Graceful, Gallant, Genteel President George W. Bush

Letterman ‘Top Ten George W. Bush Moments’ Correspondents Dinner

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

They say truth is funnier than fiction.  For me, it always has been.  I do not enjoy slap-stick.  It seems so contrived.  Snide, rude, and crude remarks leave me cold.  I am forever thinking about my Karma.  Hurting another, particularly just for a laugh is not my style.  Teasing, I believe says more about the person taunting than the object of their attention.  Irony is interesting.  Political satire can be sensational, however, if a slight is slanderous I am not amused. 

Last evening, at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner David Letterman delivered another of his famous Top Ten Lists.  No words were said.  Letterman let the tape roll.  The images speak for themselves.

I too have nothing to say.  Please sit back in your chair, relax, and enjoy.  If your reaction to this visual recording is as mine was, grab the tissues.  Tears of delight will soon flow. Feel free to share your thoughts after viewing our graceful, gallant, and genteel President, George W. Bush.

It is a new day and I realize, perhaps, I do have a thought or two to share.

After receiving comments at My Left Wing, I realized I do have a thought to add.  lawnorder  stated . . .

Ugh… I feel being taken for a ride.

I wish to share my response for your reflection. I am expanding the comment.  I think the additional background will better explain my thoughts.

The long and trying ride

Dear lawnorder  . . .

Oh, I have felt that since before William Rehnquist selected George W. Bush President.  Study this chap’s history and it is so obvious.  He was groomed for all that he wrought.  I truly believe his Presidency was planned for years.  Slowly, all was put in place

George W. Bush: Easy to underestimate
By The Associated Press 
June 8, 2000

His speeches are sure to be sound Republican doctrine, the campaign trimmings just right for whatever the occasion. And yet there is a hint of irreverence to George W. Bush.

The two-term Texas governor, the multimillionaire businessman, the son who would follow his father’s footsteps to the Oval Office is single-minded in his quest – but never ”too serious,” in the words of wife, Laura.

If that leads some people to underestimate him, all the better, says Bush.

Over the past 25 years, he has transformed modest oil-business profits into an eye-popping $15 million payoff on his ownership of the Texas Rangers baseball team. And his high-profile baseball niche – along with that famous Bush name – stood him in good stead as he defeated popular Democratic incumbent Ann Richards for the Texas governor’s seat in 1994.

Now 53 and midway through his second term, Bush offers himself as a governor who has gotten results and the man to restore ”honor and dignity” to the post-Clinton White House.

Serious talk for the man known as ”life of the party” since his frat-boy days at Yale. And from a man whose critics question whether he has the intelligence to be president.

”I’ve got confidence in my capabilities,” Bush retorts. ”I love to be underestimated.”

After his graduation from Yale came a stint in the Texas Air National Guard. No Vietnam. He recalls it as a ”nomadic period” in which he tried to ”reconcile who I was and who my dad was, to establish my own identity in my own way.” After a series of jobs, Bush went east to claim an MBA from Harvard. Then it was back to Texas, a 29-year-old looking to find his way and his fortune.

The fumbling and bumbling endears him [the President] to the common man.  For me, the final moment, the top of the ten, when George for the first time in this clip did not have a childish look on face, but was stern, he spit . . . on American soil.  That was the real George revealed.

Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush
By Ron Suskind
New York Times.
Published: October 17, 2004

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that ”if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.” The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it?  Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.

”Just in the past few months,” Bartlett said, ”I think a light has gone off for people who’ve spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he’s always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.” Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush’s governance, went on to say: ”This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can’t be persuaded, that they’re extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he’s just like them. . . .

”This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,” Bartlett went on to say. ”He truly believes he’s on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.” Bartlett paused, then said, ”But you can’t run the world on faith.”

George W. Bush is a man of faith, blind faith.  He expects the same from his constituent and Cabinet.

[In] the first presidential debate, many Americans heard the discursive John Kerry succinctly raise, for the first time, the issue of Bush’s certainty — the issue being, as Kerry put it, that ”you can be certain and be wrong.”

What underlies Bush’s certainty? And can it be assessed in the temporal realm of informed consent?

All of this — the ”gut” and ”instincts,” the certainty and religiosity -connects to a single word, ”faith,” and faith asserts its hold ever more on debates in this country and abroad. That a deep Christian faith illuminated the personal journey of George W. Bush is common knowledge.

But faith has also shaped his presidency in profound, nonreligious ways. The president has demanded unquestioning faith from his followers, his staff, his senior aides, and his kindred in the Republican Party. Once he makes a decision — often swiftly, based on a creed or moral position — he expects complete faith in its rightness.

The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions.  Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush’s intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now. A writ of infallibility — a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains — is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House. 

As Whitman told me on the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: ”In meetings, I’d ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!”  (Whitman, whose faith in Bush has since been renewed, denies making these remarks and is now a leader of the president’s re-election effort in New Jersey.)


For me, the film is funny in that it is so sad.  This presentation is not a funny [ha-ha].  It is droll, for this is our nation’s leader.  It makes sense.  We, as a country are academically far beyond other nations.

Results of the General Knowledge Assessments
When we look at the results, we see that the U.S. was among the lowest performing countries on both the mathematics and science general knowledge assessments. U.S. performance was below the international average in both mathematics and science. In mathematics we were outperformed by 14 out of 20 countries, were similar to four countries, and outperformed two countries. In science we were outperformed by 11 countries, were similar to seven, and outperformed the same two countries. This relatively low U.S. performance is not a change from patterns of previous international assessments at this grade level.

  It seems reasonable a buffoon [someone that amuses others by clowning] would be our Commander-In-Chief.

Please assess this presentation for yourself.  I have no desire to be “right” or correct.  I only wish to share how what passes for satire is often so sad; it bring me to tears.  Perhaps my pleasure in viewing this video relates to the proverb . . .

For those who think, life is a comedy.
For those who feel, life is a tragedy.

  ~ Horace Walpole [Father of Gothic Novels, Member of Parliament]

  • Gore v. Bush. Supreme court of the United States of America.  December 12, 2000
  • George W. Bush: Easy to underestimate. By The Associated Press.  USA Today. June 8, 2000
  • Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush, By Ron Suskind.  The New York Times. October 17, 2000
  • The Release of U.S. Report on Grade 12 Results From the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)?February 24, 1998