"There's Adam Clymer. Major league asshole from the New York Times"
With that privately muttered aside to a grinning, nodding Dick Cheney - on Monday at an Illinois high school, George W. Bush somewhat undercut his claim that he would restore civility to the political process. To many observers - it sounded pretty much like political abuse as usual.
Of course Bush's undeleted expletive was only intended for Cheney's ear - but an amplifier picked up Bush's words and revealed it to the world.
Understandably chagrined that his ungracious side had been exposed, Bush offered that most political of apologies. "I regret that a private comment I made to the vice presidential candidate made it through the public airways." A regret that his words had been overheard. But no expression of regret for the the opinion expressed or the language used.
Three observations in his favor though.
Firstly - when he uses the descriptive "major league" - this is a man who knows what he's speaking of. As the minority partner in the Texas Rangers - who incidentally traded Sammy Sosa under his watch - he clearly knows the meaning of those words.
Secondly - for the students and young people present - hearing a Presidential candidate who has condemned the tone in Washington speak so frankly was clearly an educational process about the nature of hypocracy.
Lastly, when he speaks of restoring dignity and honor to the White House - perhaps he has meant in comparison to Richard Nixon - who would never have spoken so kindly or politely of a New York Times writer.