FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

10 Things We Know About Bush

by David Vest

Ten things we don’t need polls to tell us about George W. Bush, who has suddenly been transformed in the public eye from Bumbling Dubya, illegitimate usurper, to Old 43, Our President.

1. “I don’t care. I like the guy.” Show people a list of outrages perpetrated by the Bush administration in its first year, and most of them are likely to respond with the moral equivalent of a shrug. Yes, you and I know better and this is a sad state of affairs that we must all view with alarm, etc. etc. It also happens to be the case, and we had better start dealing with political reality. The reality of the present moment and the foreseeable future is that people in the aggregate like this president, whatever they may think of his policies. Old 43, smirk and all, is infinitely more likeable than his father, who was never accused of being a “man of the people.” More importantly, Bush II is not personally disliked on a large scale, as was Bill Clinton. People admired Clinton, feared him, loathed him and lusted after him, held him in awe or in contempt, but few actually appeared to have liked the man.

2. Bush’s personal failings only seem to make him more likable. People enjoy mocking him for his verbal ineptitude, his lack of depth, his inability to eat a pretzel and watch football at the same time, but they don’t hate him for these defects. He comes across as human in a way his father’s stiffly-controlled hysteria never was able to do. Clinton’s weaknesses appeared all the more appalling (and damnable) against the background of his formidable strengths. We wondered, how could anyone so brilliant have been so miserably stupid? Bush’s perceived strengths emerge from all his shortcomings as a pleasant surprise. He’s better than we thought, whatever we thought

3. Because we like him, we’re going to let him get away with stuff we wouldn’t tolerate from others. This will be true long after Cheney has been tossed to the investigators and the last Enron executive tries to cut a deal.

4. The more we like him, the smarter he seems. Whoever debates him in 2004 is going to have to knock him out to beat him.

5. Bush is every bit the politician Clinton, who should know, warned us that he was. Clinton was extremely lucky to have made his first race for the White House against the father and not the son. As Bob Herbert put it in the New York Times, the Democrats now find themselves “placed in check by a fellow who was initially viewed, at best, as a political lightweight.”

6. They had better start taking him seriously, if they aspire to anything more than the right to say “I told you so.”

7. There really is an awful lot of addictive behavior in that family. We don’t care, we still like him. Who doesn’t have an irresponsible cousin or uncle who can get away with murder and still be the family darling? And this just in from a Texas source: “You know, I think I’d drink and take whatever pill I could get my hands on, too, if I had to grow up in that family.” (A view evidently shared by Dubya.)

8. The more he leans toward the center (and stiff-arms the religious right), the more we like him. He understands this. Only Nixon could go to China, etc.

9. The job approval rating is bound to fall. But not necessarily because we won’t still like him. It’s amazing how much of the glow of “The West Wing” seems to have rubbed off on Bush, of all people. 10. It’s the economy, stupid. Granted, people could care less about the economy when they’re running for their lives and scared to open the mail. Even that envelope with the tiny tax refund in it. But sooner or later the dust and fear die down. England gave Churchill the boot the minute the Second World War was over. The city of Houston used to feel much the same way about Ken Lay that the country now feels about Old 43. Then reality broke through, like a scene from GLAMOUR: A WORLD PROBLEM, and perception was no longer reality. Find someone who likes Ken Lay now.

David Vest is a regular writer for CounterPunch, a poet and piano-player for the Pacific Northwest’s hottest blues band, The Cannonballs.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

Visit his website at http://www.mindspring.com/~dcqv

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

More articles by:
May 26, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Stage of Capitalism: Germany’s Assault on the IMF
Pepe Escobar
Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability
Sam Pizzigati
America’s Cosmic Tax Gap
Ramzy Baroud
Time to End the ‘Hasbara’: Palestinian Media and the Search for a Common Story
José L. Flores
Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment
Patrick Cockburn
The Battle of Fallujah: ISIS Unleashes Its Death Squads
John Feffer
The Coming Drone Blowback
Alex Ray
The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?
Richard Pithouse
We Shall be the Prey and the Vulture
Binoy Kampmark
Trump and the Polls of Loathing
Manuel E. Yepe
A Cruise Ship Without Tourists Arrives in Havana
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt Negotiations: Will the IMF Exit the Troika?
Ajamu Nangwaya
Pan-Africanism, Feminism and Finding Missing Pan-Africanist Women
Howard Lisnoff
Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail