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Sunday, February 20, 2023
The Bush Tapes
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:31 am

The Blogosphere is abuzz about the following NYT piece: In Secretly Taped Conversations, Glimpses of the Future President.

Mr. Wead first acknowledged the tapes to a reporter in December to defend the accuracy of a passage about Mr. Bush in his new book, “The Raising of a President.” He did not mention the tapes in the book or footnotes, saying he drew on them for only one page of the book. He said he never sought to sell or profit from them. He said he made the tapes in states where it was legal to do so with only one party’s knowledge.

Mr. Wead eventually agreed to play a dozen tapes on the condition that the names of any private citizens be withheld. The New York Times hired Tom Owen, an expert on audio authentication, to examine samples from the tapes. He concluded the voice was that of the president.

One’s first reaction is that is a pretty sleazy thing to do to someone, i.e., secretly taping them (not to mention then releasing some of the tapes to the press). Mr. Wead claims that he is not releasing the for publicity, but I share James Joyner’s skepticism on that point. I mean, it just so happens that he is featured in the Sunday NYT with a new book out?

In terms of startling revelations, the closest seems to be a sideways admission that Bush once smoked marijuana (I’m shocked!).

The piece states

The private Mr. Bush sounds remarkably similar in many ways to the public President Bush. Many of the taped comments foreshadow aspects of his presidency, including his opposition to both anti-gay language and recognizing same-sex marriage, his skepticism about the United Nations, his sense of moral purpose and his focus on cultivating conservative Christian voters.

This fact, and the fact in general that the piece is actually potentially helpful to Bush leads Ann Althouse to wonder if the tapes were, in fact, secretely recorded:

The similarity between the private Bush and the public Bush is so great, in fact, that I suspect the Times is being taken for a ride and Bush actually knew he was being taped


Bush comes across as a remarkably consistent, morally grounded man.


If the tapes are what they purport to be, respect for Bush should grow. But how do we know Bush and his friend didn’t stage the tapes?


To me, they seem too good to be truly confidential conversations with an old friend.

Could it be another Rovian conspiracy?

Certainly if the tapes are genuine, they show a rather significant amount of consistency in the mind and beliefs of the President.

Thanks to Bill Hennessey for e-mailing me about the story last night.

Filed under: US Politics | |Send TrackBack


  • el
  • pt
    1. From what I heard, I think Bush comes off looking great in the tapes. Very sincere.

      If I were you though, I would share your “skepticism” rather than your “scepticism,” because the latter would be like sharing nothing and that’s not very nice.

      And by the way, big news coming from Western Iraq in the next week. You heard it here first.

      Comment by John Lemon — Sunday, February 20, 2023 @ 12:53 pm

    2. Thanks for the spell check.

      Comment by Steven Taylor — Sunday, February 20, 2023 @ 1:11 pm

    3. So everyone outraged at Linda Tripp recording conversations will rise up and denounce this tactic of . . .

      Oh, forget it — I have no energy for caustic mocking today.

      Comment by Steven L. — Sunday, February 20, 2023 @ 1:44 pm

    4. So everyone outraged at Linda Tripp recording conversations will rise up and denounce this tactic of . . .


      Comment by Bill Hennessy — Sunday, February 20, 2023 @ 2:05 pm

    5. Maybe you were thinking about antiscepticism, which is the philosophy of making everying clean and free of germs.

      Comment by John Lemon — Sunday, February 20, 2023 @ 11:26 pm

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