RUSH: An amazing story today in the San Francisco Chronicle by these two guys, Matier and Ross. It’s all about political jockeying that heated up as the wildfires raged. Here’s the thing that’s fascinating about this. I’m just going to read to you from the column. Bush flew out to California, flew out there to look around, walk around with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
‘Bush invited Sen. Dianne Feinstein to join him on Air Force One during his trip. It may not have been coincidence that less than 24 hours earlier, Feinstein played a pivotal role in allowing Judge Leslie Southwick, a target of liberal groups, to be confirmed to an appeals court when she voted to block a filibuster and support the president’s nomination. With a 7:40 a.m. Thursday departure from Andrews Air Force Base, Feinstein found herself seated in the rear of the plane with a handful of Southern California congressional representatives. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage and French toast, Bush popped back for what the senator described as a frank two-hour conversation, mostly about foreign policy. ‘I found the discussion extraordinarily positive,’ Feinstein said. ‘I came away with a very different view about him.’ As for the president’s performance on the ground? ‘It was a wonderful thing to see, to be candid,’ Feinstein said. ‘I saw a warm, caring human being.”
How long has Bush been around as the president? Six years, almost seven now. Dianne Feinstein is just figuring out that Bush is a nice guy. After six years, she has a totally different view of him. I’ll tell you why this interests me. It interests me because the same thing happens to me. I spend some time with these libs and just shoot the bull about things and generally screw up their world by giving them a worldview that they’ve never considered before, and they’re all amazed, ‘You’re such a nice guy. I mean, you’re really funny, too.’ It is their preconceptions. It’s the clichéd stereotype that they have of conservatives — racist, sexist, bigot — in Bush’s case, stupid, cowboy. So after seven years, Dianne Feinstein’s figured out that Bush is on the ball on foreign policy, extraordinarily positive discussion about foreign policy, very different view about him. ‘It was a wonderful thing to see the president on the ground in California. I saw a warm, caring human being.’ We like hearing it, of course, but it’s almost insulting that the assumption would be the exact opposite.