Monitor Breakfast with David Frum
Former Bush speechwriter suggests that no amount of evidence will convince France of the need to attack Iraq.
Political columnist/author David Frum's new book, "The Right Man," is based on his year as a White House speechwriter in the Bush administration. He was Thursday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks.
"[No] because President Bush can be in private conversation very indiscreet and often says things that shouldn't be repeated. And I don't repeat them."
"[This] is a character study of somebody who is important to the country and who is important to me and who, by the way, has not been well described by all of you [reporters]."
"Who says she's gone? The president is able to talk to her whenever he wants. She is not an administrative presence in the way that she was... [but] she remains a very, very powerful - very, very powerful - force."
"We are seeing a generational sea change in the way Republicans and conservatives think about foreign policy. The whole realist intellectual tradition of the Republican Party was designed ... to say: How does a state find safety in a world of competing states? The question that it raises is ... what if you are more powerful than the whole rest of the world put together? What then?"
"The American people will not do things, big things, if they do not see a good moral reason for [them]. But they will do big things if they see a moral reason. Morality is going to become a much more important part of the way American foreign policy is conducted in a world in which the United States faces fewer competing power centers internationally."
"The biggest single challenge is that the people who most need to be convinced are people who no amount of evidence will convince. The question is: What would convince the government of France? The knowledge that Iraq is about to acquire a nuclear weapon? They sold Iraq the chemistry set with which to make a nuclear weapon back in 1977."
"President Bush cares a lot about words, I think maybe because they do not come easily to him he recognizes their power....Bush does not like winging it, he does not like disorderly process, and he has writers who are very close to him. He and [chief writer Michael] Gerson have a bond, they are both very religious people and they are able to talk about that. So this is an administration in which writers have played a role they haven't played in a long time."