Not just a river in Egypt

NOT JUST A RIVER IN EGYPT…. George W. Bush chatted with the National Review’s Byron York and Rich Lowry, and the president reflected on the last eight years. His perspective is, for lack of a better word, “unique.”

* Compassionate conservatism: Bush remains devoted to the catch-phrase that he campaigned on in 2000, and tried to define it for the conservative writers. “Compassionate conservatism basically says that if you implement this philosophy, your life would become better,” Bush said. “That’s what it says. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s saying to the average person, this philosophy will help you make your life better.” I don’t know what this means.

* Global standing: Bush “rejected criticism that his administration has presided over a deterioration of relations with the rest of the world.” As proof, the president said the U.S. has “changed our relationship with India from one of suspicion to one of partnership.”

* Supreme Court: The president believes Harriet Miers would have been an “excellent” Supreme Court justice, adding, “Absolutely. Absolutely, no question in my mind.” Bush added that he felt it was important to pick a judicial candidate who was “not part of the judicial-nominee club — she went to SMU Law School.” (Alito went to Yale and Roberts went to Harvard.)

* Social Security: Bush said he “regrets” that his effort to “modernize” Social Security.

Bush has been on the national stage for more than eight years now, and I have to admit, I gave up trying to understand him quite a while ago.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.