The Corner


Garry Trudeau was two years behind President Bush at Yale, where he had more than incidental contact with the future White House resident.  Folks may not remember this 2004 Gary Trudeau interview in Rolling Stone. It included the following classic (pay particular attention to the very last sentence): 

Did you know Bush as a student?

We both served on the Armour Council, which was the social committee for our residential college. Nobody in my freshman dorm knew what the council was. But I apparently had shown some leadership qualities in the first three or four days of school, so I was elected unanimously. George Bush was chairman. Our duties consisted of ordering beer kegs and choosing from among the most popular bands to be at our mixers. He certainly knew his stuff — he was on top of it [ laughs].

Even then he had clearly awesome social skills. Legend has it that he knew the names of all forty-five of his fellow pledges when he rushed Deke. He later became rush chairman of Deke — I do believe he has the soul of a rush chairman. He has that ability to connect with people. Not in the empathetic way that Clinton was so good at, but in the way of making people feel comfortable.

He could also make you feel extremely uncomfortable. He was very good at all the tools for survival that people developed in prep school — sarcasm, and the giving of nicknames. He was extremely skilled at controlling people and outcomes in that way. Little bits of perfectly placed humiliation.

Now that is funny.  Bush may not yet have been thinking about preemption doctrine, but he had, at least, already developed a good instinct for anticipatory revenge.  Excellent….

Mario Loyola — Mr. Loyola is a fellow at the National Security Institute of George Mason University School of Law and a former defense-policy adviser at the Pentagon and in the U.S. Senate.


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