I couldn’t agree more with mistermix’s post on the “decency” of Laura Bush. I haven’t read Laura Bush’s book and I don’t plan to but it sure sounds like it’s chock full of standard political bullshit:
There are a few crumbs of political interest strewn along the way: The usually charitable Mrs. Bush chastises the Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for their “nasty personal criticisms of George,” and she writes that she has often wondered if Jacques Chirac of France or Gerhard Schröder of Germany “could have done more” to prevent the Iraq war, “if one of them could have persuaded Saddam to go into exile, if they could have conveyed that the United States was not bluffing.”
For the most part, however, the White House portions of this book feel carefully prepared and vetted: Mrs. Bush lays out a predictable defense of her husband’s decision to invade Iraq and his decision not to visit New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, and she offers only the blandest portraits of administration figures like Dick Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld and Karl Rove. In these chapters there is no daylight between Laura Bush and her highly groomed role as first lady.
It’s hard to measure the political value of snookering rubes (EDIT: sorry, I’ve been reading DailyHowler again) with the “decency” shtick, but Mark Halperin counted the continuing popularity of Laura Bush as one of the five biggest political achievements of our era, so there’s a full-fledged Village meme that it did have value. I think “achievement” is the right word here — we’re talking about a manufactured image designed to take in the gullible and childish.
Wait, it’s Germany and France’s fault we destroyed a nation, strengthened Iran, and have been essentially pouring money into a hole for years? Stay classy, Laura.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
Laura Bush didn’t really do anything. I remember her being interested in the plight of the people of Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi but other than that she was pretty boring and non-controversial.
IIRC there were rumors that, in fact, Saddam and his sons had offered to go “into exile” but that those offers were ignored, or rebuffed. Isn’t this just another example of right wing “they made me do it” transformation of the bully into the victim? I mean, now we are to believe on the strength of the [insert unnammable drug name here] queen’s musings that the war is the fault of Jacques Chirac and Saddam Hussein and not the actual people who, you know, launched the war?
I haven’t got the least interest in the rehabilitation of the “First Enabler” and her pet boy king.
Stepford First Lady still at it, I see. TBogg had a good post on it yesterday (as mentioned in a previous thread). She looked stoned to the gills every time I saw her, but maybe that was just a coma induced by trying not to listen to W.
Laura Bush’s greatest achievement IMHO is starting the annual Book Festival in Austin. On the national level, I can’t think of one thing she did. Laura never seemed comfortable as First Lady.
Sorry, I never liked Laura Bush. She always struck me in the same way Huckabee strikes me: all folksy and warm and benign, until you do something to piss them off, and then the mask slips off.
Just a gut feeling, but I always felt that somewhere deep inside she had a mean streak a mile wide. In the mold of Barbara Bush, but just better at keeping her mouth shut.
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at this use of Johnny Rotten’s most famous(probably) utterance. Speaking of which, where is today’s Sex Pistols? Or The Clash? In other words, the musical version of the torches and pitchforks brigade.
Oy. I hereby take back anything positive I ever said about Halperin. I’ll just note, as a sorta, kinda potential counterargument, that Laura Bush’s political achievements add up to precisely zero. Nil, nada, zilch, nothing.
Pistols reference, nice.
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@jacy: All you need to do is look at the aforementioned TBogg post. Her actions after her car accident tell you all you need to know about her.
Laura Bush always seemed like the Queen of all Stepford wives.
@Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:
There is nothing like that today. There is political stuff, but nothing that breaks through that is critical and damning in the way early punk was.
Apparently a hotel in Germany is pissed off because Bush claims in her book that the hotel poisoned them even though the doctors said the delegation caught a virus.
Paranoid much, Laura?
Halperin’s list of greatest political achievements may possible be the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. And it takes some brass balls to blame Chirac and Schroder for not doing more to prevent a war your stupid husband started. That’s like blaming Sweden for not stopping either world war.
OT-according to Slate, I’m a person who gets most of my news from conservative sites, mainly because I’ve clicked links that have sent me to Townhall and Human Events. It is interesting to see what they rate as conservative or not; I was surprised that Gallup was 75% conservative.
why would anyone want to waste their time thinking about Laura Bush ?
I’ve always had the notion that George and Laura felt that the presidency was their birthright. There is an arrogance about her that really pisses me off. Its like ” yeah we fucked the country up good, but how dare you criticize us”. Seriously, fuck her.
@DougJ: No one is doing what Public Enemy, NWA, et al., did either.
Wait, is this good news for John McCain?
ETA: There is no way I’m getting out of the boat for that kind of stupid. Mark S. has spared me! huzzah!
Bill E Pilgrim
That’s one of the most astonishing statements I’ve ever come across.
Not wondering for a moment if there’s anything that anyone could have done to persuade Bush not to invade, since he was the one who, you know, invaded.
It reminds me of the classic enabler for a violent partner, saying “Look, you don’t know how he gets, just get him out of here” while pointing to the potential victim, some guy who looked at her husband the wrong way in a bar.
Yes, gosh, it really was the fault of the French all along, I knew it. They really had the responsibility to protect the world from the belligerence of George W Bush, and failed.
@asiangrrlMN: Stepford wife, indeed.
The perfect Southern Wife adopts her husband’s view of reality and does not entertain any other views.
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.
Do you really find her warm and folksy? The one redeeming characteristic of Laura Bush to me is that she openly looks like she doesn’t give two shits about anything and just floats by from day to day, which is about how I imagine I would act if I had been sucked up into the Bush Family vortex of Fail and wanted desperately not to feel that scummy guilt all over me.
@cleek: Right? To quote her mother-in-law, I don’t need to waste my beautiful mind on that sort of thing.
I agree with russell from the last thread.
She seems like a nice lady. She probably is a nice lady… But that’s the problem: she knew better than to invade Iraq, or bash teh ghey, but since she’s “nice” (a doormat, in other words), she didn’t have the guts to stop her idiot husband.
ANOTHER post about Laura Bush and her book? Have we now exhausted ALL topics as to which any rational person in their right mind gives a shit? Or is it that Sully said something about this that makes it important?
Whatevah……personally I’d rather dish about Oprah’s interview of the John Edwards floozy.
Could have done more to prevent the Iraq war. Is she really under the illusion that the Iraq war could have been prevented? Outside of poisoning Wolfowitz, Cheney, & Perle, & making it look like an accident? Jesus Mary and Joseph, we are The Dumb Country. We must be dumber than fuçking Yemen.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
The news of these memoirs has Letterman loading up all his old Bush clips and jokes. They still work.
Rats, R-Jud beat me to the beautiful mind reference.
I personally don’t find her warm and folksy, just as I don’t find Huckabee warm and folksy, but I bet there are boatloads of people out there who do.
I always found her creepy and off-putting, like something walking around in a human suit.
@Bill E Pilgrim:
I remember a political cartoon when Saddam was found in his rat hole that had GWB at a desk with Saddam’s picture in the back ground. GWB was saying, “Today, I have settled all family business.”
I know you’re not questioning this but nothing was going to stop him.
@Stooleo: Hmm. I hear her struggling not to say, “you don’t understand, he’s a doofus in way over his head and doesn’t know any better.” Not “He’s doing the right thing,” but “Bless his heart, he’s just not that bright.” I think she’s defensive about Dubsy _as a guy_ rather than as a president, because she thinks of him as a slacker fuckup. She goes through the motions of defending his public acts, but it’s pretty mechanical, it seems to me.
Mike in NC
Cannot fathom who’d even want to read her book outside of some blue-haired Republican Ladies Auxiliary groups.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@R-Jud: One reason to pay attention is the inevitable softball interviews– Oprah, The View, all Fox programs. Meet the Press? Not too much of a stretch.
Say what you want about Laura Bush, at least she’s not uppity like Michelle.
@Mike in NC: This.
I suppose that Laura Bush waded into the political waters in defending her husband’s presidency, but still, there isn’t much point in bashing her.
Do you really expect her to criticize her husband?
Except for Hillary Clinton, who was co-president, the role of First Lady ain’t either elective or constitutional.
You like her. You don’t like her. The rest is commentary.
I have NEVER understood the appeal, even among liberals, of Laura Bush. She was as empty a first lady as their ever was. Not stylish, not interesting, not… anything, really, other than the wife of a dumb jerk who happened to end up being president.
I always thought of her as a perfectly anodyne and meaningless person – a sort of typical petty bourgeoisie housewife whose main interests are her husband, kids, and book club, and not necessarily in that order. The descriptions I’m reading of the book have done nothing to change that, except that they’ve strongly suggested that she identifies strongly with her husband, shares his delusions, and believes his nonsense. Perfectly understandable – in a way, perhaps even admirable for someone to so support their spouse – but not something that speaks well of her judgement.
Since she basically spent eight years keeping quiet except to promote book festivals (and those were a perfectly worthwhile cause, although from what I saw of her activities they always seemed to be aimed more at the book clubs of suburban housewives like her, and less at introducing kids to books or at a culture of continuing education), it was possible to maintain the idea that she maintained some detachment (after all, she wasn’t standing on soapboxes and spouting hateful nonsense like Lynne Cheney or Virginia Thomas), and to imagine that Laura Bush hadn’t bought into the toxic partisanship of her husband and his administration. Sadly, no.
P.S. Isn’t a bit odd that a lifelong reader and proponent of literature, a woman who’s had nothing but dinner parties to do for the last ten years (and less for the last eighteen months than before) didn’t write her own book, but got a professional conservative ghostwriter to do it for her?
@Eric S.: Definitely. There’s nothing more evident about the Dubya presidency than that it was the good-for-nothing son’s effort to one-up the old man. Fight the same war but do it ballsier. Give the finger to the media. Ignore calls to moderate or clean up the fiscal mess. Get reelected.
@Bill E Pilgrim: The “France and Germany didn’t do enough to avoid the Iraq War” meme is another hundred courses of bricks in the right’s epistemic enclosure. Jeebus but the thing is already taller than the minarets at Mecca.
Laura Bush was completely irrelevant during her husband’s administration, largely because she sought to remain out of the limelight as was her right. She’s irrelevant now because the narrative about her husband’s administration, which is now pretty much carved in stone, is that it was full of monsters and one irrelevant person called Laura Bush.
I couldn’t give a tinker’s damn about her book and I don’t know anyone left, right, or center who does either.
And yet, here we are.
It’s really sociopathic, the insistence on not taking responsibility for anything. Yes, of course France and Germany should have made Saddam go away. And what gratuitous bullshit, blaming Germany for their stomach bugs. She must still be mad at Merkle for being so publicly revolted by Shrub’s unsolicited caresses. What horrible, horrible, horrible people these Bushes be.
…Passing the time until John updates us on a new widget for picking up dog feces or removing dandelions from the yard.
“…she writes that she has often wondered if Jacques Chirac of France or Gerhard Schröder of Germany “could have done more” to prevent the Iraq war”
No one could have done more to prevent the Iraq War than the guy who started the Iraq War, who, I might add, it just so happens, is the guy who Laura married.
Denial much Laura?
@jrg: lol. u win, sir/madam.
Oy! Watch yourself there. Somerby’s the only guy I know who makes me feel like a naive young optimist. And I think we passed the tipping point on our slide into religious fascism some 20 years ago and are well down the slope. When (not if) one of these guys gets close enough to the President to Kennedy him, I think that will be the final straw. I lived through the King riots; I can’t believe that these wouldn’t be far worse – back then, there weren’t scads of well-financed and trained right-wingers champing at the bit to take over the hard way.
As for Mrs. Bush, why waste any time, thought or print on her at all?
White privilege rears its ugly head yet again. Do you think Obama would be President if a boozy Michelle killed her ex-boyfriend?
@jrg: I just posted this on another thread, but is this close enough?
@MattR: I love that thing.
@arguingwithsignposts: Well, if you want to get technical, I don’t actually know any of you people, do I?
Did yer ever have the feeling yer being watched?
Well, there is that clue in that she ran over her ex-boyfriend with a car…
in the biblical sense, probably not. Speaking only for myself, now. cough, cough.
I’ve never thought she was too bright, esp after she told the joke about GW milking the male horse at the press corps dinner. I’m no prude but that just didn’t seem the type of joke a first lady should tell. I can just hear the horror if it had been Michele Obama.
@jrg: Actually we are waiting for end of the week Tunch update.
Since I could not be paid enough money to give a crap about this xanax’ed waif I’d like to try to start the conversation down a rat hole. Usually this would be someone pointing out misspelling or grammar followed by a total collapse of civility over trivia.
It’s ‘tinkers dam’ not ‘tinkers damn’. The tinker was not condemning someone to perdition but making an earthen stopper against which molten metal would seal a hole in a pot.
@Omnes Omnibus: I just sent an email to a friend requesting he build me one. I know he has the parts and ability, just not the free time. It would be an absolutely kick ass housewarming present though :)
I TOLD YOU I’D SHOOT, BUT YOU DIDN’T BELIEVE ME
WHY DIDN’T YOU BELIEVE ME
If you believe someone isn’t bluffing, you back down and let them take the pot. So what exactly was Saddam supposed to do…..give up his non-existent WMD program?
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Everybody blames Bush getting elected on oh, the Supreme Court, the Villager Media’s treatment of Gore, Gore’s mediocre campaign, etc.
Nope. It’s all Laura Bush’s fault. Why?
Apparently she’d finally had enough of her wastrel husband and gave him an ultimatum? And helped him see his cleanup thru and stick to it.
If not, he’d still be the drunk, cokehead vacant asshat he was until he turned 40. And there’s no way he would have made it in politics, even Texas politics, thusly, never President.
Not taking responsibility for anything.
The very rich are different from you and me.
Fitzgerald nailed it. And things haven’t changed.
I don’t know of any examples either, but I’m not convinced that there is nothing. I bet we’re just out-of-touch fogeys who aren’t aware of the contemporary musical underbelly.
I don’t think Laura Bush is worthy of discussion except to the extent that her manufactured image influenced politics. That’s what I’m getting at.
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage:
This. This, this, this.
I’ve been saying this for years. She should have let him stay drunk and keep running oil companies into the ground.
In re: no Sex Pistols, NWA etc. – the music business learned from these lessons. they co-opt any new outrage before it’s too old. Also, you folks seem to be missing Rage Against the Machine in your get off my lawn-iness.
ETA: System of a Down, also, too.
Actually, I’m of the opinion that if all three of those SOBs had died in actual accidents with absolute proof that no human agency was involved, it would still have been turned into a massive Islamic and/or Democratic murder conspiracy calling for invasions, arrests of political dissidents, and torture on a whole new scale. In other words, the cancer had already metasticized (sp?) into the body politic and cutting out those three tumors wouldn’t have saved things.
Ms. Bush may be brilliant; I’ve never met her. But until I do and she proves otherwise, she will always seem the definition of “vapid” to me.
I don’t give a rat’s ass about Laura Bush or her book of lies. I just got sucked into this thread by Johnny Rotten.
You mean she finally figured out it was “Katrina,” and not “Corrina?”
Maybe German intelligence could’ve told us “Curveball” was a lying drunk. Maybe France and Germany (and Russia) could’ve proposed a second UN resolution that would have beefed-up inspections.
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
Sadly, no. She was stoned to the gills. I have two close relatives who were foreign service officers in countries Laura Bush visited during W’s presidency. One was assigned to be the local liaison to the White House staffer in charge of keeping Laura stoned, and the other confirmed that this was a standard State Department/White House procedure when Laura traveled. She was pretty closely supervised by her staff, who had to strike a balance between keeping her medicated to her satisfaction while still able to make her fairly minimal public appearances. She spent most of her time on foreign visits napping in hotel rooms and embassy residences.
“…she writes that she has often wondered if Jacques Chirac of France or Gerhard Schröder of Germany “could have done more” to prevent the Iraq war”
Just as she often wondered if her ex-boyfriend would still be alive if he hadn’t chosen to drive a Corvair.
The reason this melon-headed woman is a relevant subject for discussion is because she is the EPITOME of a certain kind of Republican, the sort who is all for Personal Responsibility until they are the Person being called to account.
Laura Bush is the thinly disguised protagonist of Peter Straub’s The Hellfire Club. I guess that’s why I’ve always though she was redeemable. However, Nora shed herself of the Chancels at the end of Straub’s novel. Laura’s still right there carrying water for the clan.
licensed to kill time
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: Verrrrrry interesting! So that’s how she does it.
If I had the bad fortune to somehow be married to GWB, I’d have to be stoned to the gills all the time, too. I’d be floating through life on a happy little cloud, wondering what that annoying buzz in my ears was but not giving a rat’s ass.
Better living through chemistry!
Laura Bush mowed down one of her classmates while she was driving drunk. She should be spending the rest of her life in prison working in the prison laundry for 10 cents an hour to pay restitution to the parents of the kid she killed while driving drunk.
My favorite Laura Bush moment was when the Obamas met them at the White House before the Inauguration.
Michelle Obama brought a housewarming gift, since they were visiting the Bushes’ home.
Laura was horrified. “We didn’t get you anything–” she stammered. You could practically hear the wheels turning as she realized she looked gauche and entitled.
The appearance of gaucherie was entirely the Obamas fault, of course. If they had just behaved like proper house Negroes, it wouldn’t have happened. Why can’t everyone take care of Chimpy like Laura does?
It’s always creeped me out that first ladies have a job that is being first lady. I mean, I guess I’m glad Michelle is planting an organic garden or whatever, but I really just about swooned when Judith Dean, when asked what she’d do as first lady, just said “I suppose I’ll just practice medicine in D.C. I’ll really miss my current patients, but, you know.” Or words almost exactly to that effect.
@Cris: [trying this again] here: try The Hangman Song, by Puerto Muerto [in the Pine Valley Cosmonauts incarnation].
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: Fascinating! Good to know that my observations were not that far off.
In the remainder bin at Big Lots! by July.