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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 31, 2016
NEVE GORDON - NICOLA PERUGINI
Human Shields as Preemptive Legal Defense for Killing Civilians
Jim Kavanagh
Turkey Invades Syria, America Spins The Bottle
Dave Lindorff
Ukraine and the Dumbed-Down New York Times Columnist
Pepe Escobar
Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, a Woman of Honor, Confronts Senate of Scoundrels
Jeff Mackler
Playing the Lesser Evil Game to the Hilt
Steve Horn
Dakota Access Pipeline Tribal Liaison Formerly Worked For Agency Issuing Permit
Patrick Cockburn
Has Turkey Overplayed Its Hand in Syria?
John Chuckman
Why Hillary is the Perfect Person to Secure Obama’s Legacy
Manuel E. Yepe
The New Cold War Between the US and China
Stephen Cooper
Ending California’s Machinery of Death
Stacy Keltner - Ashley McFarland
Women, Party Politics, and the Power of the Naked Body
Hiroyuki Hamada - Ikuko Isa
A Letter from Takae, Okinawa
Aidan O'Brien
How Did Syria and the Rest Do in the Olympics?
David Swanson
Arms Dealing Is Subject of Hollywood Comedy
Jesse Jackson
The Politics of Bigotry: Trump and the Black Voter
August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Sam Husseini
Why We Should All Remain Seated: the Anti-Muslim Origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
Dmitry Kovalevich
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus as Fear and Loathing Grip Europe
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
Paul Messersmith-Glavin
100 in Anarchist Years
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail