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November 04, 2010  | by: Kerri O'Malley

Kanye West Interrupts a Presidency

As George W. Bush looks back over his tumultuous presidency, one moment stands clear in his mind, the absolute worst moment of his presidency: that time Kanye West said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on national TV.

“He called me a racist,” Bush remembers in an upcoming interview with The Today Show‘s Matt Lauer, the first post-presidential interview he has given to date.  More details about Bush’s take on the encounter can be found in his new book, Decision Points.  Lauer quotes part of Bush’s book back concerning the incident: “I faced a lot of criticism as President. I didn’t like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all time low.”

At this point, it’s almost guilt-inducing to poke fun at Bush.  Almost.

I mean, he’s right: he did suffer a lot of criticism during his presidency.  A lot of criticism he deserved.  Let’s review the facts: we didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  His tax cuts did benefit the rich.  Lumping Kanye’s allegations that he is a racist in with these true criticisms isn’t helping Bush very much.

While I understand that Kanye’s remarks made waves (seriously, look at Mike Myers face) and that Bush feels victimized by Kanye’s speech (who doesn’t feel victimized by Kanye these days?), maybe the former president should take a step back and realize that giving such a heavy weight to the remarks a pop singer made might just be the real low point for him.  The remark was out of line, but now it’s been recorded for the ages in a presidential autobiography.  Come on George, did you really want to give Kanye even more press for saying something outrageous?

Some are accusing Bush of being egocentrically focused on Kanye’s remark instead of focusing on the devastation in New Orleans.  But the battle for the biggest ego here is clearly won by Kanye himself.  Kanye, in a response to Bush’s expressed anger, actually compared his own reaction to George Bush to the backlash Kanye received after cutting off Taylor Swift.  Apparently issues with aid to Katrina are now comparable to the deeply important VMAs.

So ultimately Bush’s (now historically recorded) anger at Kanye had one strange effect: Kanye’s a Bush fan.  He told a Houston radio station:

“…The poetic justice that I feel, to have went through the same thing that he went, and now I really more connect with him on a humanitarian level…because the next morning, when he felt that, I felt the same thing.”

Perhaps Kanye’s recent brush with poetic justice will change the way the rapper interacts with the public (and the president) in the future.

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