The Corner

W.: Beware the Isms of March (and Other Months)

Today on the homepage, we publish Part III of my interview with George W. Bush. He talks mainly about America and the world — what our country can do and cannot do, what the dangers and opportunities are.

Here on the Corner, I’d like to excerpt a couple of lines that may especially apply to today, when we are roiled by politics — electoral politics.

Bush said, “Part of the problem that people had with the 2005 inaugural speech is that it was an easy way to say, ‘All he wants to do is impose American values.’” Bush holds this to be nonsense: Freedom and democracy are universal values, not national ones.

I couldn’t resist an interjection: “My line is, I’d like to impose American values on America.” Then I acknowledged, “That’s a little bit of campaign rhetoric.” Bush chuckled and said, “Yes, it is.”

Still true.

Later, Bush said, “The isms of isolationism and protectionism and nativism run deep in our history, and we’re seeing some of that now in the political arena. Not some of it. We’ve seen a lot of it.” He believes that, in succumbing to these “isms,” we Americans are “endangering ourselves more.”

Agree with him or disagree with him, George W. Bush is an exceptionally interesting man who has thought hard about principles and issues, and who cares deeply about the welfare of the United States and the world at large.

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