George W. Bush, a Cowboy? No Way!|
You hear it a lot... people comparing American President George W. Bush to a cowboy! Not a chance. Isn't anyone actually paying close attention to those classic Westerns that have been playing for, oh, about 100 years? Bush, a cowboy? What an insult! To cowboys, that is.
George W. Bush is a lout, and probably a war criminal. History will shred him to bits, and he will most likely go down as the worst and most irresponsible American President of all times.
Yet, in many ways, he is a poster child for conservativism, at least corporate conservativism. Corporate conservatives like the deck stacked in their favor, and do everything they can to keep it that way. Like other recent vintage CorpCon political leaders, Junior Bush rode his daddy's coattails to every significant achievement in his life. Ditto for John McCain, the son and grandson of Navy admirals, and Mitt Romney, son of the CEO of American Motors and governor of Michigan. If these three scions had truly had to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make it on their own, we can probably visualize Mitt as an insurance salesman, McCain in jail, and "Dubya" a greeter at Wal-Mart.
The common denominator with these sons is that none of them was a match for their father, in smarts, competency or integrity, though each tried ruthlessly to compete with and eclipse their paternal shadow.
So we have McCain the Maverick, who prided himself on being simply obstinate and contrary; Mitt the Flip-flopper, changing his beliefs like an Etch-a-Sketch; and Dubya, the "Cowboy" who rode roughshod over the English language, diplomacy, the deficit and the Constitution.
One of these descriptions is completely contrary to reality. Anyone who knows anything about cowboys should know very well that George W. Bush ain't one!
Real cowboys are born, reared and roam out West, places like Texas and Colorado and Arizona and Wyoming. Not only is George W. Bush not a real cowboy, he's a fake Texan. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, far removed from the American Wild West. Nothing wrong with Connecticut... but it's not cowboy country.
Cowboys always come from common stock. They usually don't have enough money to buy an extra pair of chaps. George W. Bush was born rich and powerful. His Poppy was born rich and powerful. His Grand-poppy was born rich and powerful. And each one of them had one overriding goal in life: to become even more rich and powerful.
Cowboys stay to themselves and don't generally have many true friends, except maybe another poor cowboy... and, of course, their horse. George W. Bush is never seen around horses (rumor has it he's afraid of them). Yet he was born with hundreds of friends and well-wishers because of his family's wealth and power. With his stumble and bumble into power, his friends and well-wishers have multiplied.
Only a few cowboys have their own ranch. Mostly they work on somebody else's ranch... usually belonging to a rich guy who only pretends to be a cowboy. George W. Bush has his own ranch. When he's there, he likes to chainsaw small trees for amusement. Guaranteed, no cowboy would spend his idle time chainsawing small trees.
Cowboys don't say much, but when they do speak, they are to the point and often eloquently profound. No cowboy has ever been known to rely on a speech-writer. George W. Bush relies very heavily upon his speech-writers, who have penned almost all of his coherent public utterances. On his own, George W. Bush says things such as:
"I think the American people — I hope the American — I don't think, let me — I hope the American people trust me."...
and "One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end."...
and "We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."...
Cowboys may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but then, they don't aspire to run the most powerful nation on Earth. When his boy George W. (or "Junior" as the family calls him) had become the frontrunner for the Republican presidential ticket in 2000, the first president Bush expressed surprise, proclaiming, "Jeb's the smart one".
About the only thing cowboys have in common with George W. Bush is that most of them also probably wouldn't have had the grades to get into Yale University. A cowboy would accept full responsibility for the setback and get back to the herd or make do with some place like Texas A&M or Arizona State. When George W. Bush's grades weren't good enough to get him in on his own, Yale alum, Poppy Bush, stepped in to make sure Junior was "legacied" into the Ivy League school. You know, that's the idea that if pop went there (and is a generous donor), then the school will find a way to allow the child, the "legacy," in the backdoor, even if they wouldn't otherwise qualify. Therefore, some more deserving student lost the opportunity. A cowboy would never accept something he didn't earn. But rich conservatives, including those who cannot stand the idea of "affirmative action" for the disenfranchised, love being able to pull strings and bend rules when it's their slacker offspring who need a boost.
At Yale, George W. Bush spent his time as a preppy fratboy and a cheerleader. It is doubtful that any real cowboys have ever been Ivy League fratboys... or cheerleaders.
Cowboys are self-made men. They have pulled themselves up by their own boot-straps, literally. They take responsiblity for their actions and own up to their own mistakes. Not George W. Bush. He has always relied on taking advantage of his unique position and heritage... rather than his own achievement... to move ahead... and in some cases, to hide out.
Cowboys are brave and courageous. They don't shirk their duty, even if it leads them into danger. After his cheerleading days at college, Junior Bush asked his pop to again pull political strings so that he could jump to the head of the line and successfully duck the Vietnam War by hiding out in the Texas Air National Guard. Because Bush stole one of the few Air Guard slots, some other guy probably had to go to Vietnam. From all evidence, Bush spent much of his time in the Air Guard drunk, and apparently even went AWOL for a period of almost a year! He got away with it, because no one wanted to go up against Poppy Bush's influence.
Like in the movie "Giant", a few lucky cowboys find themselves in a much more lucrative line of business when oil is discovered on their patch of land. To strike it rich in the oil business, George W. Bush returned to his childhood home of Midland, Texas, where he promptly proved himself one of the worst oilmen in West Texas history. He drilled and drilled, and hit nothing but dry holes. Yet he was continually propped up and bailed out by his Poppy's friends and admirers. Amazingly, despite one business bust after another, George W. Bush ended up richer and richer. A cowboy's mind would be boggled by what favors come your way when your Poppy is a congressman, then ambassador to the United, Nations, then head of the Republican Party, then U.S. envoy to China, then director of the CIA, then vice-president, and then president of the USA.
George W. Bush was rescued no less than three times by sweetheart deals that pumped new life, and new capital, into his inept and always near-bankrupt schemes. Cowboys usually are the rescuers; rarely, if ever, do they need to be rescued themselves... much less, over and over again.
After proving himself one of the worst businessmen in Texas, George W. Bush's rich friends decided he would make an excellent managing partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, even though he had zero experience in professional baseball. As a result, a more deserving professional baseball man didn't get the opportunity (are you seeing a pattern here?). Few cowboys ever get that kind of break, and only the movie cowboy, Gene Autry, also become a professional baseball big-whig.
While in charge of the baseball Rangers, Bush presided over the blackmailing of the city of Arlington, and used eminent domain to force the building of a new ballpark, which Junior, that clever and imaginative boy, named... "The Ballpark in Arlington". During his tenure as baseball GM, Bush was reckless and clueless. His Rangers were distant also-rans in the American League; they never made the playoffs, and Bush traded away future All-Star Sammy Sosa. Perhaps operating on the emotional precept of "misery loves company," he was the one and only baseball GM to vote against expanding the baseball playoffs, predicting it would be a disaster for the game. He couldn't have been more wrong. Playoff expansion has been an astounding success, for both Major League Baseball and fans. Yet even though he proved, once again, to be an inept businessman, Bush got richer. A similarly inept cowboy would be out of work after the first inning.
A cowboy's word is his bond. Cowboys tell the truth, even when it hurts. George W. Bush rarely tells the truth. In fact, he is perhaps the lyingest president in history. We have come to expect politicians to tell fibs and exaggerate and make promises they won't keep. We don't expect them to promise one thing while actually planning to deliver the exact opposite! That is the most poisonous, cynical and diabolical thing a leader can do... and a (deliberate?) precursor to electorate disengagement (after all, the Republicans feast upon low voter turnout). Yet George W. Bush and his Republican operatives feel absolutely no need to temper their pronouncements with even the slightest shred of truth.
George W. Bush portrayed himself during the election of 2000 as a moderate. He has since revealed himself and his "neocon" coterie as predatory corporate right-wingers.
He promised to be a "uniter not a divider". The precise opposite has come to pass. He has divided the world from America... and divided Americans from each other.
He promised that as a world leader he would first and foremost be "humble"... and has since become perhaps the most bombastic, arrogant, stubborn and reviled American president ever!
He stated he didn't want the USA to engage in "nation-building"... and now has America embroiled in its longest, most costly, and most egregious spate of such endeavors ever... in Afghanistan and Iraq!
He did not bother to tell the American public during his election campaign that he planned to give away the Clinton budget surplus on tax cuts to benefit the rich. He ran as a fiscal conservative who would lower the deficit, but he did the exact opposite, running up the largest deficit in American history. He did not tell us that he planned on putting foxes in charge of the EPA and Interior Department henhouse... rolling back decades of environmental progress... while guilefully naming his initiatives the oppposite of what they really are (thus Bush's gutting of the Clean Air Act becomes his "Clear Skies Initiative"... his plan for allowing a salivating timber industry access to long-protected old growth trees becomes Bush's "Healthy Forests Initiative"... and his decision to allow corporate and industrial concerns to continue their assault upon salmon spawning watersheds becomes the "Salmon Recovery Project"). He did not let on that he planned to thumb his nose at the rest of the civilized world on issues ranging from global warming, to women's rights, to landmines, to family planning, to the ABM Treat... and more.
Though necons were gleeful, Bush did not tell the rest of us he planned to seek to systematically discredit and diminish the effectiveness and cohesion of the United Nations, NATO and our good standing with the European Union. He did not tell us during the election of 2000 that among his prime handlers were some who had long advocated an attack upon Iraq. Instead, he pulled the wool over the eyes of millions of Americans by using the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 as his stated reason for going after the Saddam Hussein regime, claiming the imminent use of burgeoning stockpiles of Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction", exaggerating the flimsiest terrorist connections, and frightening the American public by claiming that Hussein had the capability to ruin the American economy, and was close to possessing a nuclear weapon. A gullible public gulped it down hook, line and sinker. After all, who wouldn't believe the President?
A real cowboy is honest about his foibles. On payday real cowboys are known to go for the strong stuff. George W. Bush went tipsy for about a decade.... and it supposedly wasn't all from whisky... according to many reports there may have been some white powderery stuff in the mix, as well. When they get plastered, cowboys know better than to drive drunk, unless it's from aboard a saddle, where they can't do too much damage because the horse usually isn't also drunk. George W. Bush was busted for driving an automobile which was exactly as drunk as he was... then tried his best to cover it up... and made the decision that this was yet another little item he would not divulge to the American public during the 2000 presidential campaign.
Cowboys mostly take the side of the underdog. It's the exact opposite for George W. Bush. He claimed to be a "compassionate conservative"... another whopper. As both governor of Texas and president of the U.S., he has shown compassion only toward the richest of the rich... always and forever taking the side of large corporate interests and wealthy benefactors over average Americans and their needs. His compassion toward the people of Texas extended to allowing his industrial, petroleum and chemical political contributors to "voluntarily" control their pollution emissions... which led directly to Texas becoming the air and water pollution capital of the country on his watch. As governor, Bush executed more men (and women) than any other governor of the modern era, and his compassion extended to exactly zero prisoners sentenced to death... even though appeals for clemency for some of these individuals came from as high a moral authority as the Pope. As president, his "compassion" has extended to a deliberate dismantling of the social services that the federal government has provided to its most needy citizens, and throwing it onto the backs of already overwhelmed state governments and private sector organizations. Bush pledged to "leave no child behind"... then slashed funds for education. He has proposed eliminating various low-income housing programs, and wants to cut funds for the Administration on the Aging. His latest rounds of mega-tax cuts extend no assistance at all for millions of below-the-poverty-level families with children. Even while he waged a war, he moved to block pay increases for the military and actually cut back on services for veterans during a time of war. Actually, just check any national program that helps middle or lower income families and individuals, and you will find George W. Bush and the Republicans hard at work trying to cut its budget or eliminate the program altogether. Keep in mind, most cowboys may need Social Security and Medicare in their old age... but rich Republicans don't!
Cowboys love the land. They like wide open spaces where the deer and the buffalo roam. They were among the original environmentalists. George W. Bush and the Republicans have never seen a forest they wouldn't love to cut down, a valley they wouldn't love to pave over, a mountaintop they wouldn't love to strip-mine, a wilderness area or beachfront they aren't craving to oil-drill (unless, perhaps, where Jeb Bush's Florida votes are at stake).
Cowboys don't make a habit of going to church. They are not big on Bible-thumping or spouting lines from the Old or New Testaments. They know that those who pound the Bible the hardest are often the worst Christians, just as those who wave the flag the hardest are the worst Americans. George W. Bush makes a big show of his religion. He shows up for church photo-ops regularly. He pretends to be a good Christian. It plays well to the religious right. They are completely fooled because he is a fake Christian. He couldn't recite a Bibilical phrase if you spotted him the "Our Father, Who art in..." But his actions are the very opposite of WWJD. He chose not to even listen to the Pope, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Protestant National Council of Churches and many distinguished rabbis regarding their stance against his war upon Iraq. He also turned a completely deaf ear to a request for an audience by his own Methodist bishops prior to the Iraq war.
Cowboys are patriotic, but they know that true patriotism requires an open mind, not blind faith. Cowboys know it is more important to stay within the law than it is to "get their man". But it's true that when a cowboy means to do something, he does it... and doesn't get waylaid or sidetracked. George W. Bush hasn't gotten his man... he doesn't seem to even remember who "his man" is! In his obsession with Iraq and its oilfields, Mr. Bush apparently has forgotten who really attacked America on September 11th, 2001. Not a single one of those terrorists was from Iraq. Meanwhile, through Bush's entire two terms, Osama bin Laden was still out there plotting. Bush couldn't even seem to locate old one-eyed Mullah Omar of the Taliban. Now that Junior Bush has poked his finger into the eye of the rest of the world, it will be much harder for us to expect its cooperation in finding and fighting the real terrorists. The world was with us after September 11th. Thanks to Bullyboy Bush, a huge portion of the world is now actually hoping we will get hit again!
Cowboys are fiercely loyal to their compadres... especially one who stood at his side in his very first fight. If that friend later gave advice, the cowboy would darned sure listen intently. Before launching his war against Iraq, George W. Bush had no qualms about casting aside the friendship and dismissing the concerns of France, George Washington's one and only foreign ally in the Revolutionary War.
Cowboys aren't vigilantes and they never shoot first... especially at a trumped-up enemy that had never truly threatened them. The "Bush Doctrine" of "pre-emptive strike" shoots first, asks questions later... and runs roughshod over international law, treaties, unions and alliances. It is vigilantism taken to a global extreme. Even as an America full of brainwashed "patriots" cheers this vanquishing of the varmints, the world and true American patriots are uneasy. The USA has not always gracefully avoided throwing its weight around... but this is truly a new era of America as world bully!
Cowboys don't torture! They have a word for those that do: "villain", and a place for them: "hell". The facts are in: the Bush administration has condoned the use of torture. This shameful stain will be upon the American fabric for generations, and it was put there by corporate pirates like George W. Bush, not any cowboy.
So you see, people are very confused who compare George W. Bush to a cowboy. The one and only American president who came close to being a real cowboy was Teddy Roosevelt, who tried his hand for awhile at ridin' and ropin' and ranchin' in the real Old West. Like George Bush, he was a Republican. Of course, they threw him out of the party as quickly as they could once he started fiddlin' around with reforms that favored the common man over the rich industrialists, and doing crazy things like putting aside vast swaths of land for national parks and forests, and passing laws that protected animals and their habitats. No true conservative could stand for that!
George W. Bush is a true Republican, but he sure ain't no cowboy. Come to think of it, though, he would fit right into one of those cheesy old Westerns. Smirking George W. Bush is like the rich, powerful land-owner, who along with his gang of toughs has the whole town cowed or brainwashed, the sheriff on his payroll, and is determined to buy out, take over and/or steal all the rest of the good land in the territory.
Where's Shane when we need him?