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

More articles by:

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.

November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail