Uncommon Knowledge with George W. Bush

Peter Robinson recently sat down with President Bush in Dallas to record an interview for Uncommon Knowledge. Two books provide the frame for the interview. In Decision Points, now out in paperback, Bush looks back on his presidency. The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs is a collection of essays edited by Brendan Miniter with a foreword by Bush and derived from the George W. Bush Institute. One highlight of the collection is Amity Shlaes’s essay, “Growth Lessons from Calvin Coolidge.” It previews Amity’s forthcoming biography of Coolidge, touted by President Bush during the interview.

There is much to enjoy here. Bush’s intelligence and decency shine through. Among the quotable quotes, I loved this explanation of his detachment from the scene: “I think it’s bad for the presidency to have former presidents bloviating.” His detachment is also a source of relief: “I crawled out of the swamp. I’m not crawling back in.” And why does he wish the tax cuts he succeeded in getting enacted were not dubbed the Bush tax cuts? Stay tuned for his answer to that question.

There is also some with which to argue. President Bush has no apparent second thoughts, for example, about the inclusion of a terrorist party in the elections that brought Hamas to power in Gaza.

The interview is about an hour long. It is interesting throughout. If you are inclined to check it out, which I urge you to do, please be sure not to miss the last 10 minutes, including President Bush’s discussion of his continuing relationship with injured soldiers. I won’t forget the bicycle ride he mentions, and I don’t think you will either.

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