all for himself. Of course it didn’t happen; Bush entered the White House one of the least-traveled presidents in modern history. He wanted to be a gentleman, but that didn’t mean he really had to get to know the guy.