Fred Barnes is one of my favorite pundits/commentators. The Real Ugly American got a fantastic opportunity when he secured an interview with him.
It’s good. Here’s a portion:
UA: Something I am curious about and you talk about this in the book as well is how do journalists if you care to talk about generally get all these unnamed sources who leak anything from embarrassing little tidbits to national secrets. I mean what’s in it for the leakers.
FB: You know I have often wondered that. You know sometimes you get information just because you ask somebody a question and they will answer it. IN the national security area that’s a little different when somebody is leaking really sensitive information about say the NSA spying effort. There is somebody who has an agenda who wants to hurt the administration and the war on terrorism and perhaps in Iraq.
Sometimes people have an agenda and look there are a lot of people working in the Bush administration who are not fans of the president they work for. They are permanent members of the state department or other agencies and they leak against him. They tend not to talk to me but they talk to a lot of people at the Washington post, or the New York Times or Newsweek or time or so on. Some of these people they think they are the government. The presidents come and go but they are still here and they think of themselves as more important and they think presidents ought to follow their policies. And president bush has not done that particularly in foreign affairs.
UA: And we didn’t elect them and I know you talk about that in the book as well.
FB: Yeah well they seem to think that they you know elections their fine but we really have to leave it to the experts and the smart people to handle things like foreign policy.
UA: In the book you say President Bush doesn’t have the typical Jeffersonian conservative view of less government is better but a Hamiltonian one where it’s a valuable tool to provide security and prosperity and the common good.
FB: Look he’s not a small government conservative he’s not particularly a states righter either and of course Jefferson was both of those. He is someone who accepts that fact that we have big government in Washington and certainly conservatives have from Reagan to Gingrich.
I think he has been successful with some of his policies like the no child left behind program but obviously not as successful with social security. But it’s a different way of looking at government and I have sadly concluded and reluctantly concluded that we are going to have big government in Washington basically because people now expect the government to help them on heath care and some of these other things that the founding fathers never envisioned the federal government ever being involved in. but we are stuck with it so why not use it to as great an extent as possible for conservative ends. And that’s what Bush tries to do.
Check out the entire interview. It’s a good read.