A beer in the hand is worth two with Bush

| Staff Columnist

Let’s just say that after the week I’ve had, I almost wouldn’t mind having a beer with George W. Bush. With impending finals and thesis chapter drafts and actual cold weather, it might be nice to sit down with the previous POTUS and have a life chat. I think he’d be a fan of useless memorabilia, so we might head over to Blueberry Hill to ogle some old Barbies. He would probably be impressed with my readiness to show my legal identification at the door, given his long and valued familial history of underage drinking—even if the anemic-looking bouncer always scrutinizes the D.C. variety a little too closely. We’d sidle up to the bar and ask those hipster bartenders for one Blue Moon with extra orange and an O’Douls, pardner. We might even bring along a picture of Kanye for some dart practice. And at the end of the evening, his Southern manners and oil millions might make him insist on footing the tab, but I wouldn’t sacrifice my values. I’d look him square in the squinty eye, then casually slap down a fiver and say, “Mr. President, it’s been nice and all, but I think we should go bipartisan on this one.”

And that’s because the truth is that Dubya nearly had me for a second there. There he was all over TV last week, talking about his book, acting vulnerable on Matt Lauer and nervously fiddling with his hands, and I thought, “Hey, maybe this guy wasn’t so bad after all. Not the brightest bulb, but relatively sane.” I mean, at least he wasn’t advocating for the abolishment of the Department of Education or denying witchy tendencies. And then I remembered his eight years of presidency. So while Bush has been popping up everywhere, spreading his special brand of Texan charm all over the media and chortling a lot, I’ve been thinking back to a not-so-distant land of two years ago.

We all know that it’s hard to be president. And when a national figure, however ideologically loathsome you might find him, graces late-night television with hangdog looks of regret and teary sighs, it’s difficult not to feel some measure of sympathy. But let’s not forget that however artfully worded and cloaked in romantic rhetoric Bush’s memoir may be, there remains the cold, hard legacy of his presidency. The war in Iraq. Sept. 11. Guantanamo Bay. The economic recession. Waterboarding. Hurricane Katrina. In his eight years in office, Bush succeeded not only in isolating over half of the American public but almost all of the international community with an arrogant foreign policy of bilateralism and “nation-building.” So before we get nostalgic over a head of state who notoriously seemed to spend more time out of the White House than in, let’s take a kinder look at those on either side of the aisle who are working to clean up the messes of a president more notorious for his incompetence than anything else.

Fool me once, Bush, shame on you. But fool me twice, and we’ll see if I ever invite you out for a beer again.

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