We spit our whiskey across the bedroom this morning after reading that Oliver Stone's forthcoming W may not live up to the painstaking accuracy standards we've come to expect from the filmmaker. After the screenwriter put to bed our concerns that the pranks and outbursts included in last week's script review were not, in fact, April Fool's Day gags, Bush biographers are getting all fussy today over the actual historical record:
"It leaves you with the impression that the White House is run as a fraternity house with no reverence for hierarchy, the office itself or for the implications of policy," said Robert Draper, author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush. "Everybody calling everybody else nicknames and chatting about whether to go to war as if they were chatting about how to bet on a football game really misses the mark of how many White Houses, including this one, are run." ...
"The problem here is it goes to this notion of Bush as being the passive receiver of policy and the White House being run by (Dick) Cheney, (Donald) Rumsfeld, (Karl) Rove and others," Draper said. "Bush's adversaries have been ill-served by this belief that Bush is an observer to his own presidency. This notion that his schedule is driven by what's on ESPN is ludicrous."
Damage control is underway at Stone's office, where the director immediately summoned behind-the-scenes dirt for his rewrite of the protracted Bush/Rove World Series of Poker standoff of 2006, which ended with Bush turning off an episode Rove hadn't seen, thus planting the seeds for Rove's resignation and prompting a verrrrry high-stakes, all-night Texas hold 'em bender with visiting Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf.