early and often

Which Bush Administration Official Is ‘the Juice Man’?

Today on VF.com, writer C. Brian Smith has a story about his personal relationship with the outgoing Bush clan and how he (like many people at the moment) grappled with his affection for them personally, and his distaste for the patriarch’s actions as president. While it won’t teach you anything new about politics (or, really, the Bush family, unless you didn’t know about Dubya’s penchant for fart jokes), it’s notable for two reasons in particular. To begin with, the unspoken oath of omertà held among all Bush-family intimates is broken even more rarely than the one shared by administration colleagues. That this story is a deliberate breach of that is uncomfortably clear in the writer’s prose. DI editor Chris knows Smith from school, and can imagine knows that there are probably several people who are peeved at him today.

The second, and much more hilarious, reason why this article is of note is this: In it, Smith refers to an unnamed Bush pal from his Andover days:

I mention to the president that we have a mutual friend, the father of one of my classmates. I’ve barely uttered the name before the president starts shouting, “The Juice Man!” Only later do I learn that the nickname goes back to the Juice Man’s days at Andover, where he and Bush were friends, and, I’m told, he often suffered horrible diarrhea.

Well, that could be anybody, right? Not quite. Bush famously (and sometimes problematically) brought a few of his best Andover friends along with him to Washington. One of them was James B. Lockhart, a former Social Security official who ended up overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2005. According to the Times, Lockhart was the guy under whose watch the two agencies “plunged into the riskiest part of the market, gobbling up more than $400 billion in subprime and other alternative mortgages.” After that, he continued to push to ease restrictions on their power to buy mortgage-backed securities, making public assurances that all was well nearly up until the day both companies’ stocks lost half of their value.

Anyway, we happen to know Lockhart also happens to have a kid who was Yale buddies with Smith. So there you have it: “the Juice Man.” And, forgive us, but we must point out the takeaway: At least one of George Bush’s men who helped flush America’s liquidity down the toilet has, apparently, been practicing the move his whole life.

My Dinners With Dubya [VF]

Which Bush Administration Official Is ‘the Juice Man’?