Washington – President Bush, though he doesn’t like to admit it, is looking ahead towards the end of his term. He’s already made plans for his time as a former president. This includes much more time with his family, specifically his parents, former president George H. W. Bush and wife Barbara. This also means time to relax, for him and his immediate family.
But along with the planning for future leisure time comes a knowledge that he will be judged by history once he leaves office. Many say the judgment will be harsh. As a result, insiders say, President Bush is seeking ways to improve his legacy. Perhaps this will take the form of a last, aggressive move for a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Perhaps it will take the form of a bold new domestic initiative. But domestic or international, any such maneuver will have to be balanced with an equally powerful desire on the part of the president: the desire for cookies.
“I get going on this plan, this new set of initiatives, looking for something bold, something lasting,” the president said, sitting comfortably in a leather chair at the Camp David retreat. “And then, out of nowhere, ‘Cookies!’ It’s, like, a voice in my head, you know? A voice that… I don’t know, maybe the voice doesn’t want me to have a lasting legacy. I don’t know. But it sounds like Captain Kangaroo. You know that guy, Captain Kangaroo?”
Aides to the president say the internal battle is having an effect on Mr. Bush. One aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “He just, you know, he’s usually not very sharp, but lately, he just–we’ll be talking about a strategy for something, maybe a domestic policy change, let’s say. And suddenly, he’ll just get up and kind of sleepwalk to the cookie jar, just droning, ‘Cookies,’ like Frankenstein or something. And we just have to wait till he snaps out of it so we can get back to work.”
Other aides confirmed the odd behavior. “And it’s kind of like the Hulk,” said a top level aide, who has been present at several meetings and prefers her name be kept secret. “When he comes out of it, he has no idea what has happened. He just looks at us, blankly, covered in cookie crumbs, and says, ‘What? What happened?'”
Mr. Bush knows that of the two, his legacy should take precedence over his desire to eat cookies. But, he says, it’s difficult to turn that knowledge into action. “My brain knows it,” Mr. Bush said, gesturing intently. “I mean, my brain tells me, ‘George, legacy is more important than cookies.’ And I say, ‘Yeah, Brain, I know. But cookies are so darn good.’ And the brain says, ‘George, cookies won’t decide how you’re viewed by history.’ And I say, ‘Brain, I know. But there’s chocolate chip. I mean, chocolate chip, Brain.’ And the brain gives up. As usual. When it comes to me versus my brain, I always win.”
Only time will tell which of the two, cookies or an enduring legacy, wins the battle for Mr. Bush’s attention during his remaining time in office.