The Blog

Bush Is Back

1:00 AM, Apr 25, 2013 • By FRED BARNES
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Bush is sensitive to being called a big spender. He’s not, Bush says, “relative to other presidents. Debt to GDP was about the same as Reagan, but lower than Clinton or Bush (his father).” He didn’t mention Obama, appearing to go out of his way not to.

Besides the museum, Bush has created an institute, headed by James Glassman, a former journalist and State Department official.  It’s a think tank that Bush refers to as a “do tank.” That’s because its aim is not to produce studies or reports but to achieve tangible results in its six areas of concentration: global health, veterans, women’s rights, economic growth, education reform, spreading democracy.

The institute has already trained women to organize a network in Egypt.  Bush explained the goal this way:  “As Egypt changes, and as Egypt threatens, or as Egypt gets violent, there will be a women’s network that will enable these women to remain emboldened and to demand their rightful place and to help develop civil society so that this young democracy will emerge as stable platform for peace in the Middle East.”

Bush describes his own role as “hands on.” When programs are being implemented, “I am aware of the developments. I am not involved in a lot of planning meetings. We hire good people, set the strategic agenda, and pay attention to what they’re doing.” At that point, Bush told me, it’s time for him to “butt out so they can get their work done.”

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