Tuesday, February 22, 2005

But are the Bush Tapes really real? 
Ann Althouse is skeptical. She points out, correctly, that while the NYTimes was able to verify that the voice was in fact Bush's, it did nothing to verify that they were in fact recorded without W's knowledge. The transcripts are so helpful for Bush, it causes one to question this. His statements seem almost perfectly tailored to (a) show that he personally believes in his public initiatives, and (b) that he in actually quite a moderate who, while personally religious, shows some disdain for fundamentalist conservatives, especially on the issue of anti-homosexuality. Of course, this could just be because only a portion of the tapes have been released - perhaps only the tapes that help Bush.

On the other hand, the media have done a pretty good job of finding the perceived negative - Bush tacitly admits to having smoked marijuana. This could go both ways as to the question of whether he knew he was on tape. Against, because why would he make such an admission against interest on the record? But for, because this was before the campaign, and he may have thought that this would be a major issue, and was laying the groundwork for what he anticipated would be his campign's explanation. The apparent spin would be that unlike his predecessor, he at least would not make light of his past drug use, which could otherwise encourage experimentation. (I personally don't care too much about the marijuana issue either way.)

The White House should clarify whether or not Bush knew he was speaking on the record.
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