Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who is Bush?

I would like to start with something positive about our current President Bush, but I haven't come up with anything yet. Let me see if I can as I write.

On a personal level, I don't know who the man is. He claims he's a cowboy, others call him that, but is he? He was born to a wealthy, very political, blue-blood family. He was raised in the oil country of Texas and back East. When he debated Ann Richards for governor of Texas, he had no drawl. He acquired it, I guess, about the time he acquired a ranch as a way to present himself as a cowboy-- you know the kind with no horses or cows but who wears boots, drives around in a pick-up, cuts down brush that likely doesn't need cutting, the wantabe cowboy type. Maybe his handlers saw the image worked for Ronald Reagan, who happened to be the real deal.

Image is everything in the political world and what really lies behind it often is not of interest to anyone. Image is to make the rest of us feel good.

Much as I might like to, I can't say Bush is stupid or evil; nor on the other side can I say he's good or intelligent. All I know about him as a person is through mannerisms, his policy decisions, and speeches which are mostly written for him by others. Not knowing much about his personality other than mannerisms and hearsay, it's difficult to make assessments as to character. Not to mention when you dislike someone's policies as much as I do his, it's hard to separate the man out from his actions.

Whether it's Bush or those behind him, somebody in that administration is ruthless. Is that how he defines being powerful? Running for office, he didn't mind using character assassination to gain power. He is the man who has not only condoned torture but fights to continue to have the right to do it without having to prove a need or whether it has even worked. Is this a wantabe he-man type without understanding what real power is all about?

Does Bush understand his various policy positions or is there someone telling him what to think? Does it happen in the same way as when he tells reporters he doesn't need to read the newspapers because someone tells him what they say? Does he choose books to read that are part of our past history because someone doesn't want to confuse him with current books about the real problems we are facing?

For that matter if he really read 60 books already this year, not to mention all of those hours of exercising, how does he get his job done? Has anybody here, retired or not, had time to read 60 books in 9 months as he claimed he had done in one interview? Does this end up being busy work to keep him occupied-- so he doesn't get in the way of the important things being done by the big people? Or were those Cliff Notes he read? Is it more of the image of what he'd like to think he was but doesn't want to go to the work of really being? I can't say that's true. Can't say it's not, but it does make me wonder.

Being a good politician is important to get in office, but what kind of a leader has he been once he got there? For that matter regarding those who see him as such a shrewd politician, remember some also have seen him also as a good businessman. We know he failed in his oil business (during what was admittedly a hard time for oil) and instead made his money through becoming a governor and being in a position to increase the worth and his personal percentage of that sports franchise through a stadium the government helped build. All these opportunities came through family connections. I guess government pork projects are okay when you profit from them.

As for his military career, this gung ho to send our troops into war, who makes himself sound like he's such a tough guy, avoided going to combat himself by pulling family strings. Many avoided combat back then, but the difference is he now acts as though he did go to war. On that aircraft carrier (a carefully staged event), he strode around like the war hero president from the movie Independence Day. Is this like the wantabe cowboy? A wantabe war hero? All without having to do anything real to acquire it-- just the image.

When we ourselves have avoided war, an introspective person wouldn't even want to bring up their military service. But Bush would be the last person to say he was introspective or that he knows why he does much of anything. He just feels it's right, or does someone else tell him what is? Who really knows.

Since he got into office, where he speaks and who gets to hear him in person has been carefully monitored-- almost always crowds that agree with his stance, partisan groups. He can say all he wants about uniting our country, but he has gone out of his way from the start to be the president to a limited sector.

Not long after he was elected the first time, he flew into Oregon to survey fire damage. He came as the president of this nation, and spoke at the local fairgrounds. My kids live nearby and wanted their children to see their president. My kids are professionals, good citizens, and work in civic groups but that wasn't good enough. To get a ticket to hear the president, you had to be on the Republican list.

Since he was elected, he has been traveling around the country constantly. It's not for town hall meetings. It's not to speak to the citizens of this nation-- except through sound bites for the evening news. His purpose has always been to raise money for his party and himself.

Because Bush is not up for election again, some might see this whole piece on him was pointless, but it's his party who is. It is him who is out all the time gathering money for Republicans to win this November. He knows if they do, he can continue on his reckless path because Republicans, whether they call themselves moderates or not, fall in lockstep with the Bush agenda--- more coming regarding that and the recent torture bill.

The only way to stop Bush, if you do not respect where he's taking this country, is stop the Republicans come November.

When I tried to decide what kind of photograph could I use to illustrate this blog, I was stymied. An empty suit, a mask, the invisible man? Maybe a garbage dump for his attitude toward the environment. I finally decided the ruins at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, would say what is going on best.

Chaco was a spiritual and maybe even government center for the Anasazi people who built proud cities and developed quite a culture-- for awhile. Something went wrong in their environment and maybe their culture which forced them to abandon this site and head south. These empty holes should remind us to take nothing for granted in terms of what we believe we have. Bush is not a man to worry his head about such things which is why the rest of us better.


Dick said...

It kind of makes you wonder what his legacy will be, doesn't it? I don't think he will like it.

Alan G said...

My greatest fear is that we have may not yet seen the worst of his bungling and irresponsible leadership. With over two-years left in office and other serious situations existing such as with Iran and North Korea, I sometimes shudder to think what the situation will be in our country before we get to January of 2009.

Mary Lou said...

Just checking in!! see you in November! ;)

Winston said...

Great piece, Rain...

You summarized the shadow of a wannabe man as well as I have ever seen it done. And your bottom line analysis and conclusion are dead-on ... it's the party. I have always felt he was chosen as a harmless puppet with a craving for power but no way to achieve it. The result was someone who would do the devil's work and never question it...

Brigitte said...

Thank you very much. Over here we don't know very much about American politics, just see the results. Since Bush was elected President we all wondered about this image of a simple cowboy which he showed knowing at the same time that this has to be some sort of mask.
Thanks again for your analysis!

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