For me, one of the most telling moments of the George W. Bush presidency occurred during a press conference. A newsman asked him if he could name any mistakes he had made, and the question took the President aback.
None that he could think of, he responded after some thought. Some would call this evidence of his resoluteness; others, of his foolhardiness.
In any case, we knew that his decision to invade Iraq was not something that kept him awake at night. What does keep him awake? Evidently, the verdict of history, because he is now seeking to shape it.
I haven’t read his memoir, but one of the mistakes he finally acknowledges⎯according to interviews⎯is allowing the release of the photo that was taken of him looking bemusedly down from Air Force One at New Orleans after Katrina. He hasn’t mentioned the way he bungled the Katrina response as one of his mistakes, but maybe that’s in the book.
It is Bush’s right to put his own gloss on his moment in history. We should take his effort with the same grain of salt that we view all Presidential memoirs. One pundit called it a first “baby step” in his attempt at rehabilitation.
Some would say he doesn’t need rehabilitating, which tells you how controversial a figure he remains, and will continue to remain for some time...memoir or no memoir.