Michael Kinsley

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George Bush: “The First Jewish President”

Michael Kinsley’s review of Bush’s memoir has this tidbit:

When Bush called for a new Palestinian leadership, Barbara Bush the elder (“Mother,” he invariably calls her) rang up to say, “How’s the first Jewish president doing?” Maybe I’m deficient in humor, but I don’t see why this is funny, as her son clearly believes it to be. I might even find it alarming if Bush didn’t crowd this book with ­maybe-you-had-to-be-there witticisms.

Philip Weiss writes that the comment is

a little window into the important mystery of how the realist [G. H. W] Bush absorbed the shocking reality of his neoconnized son — after all, a question of huge historical import. I.e by gentle ribbing, in the hope that it might eventually make a difference. Perhaps it even did; Bush didn’t attack Iran. Jeffrey Goldberg reported that he began to call Kristol and Krauthammer “the bomber boys” in the last years of his presidency. I’m a little surprised that Kinsley would have thought it alarming. Read more