There is an interesting section about George Bush's alleged cocaine use in Scott Mclellan's new book 'What happened: Inside the Bush Whitehouse and Washington's culture of Deception' that documents his seven years under George W, two as his press secretary. According to Mclellan, during the brief frenzy of media interest about Bush's alleged drug use he privately claimed 'the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not'.
OK. That sounds plausible.
Whilst Transform are not interested in 'outing' public figures as illegal drug users, the situation does assume a rather different complexion when said individual is arguably the world's leading drug war warrior (dramatically upscaling militarised cocaine eradication in Colombia under the Andean Initiative), and one who personally oversaw increases in penalties for cocaine users, including prison for posession of under a gram (as Texas Governor).
Make of it what you will (Mclelland suggest the perceived self deception on Bush's cocaine use reflects on how he approached the Iraq war), but come November, he'll be gone anyway. Its a shame such tales of hypocrisy invariably only emerge after or in the dying days of an administration.
McClellan tracks Bush's penchant for self-deception back to an overheard incident on the campaign trail in 1999 when the then-governor was dogged by reports of possible cocaine use in his younger days.
The book recounts an evening in a hotel suite "somewhere in the Midwest." Bush was on the phone with a supporter and motioned for McClellan to have a seat.
"'The media won't let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,' I heard Bush say. 'You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember.'"
"I remember thinking to myself, How can that be?" McClellan wrote. "How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense."
Bush, according to McClellan, "isn't the kind of person to flat-out lie."
"So I think he meant what he said in that conversation about cocaine. It's the first time when I felt I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true, and that, deep down, he knew was not true," McClellan wrote. "And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious — political convenience."
In the years that followed, McClellan "would come to believe that sometimes he convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment." McClellan likened it to a witness who resorts to "I do not recall."
"Bush, similarly, has a way of falling back on the hazy memory to protect himself from potential political embarrassment," McClellan wrote, adding, "In other words, being evasive is not the same as lying in Bush's mind.
Source article by Ken Herman