Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kathleen Parker: Bushes Unleashed

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kathleen Parker: Bushes Unleashed

Article excerpt

If the truth sets us free, Bush family members should be warbling from rooftops.

At least one Bush, patriarch George H.W. Bush, has been singing his heart out with author Jon Meacham, whose biography of the 41st president will soon be released.

Early excerpts and reviews have wags talking and tails wagging for more morsels from Bush Sr.'s mind. Among other nuggets, we've learned his favorite term for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld is "iron ass," a phrase one can't resist saying as much as possible.

Cheney, who was secretary of defense under the first Bush, has responded he considers the description a compliment, while Rumsfeld replied that Bush is "getting up in years."

Then again, perhaps the 83-year-old Rumsfeld was projecting. In any case, Meacham's book has been a work in progress for several years. These weren't just-yesterday's musings. Meacham said Friday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he offered Bush a chance to clarify his statements.

"That's what I said," Bush responded.

Meacham explained Bush cares deeply about history and recorded his thoughts during both his vice presidency and presidency. He wanted history to get the facts right, even if the facts included criticism of his own son's bellicosity and swagger after 9/11, which Bush Sr. blamed partly on Cheney and Rumsfeld. But he also said George W. was ultimately responsible for the tone of his administration and the actions it took.

No one would agree more than W. himself, who would never pass the buck.

As to Rumsfeld's attempt to minimize the senior Bush's credibility, there's a far more likely explanation for his candor: Age also sets you free.

By 91, people become liberated from the inhibitions of life's imagined consequences.

There's something else, too, that sets people free, which can be seen in Jeb Bush's recent reset: being an underdog. …

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