George and Hugh, Together Again

President Bush went on Hugh Hewitt's radio show to talk about his recently released memoir. Here's one nicely unself-aware exchange on "idealistic souls that convinced others that their vision for the future was the right one":

HH: Did you, in all the reading that you did, and you did a lot of reading when you were president. Did you think any of the previous presidents had become intoxicated with power? Did anyone stand out? I mean, you obviously admire Lincoln, and of course, your father. But was there anyone out there that you marked out as someone who just fell prey to all those intoxications?

GWB: Interestingly enough, not American presidents, because it’s hard to become so totally intoxicated with power when you’re responsive to the people. But the people that became intoxicated by power that affected me were like those idealistic souls that convinced others that their vision for the future was the right one, whether it be the folks who led the French revolution, or those who bought into Mao, or those who corrupted the Leninist movement in Russia. These are people that became so intoxicated with power that they ended up being murderers.

Wait, there's more:

HH: How crucial is it for the president to keep reading and reading and reading the way that you were doing?

GWB: Well for me, it was important. I didn’t watch much TV, or hardly any TV. Instead, I read. And it’s just a fascinating experience to be reading history and making history. And one of the things that I put in the book was when I read about Truman, and realized that many of the decisions he made were affecting my ability to do the job, such as a democratic South Korea made peace more possible in the Far East. And one of the contributions I think we made to the country was to get in a law, tools necessary for presidents to help protect the country. Some presidents may use them, some presidents may not use the tools, but they’re all available.

To the civil libertarian's ear that sounds ominous. Later in the interview, Bush asserts that some people in the CIA were strategically leaking information prior to Election 2004 in an effort to oust him from the White House.