"Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him," Bush said, referring to Palmeiro's denials under oath to a congressional committee on March 17. "He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him. Still do."
As always, George Bush has rigid principles, unless you've palled around with him in Texas. The president has single-handedly (well, with help of Nanny McCain and undeserving Hall of Famer Jim Bunning) turned private-industry substance ingestion into a pressing federal-government issue, using his freaking State of the Union address to tell baseball to "get rid of steroids now" … yet when his own former player gets caught with his pants down, he's a "friend" and we should all believe him.
While in this case I'm happy to see Dubya ease off his high horse (since I don't buy the high horse in the first place), it's not as comforting to watch Mr. Mideast Democracy Promotion do stuff like melt into the arms of his dear friend Crown Prince Abdullah, for starters. Bush personalizes policy, and lavishly rewards loyalty, so those who have successfully kissed his ass, worked for his family, or allowed their hearts to be looked into get a presidential waiver from comportment standards he enthusiastically imposes on others. While touching, after a fashion, it sure doesn't help the ol' moral authority.