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One of the advantages of being Pook is that I have access to those who have been around my nation’s ‘leaders.’ Think of Chaucer who got stuck between the high political class and the rest of us peasants. It has always been in my family history for my ancestors to be “serving” the noble class in some capacity. I have a direct ancestor even as far back that was a ‘sheriff’ in London centuries ago serving some English King (forgot which one). Since Bush and most of the current administration has come from Texas (not just Texas but my local county), everyone I seem to know has had direct contact with these guys.
Bush is not a conservative. He is a moderate but with some conservative leanings. For the conservatives in the Republican Party, they only care about what is referred to as “the three” big issues: foreign policy, tax cuts, and the Supreme Court. Since Bush goes with those, the party generally supports him. With those who really despise Bush, I wonder what would happen when a real conservative gets into the White House. Do they realize that Newt Gingrich is the currently leading among the base in the primaries for 2008? It is still way early but I am curious what would happen if a very ideological conservative came around, how would the Democrat Party act?
Anyway, people tell me that Bush acts nothing at all on TV as he does in person. In person, he is very articulate, very charming, and…as someone described…”robust.” Naturally, I ask, “Then why does he just blink into the camera and not talk very well?” And the answer I got was: “Pook, there are two reasons. First, not everyone is good at being personable toward a camera. Take these famous writers. They are brilliant but in front of a television camera they sound like idiots. They just aren’t used to cameras. Whereas a Hollywood actor can respond very well with the camera yet, they are often the biggest doofuses. Bush is a people person. He becomes animated around people, not cameras.” Then he reminded me, “Remember the debates with Kerry? In the Second Debate with the Town Hall, you can clearly see Bush becoming animated and trying to connect with each person talking. He connects with people, not cameras.” So, what about that second reason? “Remember that kid in class who always had the right answer for everything?
You wanted to slap that kid. In politics, one must remember perception. Bush can go around swatting answers at anything but it usually doesn’t look presidential.” His latest press conference in the Rose Garden certainly illustrated that.
Bush actually prefers to be underestimated. “That is his strategy,” one person told me. “He wants people to think of him as a doofus.” Ann Richards, that feminist governor of Texas who recently died, wrote off Bush when he first ran for governor. Gore and Kerry both did later. Even today people underestimate his political abilities. I was told that is just as he wants it. “That is what works for him,” one said.
The personality of Bush is that he is extraordinarily competitive. If you played a Ping Pong game with him, for example, he would try to win. His focus is winning on anything he does. (This isn’t surprising to me as any successful person in anything usually seems to have this mentality. Tiger Woods even admitted that if he played checkers or something, his goal would be to win.)
One unique thing about Bush that differs from other politicians is that he is extremely focused on voting records, demographics, and statistics. Usually, the candidate hasn’t a clue of this and the campaign manager deals with this. When Bush would go campaign in, say, New Mexico, he knew the voting records for each county. Karl Rove is apparently a walking encyclopedia on this stuff and much of it must have rubbed off on Bush.
Bush is said to be one of the most ‘charming.’ (Not a surprise for a mega-politician). Much of the charm is suspected of being Machiavellian. For example, when Bush was first president, he and his wife would roll in a birthday cake for Senator Ted Kennedy (and invite him to watch movies). Stuff like this worked in Texas probably since there isn’t much to be partisan about down here. But in Washington, this “new tone” never really took off. The “new tone” was Bush’s idea that he could charm everyone on Capitol Hill.
Bush is a fanatical book reader. He loves reading biographies. In fact, I suspect the way he acts is how he thinks he will be remembered his future ‘biographies’ (after all, when you are president, people are going to write biographies on you regardless).
Al Gore speaks better Spanish than Bush does. However, Gore learned his Spanish at Harvard. He speaks the text-book Spanish. Bush learned Spanish at the oil rigs in Texas so his Spanish is “off” but it has the Texas/Mexican slang and nuances in it. This is why during the 2000 campaign, Hispanics preferred Bush’s Spanish to Al Gore’s.
Bush will do anything to win. To those who don’t remember, recall Tom Daschle and the opposition in the first term. What Bush deliberately did was take away Daschle’s political issues. Campaign Finance Reform? Bush signed it. Pills and Medicare? Bush signed that, irking all his Republicans. What happened is that by signing practically everything Daschle was supporting, what could Daschle run on? This is why after the election of 2004, Daschle, the Democrat Party Leader in the Senate, was voted out of office (which hadn’t happened to a party leader since 1952, fifty four years ago!). Bush is addicted to winning. This is why now, during an election year, we are suddenly seeing Bush become feisty with the press.
As governor, Bush was very different than he is today. He always joked around. He had afternoon naps in Austin. Either due to the presidency or to 9/11, it’s been said he now lacks that ‘jovial’ attitude he once had.
How did Bush get to the governorship? The South in America has been called the “Solid South” for one reason: it has been universally Democrat. Ever since the Civil War, Lincoln was a Republican and the Confederacy were Democrats back then. After the Civil War, so much resentment was built up that the South was solidly Democrat up until 1994. In 1994 was the so- called Republican Revolution which the South swung Republican and took over both the House and Senate. Bush rode the 1994 conservative wave as did his brother, Jeb, in Florida.
How did Bush get ‘anointed’ as the presidential candidate by the Republican Party? There are two Presidential campaigns; there is the official public one we all know. But there is a hidden one within the party. Not anyone is going to become a presidential candidate. The party will see if you have the wits to do it, and, most importantly, if you can win. In Bush, they saw the name recognition that his father had. Bush was no stranger to politics or political campaigns as he used to hang out at the White House during the Reagan and the first Bush Administrations. But most importantly, they saw his election results in Texas. The first election against Ann Richards was fine for a political upstart, 52% against 48%. But he grew the gap considerably in the second election. What most attracted the Republican Party to give Bush the presidential nod was that the party saw Bush attracted Hispanic votes (as well as some black votes). Bush also did very well with women. With attracting a wide variety of demographics, they saw Bush as a safe choice.
What more is there to say about him? These are all things that have been told to me. I have never met Bush. I have met Governor Perry (who was Lieutenant Governor when Bush was the Governor. Perry took over when Bush became President). One thing about Perry is that he has to be gay. He acts like such a pretty boy. When saying the Pledge of Allegiance, I scanned everyone and what was Perry doing during the pledge? He was touching up his hair like a girl. …Very strange.
One last thing, Bush’s ranch in Texas is a prop. He probably does enjoy such a ranch as it is very different from the White House. But it is a campaign prop. He bought it for the Presidential election. Watch him sell it when he steps down as President. He’ll probably end up living in an apartment in Dallas. (What!? Why are you surprised? Bush will do anything to win… even buy a ranch in the middle of the boonies.)