Uniquely American

The following is an exchange at a public appearance by then-President George W. Bush on Feb. 4, 2005 in Omaha, NE:

WOMAN: I work three jobs, and I feel like I contribute.
BUSH: You work three jobs?
WOMAN: Three jobs. Yes.
BUSH: Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.

From what I remember, a lot of people at the time pointed to this as a demonstration of how out-of-touch Bush was with most of America. A rich daddy’s boy who’s never really worked a day in his life. The same kind of attacks Romney is getting now, with his $10,000 bets and that his speaking fees (worth over $400k) “aren’t very much”.  And I agree, that the above obliviousness on Bush’s part to that woman’s toils speaks to a disconnect.

But I always saw something else in it, something that reinforced my belief that Bush never wanted to be president.  He had no interest in it.  His platform in 2000 was two things: tax cuts, and Clinton’s blowjob lost the office its integrity.  He was famously incurious about any number of things, because he didn’t want to be there.

And so, when I hear his “uniquely American” comment regarding a poor woman who has to work three jobs to support herself, I immediately imagine a scene, in which his advisors are saying, “Mr President, we need to create more jobs.  More jobs is a good thing.”  And so Bush thinks, simply, “jobs = good things”.  When he hears that one person has three of a “good thing”, it sounds fantastic to him.  As if she had three puppies, or three gold bars.  Sure, his disconnect from the lower classes reinforces this, but I believe the origin is his lack of desire to do anything, let alone lead the country for eight long years.  Since he’s left office, he hasn’t done much.  Carter worked for global peace and won a Nobel prize. Bush’s dad paired with Clinton to help the Katrina and tsunami victims. Clinton started his Clinton Global Initiative.  Bush has been most visible sitting next to Nolan Ryan at the World Series.

This argument can spin off into multiple tangents: that his disinterest allowed others to effectively “rule” under him without any real oversight, that his complete lack of real policy convictions led to anemic job growth and the recession, etc…  But I bring it up because I see some of it in the GOP nominating process today.

Why do these guys want to be president? I mentioned here earlier in the race that many of the GOP candidates for president have books for sale. Indeed, Gingrich is still doing book signings. Cain has no doubt secured himself much future employment as a talking head/pundit/speaker from his brief run, a la Palin.  Add to that the disdain for government that has become such a hot GOP talking point.  And to that, what are the two themes they all seem to be running on: tax cuts, and restore the integrity to the office (because Obama is an anti-American, Kenyan, socialist dictator).

At least when the whole Obama/Hillary fight was going on in 2008, it felt like they both wanted to be president. With this current GOP field, they want the power simply to have it. That they’re disconnected with the reality of most American’s current plight is partly because these rich guys have had it so good for so long, yes.  But it’s also because they don’t have any real desire to govern - which requires knowledge of what needs governing; they just want the office.

The press doesn’t help, of course.  They’re too busy covering the horse race (and lapping up all the advertising dollars these countless debates are creating) to actually look and see if any of the horses actually want to win this race, and what they’ll do if/when they do.

So when I hear Romney or Gingrich say something that’s ridiculously out-of-touch, what I think about first is that bored president of ours, who a few years back congratulated a woman in Omaha for having three jobs, because he didn’t care enough to understand what those numbers mean to actual people.

Newt: Diddlin’ is LEADERSHIP!

The following “analysis" by "Doctor" Keith Ablow on Fox "News" is dripping with unbelievable desperation and pretzeling. 

To start, the article is called “Newt Gingrich’s three marriages mean he might make a strong president - really”.  I have to imagine the “really” was forced on there by the editors, who thought this was pretty ridiculous, even for Fox News.  Then:

1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.

2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married. 

3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible. 

Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.

4) Two women—Mr. Gingrich’s first two wives—have sat down with him while he delivered to them incredibly painful truths: that he no longer loved them as he did before, that he had fallen in love with other women and that he needed to follow his heart, despite the great price he would pay financially and the risk he would be taking with his reputation.

So the “conclusion” by this “doctor” is that because three different women wanted to bone Newt, that means he’d make so great a president we’d want him for twelve years, not just eight. It’d be funny if it wasn’t, you know, actually deemed post-worthy by a major news outlet.

Here’s his gripping final paragraph:

So, as far as I can tell, judging from the psychological data, we have only one real risk to America from his marital history if Newt Gingrich were to become president: We would need to worry that another nation, perhaps a little younger than ours, would be so taken by Mr. Gingrich that it would seduce him into marrying it and becoming its president.

"…judging from the psychological data"?!?!?!?!?!  Fuck you, "Doc".

"The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in ‘94."

Newt Gingrich, “blasting” Romney in last night’s debate.  How does no one point out that the only reason Gingrich didn’t become a career politician is that he was found guilty of ethics violations by his own party, becoming so unpopular among his own that they tried to unseat him as Speaker.  He resigned completely from politics in ‘98, referring to the Republicans in the House as “cannibals”.

Personally, I’d rather lose to Ted Kennedy.

Continuing the previous post…   Here are some books available for purchase:
Rick Perry’s was released November 15, 2010.  He formally announced his running for President on August 13, 2011.  Two days later, speaking at an event in Iowa: “I know there’s probably a few of you in here who have not read my book Fed Up. But I talk about the intrusion into our lives by the federal government in a host of different areas”
Mitt Romney’s was released February 1, 2011.  He formally announced his run on June 2, 2011.  At the September 22nd debate, Romney said: “I believe that the people of this country can read my book and see exactly what [my view on health care] is.”
Newt Gingrich’s was released June 13, 2011.  He formally announced his run on May 11, 2011.  He speaks at an Iowa GOP dinner tonight, and is pleased to let you know that “Newt and Callista will hold a book signing afterwards at 8:30pm.”
Herman Cain’s was released October 4, 2011.  He formally announced his run on May 21, 2011.  From the mouth of Cain in early October: “…this book tour not only is going to help promote books, but [it will]  get my name ID up. So when people criticize me for being off the  campaign trail, that criticism doesn’t hold water. I’ve got to get my  name ID up, and this is one of the ways to do it.”
Michele Bachmann’s book will be coming out November 21st, just weeks away!!  And she would like supporters to know that with a $75 donation to her campaign, they’ll get an autographed copy of her book!  For $125, it’ll be a personalized autograph!  Isn’t it fun that there’s a post-script that says exactly what the actual email says?  Double-down!
Just saying.

Continuing the previous post…   Here are some books available for purchase:

Rick Perry’s was released November 15, 2010.  He formally announced his running for President on August 13, 2011.  Two days later, speaking at an event in Iowa: “I know there’s probably a few of you in here who have not read my book Fed Up. But I talk about the intrusion into our lives by the federal government in a host of different areas”

Mitt Romney’s was released February 1, 2011.  He formally announced his run on June 2, 2011.  At the September 22nd debate, Romney said: “I believe that the people of this country can read my book and see exactly what [my view on health care] is.”

Newt Gingrich’s was released June 13, 2011.  He formally announced his run on May 11, 2011.  He speaks at an Iowa GOP dinner tonight, and is pleased to let you know that “Newt and Callista will hold a book signing afterwards at 8:30pm.”

Herman Cain’s was released October 4, 2011.  He formally announced his run on May 21, 2011.  From the mouth of Cain in early October: “…this book tour not only is going to help promote books, but [it will] get my name ID up. So when people criticize me for being off the campaign trail, that criticism doesn’t hold water. I’ve got to get my name ID up, and this is one of the ways to do it.”

Michele Bachmann’s book will be coming out November 21st, just weeks away!!  And she would like supporters to know that with a $75 donation to her campaign, they’ll get an autographed copy of her book!  For $125, it’ll be a personalized autograph!  Isn’t it fun that there’s a post-script that says exactly what the actual email says?  Double-down!

Just saying.

"I think the people who are protesting in Wall Street break into two groups: one is left-wing agitators who would be happy to show up next week on any other topic, and the other is sincere middle-class people who frankly are very close to the Tea Party people who care. And actually…you can tell which are which. The people who are decent, responsible citizens pick up after themselves. The people who are just out there as activists trash the place and walk off and are proud of having trashed it, so let’s draw that distinction."

Newt Gingrich, in last night’s debate.

Always good to hear that a man vying to lead a country of 300 million individuals finds such comfort in easy, divisive generalizations.