Laura and GWB: Outsourced Emotions

Tina Brown’s January 20 column about Barbara Walter’s interview with Laura and George Bush was once again full of quotable ‘graphs. Here she talks about how GWB relies on his wife.

What was striking in the Walters interview was how often the president looked over at Laura for validation. Even with his amped-up second-term cockiness, she’s still his security blanket. When Walters asked him, “Do you think you’ve changed very much in four years?” he immediately replied, “You better ask Laura” — as if he has outsourced emotional self-reflection to his wife. It’s always been one of the paradoxes of W that his rigid worldview and inflexible routines are born of a fragile sense of his own worth. It’s the baggage of having to compete all his life not just with such an accomplished father but also with the superior gifts of younger brother Jeb.

I am nearly always impressed with how Brown can so exactly get the tone of the moment right. Do you agree?