Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Everyone Says I Loathe You

by David Vest

I should have know better than to answer the phone this late on a Friday afternoon. It was my old friend and nemesis, Leon Despair, and he was as usual in no mood to be put on hold or to answer questions about how he got my new number. I get these calls from Leon once or twice a year and I know better than to hang up on him or tell him I’m busy. That will only bring him straight to my door.

He began by inquiring about my health: “Are you out of your mind? What’s come over you?”

I beg your pardon?

“Did you write this column in CounterPunch? It has your name on it.”

Which column would that be?

“This one. Ten Things You Know About Bush.”

Oh. That one.

“Ten things my foot! You don’t know one thing.”

What makes you say that? (What makes ME say THAT?)

And he’s off to the races. “Listen to this crap. ‘We like him,’ it says. What the hell does that mean? Who’s we?”

According to the polls, about 80% of the people like him. Haven’t you heard them talking on TV about how the guy has bonded with America?

“You sound like a damn dope addict. Somebody says something on TV and you go Oh, Wow! and start looking for a pencil. Is that how journalism works?”

Now wait a minute . . .

“You didn’t ask me if I like him. Go ahead, ask me. Here’s the answer — I don’t. Furthermore, I don’t know anybody that likes him. And neither do you.”

Uh, well, not exactly.

“Well, if I don’t know anybody that likes him, and you don’t know anybody that likes him, then who the hell DOES like him?”

Listen, Leon, nobody WE know likes him, but apparently everybody else does, ok?

“Nobody likes him. Name one person who likes him.”

Al Gore says George W. Bush is his commander-in-chief …

“That is so lame. Admit it: nobody likes him. Say it.”

Maybe nobody in particular likes him, but we as a people, in the aggregate, like him. Read the polls…

“Shut up when you’re talking to me, ok? Don’t make me come over there. In the State of the Union, did you hear him say LET’S MAKE THESE TAX CUTS PERMANENT?”


“That meant, LET’S GIVE ANOTHER $254 MILLION TO ENRON. You know anybody who likes that idea?”

Not offhand.

“You think Ken Lay even likes him? You think Cheney likes him? You think Colin Powell likes him?”

Condoleeza Rice seems to like him …

“Let me remind you of 10 Things You DON’T Know about Bush, ok? You don’t know how much cocaine he did.”

I don’t know for a fact that he…

“You don’t know when was the last time he did it. You don’t know where he did it. You don’t know who he got it from. You don’t know who he did it with. You don’t know where he was when he was supposed to report for duty in Alabama, and his commanding officer says he never saw him.”

This is old stuff…

“You don’t know whether he ever did any of his roistering with Enron people. You don’t know what he knew about the Taliban leadership being in Sugar Land, Texas in 1997, while he was governor. Did he meet with them?”

I’ve raised that in my columns …

“And who’s behind all this fainting? Everytime you turn around, another one passes out.”

Leon, this is getting …

“Just remember one thing. Nobody liked him in Texas, either. And he defeated Ann Richards. And then even fewer people liked him and he won re-election in a landslide. So who do think the Democrats will put up against him in 2004?”

I don’t know. Probably Gore?

“No way. Nobody likes him.”

The line was dead. Leon was gone again. Not even a “till next time.” He’s that way.

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:

Visit his website at

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:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 28, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Inside the Invisible Government; War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump
Andrew Levine
The Hillary Era is Coming: Worry!
Gary Leupp
Seven World-Historical Achievements of the Iraq Invasion of 2003
Paul Street
Standing Rock Water-Protectors Waterboarded While the Cleveland Indians Romped
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel: 1984 Everlasting
Michael Brenner
American Foreign Policy in the Post-Trump Era
Luciana Bohne
Crossing the Acheron: Back to Vietnam
Robert Hunziker
The Political Era of Climate Refugees
Stephen Cooper
Alabama’s Last Execution was an Atrocity
Pete Dolack
Work Harder So Speculators Can Get More
Joyce Nelson
Canadians Launch Constitutional Challenge Against CETA
John Laforge
US Uranium Weapons Have Been Used in Syria
Paul Edwards
The Vision Thing ’16
Arshad Khan
Hillary, Trump and Sartre: How Existentialism Disrobes the Major Presidential Candidates
Peter Lee
It’s ON! Between Duterte and America
Joseph Grosso
Starchitects in the City: Vanity Fair and Gentrification
Patrick Carr
Economic Racial Disparity in North Carolina
David Swanson
Public vs. Media on War
Chris Gilbert
Demo Derby in Venezuela: The Left’s New Freewheeling Politics
Binoy Kampmark
Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump and World Disorder
Stephen Cooper
Alabama’s Last Execution Was an Atrocity
Binoy Kampmark
Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump and World Disorder
Russell Mokhiber
Lucifer’s Banker: Bradley Birkenfeld on Corporate Crime in America
Ron Jacobs
Death to the Fascist Insect! The SLA and the Cops
Cesar Chelala
Embargo on Cuba is an Embarrassment for the United States
Jack Smith
And the Winner Is….
Ken Knabb
Beyond Voting: the Limits of Electoral Politics
Matt Peppe
An Alternate Narrative on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
James Rothenberg
Water Under the Bridge
Louis Yako
Remembering Rasul Gamzatov: The Poet of the People
Brian Cloughley
The US, NATO and the Pope
Louis Proyect
The Outsider-Insider: Isaac Babel’s Big Mistake
Martin Billheimer
Now and Then, Ancient Sorceries
October 27, 2016
Paul Street
An Identity-Politicized Election and World Series Lakefront Liberals Can Love
Matthew Stevenson
Sex and the Presidential City
Jim Kavanagh
Tom Hayden’s Haunting
CJ Hopkins
The Pathologization of Dissent
Mike Merryman-Lotze
The Inherent Violence of Israel’s Gaza Blockade
Robert Fisk
Is Yemen Too Much for the World to Take?
Shamus Cooke
Stopping Hillary’s Coming War on Syria
Jan Oberg
Security Politics and the Closing of the Open Society
Ramzy Baroud
The War on UNESCO: Al-Aqsa Mosque is Palestinian and East Jerusalem is Illegally Occupied
Colin Todhunter
Lower Yields and Agropoisons: What is the Point of GM Mustard in India?
Norman Pollack
The Election: Does It Matter Who Wins?
Nyla Ali Khan
The Political and Cultural Richness of Kashmiriyat