Ok, I'm going to get a little subversive on you and try to outline the top 5 reasons to miss George Bush. Serious appraisals of his legacy are being made all over the news media (AIDS in Africa, no child left behind, relations with India etc) but this is NOT that kind of list.
This is an attempt to see what, if anything, on a lighter level, I will miss about Dubya.
5. His willingness to laugh at himself. Whatever you say, I must admit it took a sense of humor to poke fun at his own goof ups, to shrug off the shoe-throwing incident and to sit through the excruciating roast done by Colbert, which actually made me sympathize with Bush. Not to mention his bumbling persona- with words, with doors, with his strange smirk- strangely, oddly endearing almost. Many people say that despite their great political differences with Bush, he came across as a friendly, nice guy on a personal level. Note how you could NEVER say that for Cheney (shudder). His cooperation with the Obama team during the transition seems to point to that notion.
This story sums it up for me: I was watching a TV show today where they were interviewing a photographer for National Geographic who was documenting the White House. One of his favorite pictures showed GW staring wistfully out of the windows of the Oval office, backlit by the sun. What was he thinking, the picture seemed to ask? Reflecting on his legacy? Pondering the burdens of the Presidency? The President, the photographer said, was looking for his dog, Barney.
Something about that story summed it up for me- a simple-minded, goofy person/ frat boy who was just in the WRONG job. ETA: Maybe that's being too naive and benign but I'm feeling charitable today.
4. Laura Bush:
I like her. You always got the feeling she was slightly embarrassed by George even though she loves him, she is dignified and slightly enigmatic, she was a gracious first lady by all accounts and inspired one of my favorite books of last year- American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.
3. Barney the dog:
Watching Bush run after Barney the dog symbolized him in many ways. My sister and I once watched the Barney cam videos on the White House website in silent, horrified fascination.
2. Jokes and comedy at the expense of Bush: Reams have been written about how comics are stuck with little to make fun of about Obama. Indeed, we had such rich humor, even entire franchises, that came out of the Bush Administration.
Specifically I mourn the end of 'Great moments in Presidential Speeches' from David Letterman. That truly was one of my favorite segments on late night TV and now it is over....
To mark the end of this era, Letterman did a special compilation of the best moments from Dubya's speeches.....enjoy....
Wow, he sure was a funny and entertaining public speaker- albeit not always intentionally.
1. This is obvious, and linked to the point above, but the number one reason to miss Bush Jr. is Bushisms....ah, the beauty of Bushisms....always so resolute and so clear in its conviction and muddled in delivery. Oh.. the hours of laughter his speeches have inspired.... How could we fault a person who coined such words as 'misunderestimated'? Some of these Bushisms are so famous as to truly rank with great moments in Presidential speeches. We might never hear such inane, surreal and hilarious speeches again so we should take a moment to appreciate them...Here is the definitive collection of Bushisms for your reading pleasure and if you don't have a lot of time, the top 25 Bushisms as compiled by the chief collector of Bushsims- each one is a delight. Also check out the best of the video Bushisms).
Wow! That was tough but I found five things to miss...with a little stretching here and there.
I'm going to say goodbye to the craziness, sorrow and darkness of the past 8 years on the best note possible by leaving you you with my top 5 Bushisms:
5."I've heard he's been called Bush's poodle. He's bigger than that."—discussing Tony Blair
4. "And so, in my State of the—my State of the Union—or state—my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation—I asked Americans to give 4,000 years—4,000 hours over the next—the rest of your life—of service to America. That's what I asked—4,000 hours."
3. "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."
2. "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"
And for no. 1 I have this tie ...so funny, so sad, so true?
1. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
1. "There's a huge trust. I see it all the time when people come up to me and say, 'I don't want you to let me down again.' "—Boston, Oct. 3, 2000
Hahaha......thanks for the laughs George. I think we'll all like you a lot better when you're making your hilarious speeches but are not making policy!
What are your fav Bushisms? And will you miss George Bush at all? Why? Weigh in below....