Me 'n' George
George W. Bush is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
In order to explain to you exactly what I'm talking about, let me take you back to the beginning. It's a memory I'll never be able to shake till the day I die: The very first time I ever laid eyes on Dubya....
It was almost twenty-one years ago in the spring of 1988. Poppy Bush, then Ronald Reagan's vice-president, was running in the South Carolina GOP primary and the crazy preacher, Pat Robertson, was giving him the fight of his life. You see, your average South Carolinian Republican voter is so rib-ticklingly stupid, a lot of them thought that sending a half-witted reactionary like Robertson to the White House was a really neat idea. Something had to be done.
So the Bush Sr. campaign sent his jackass of a kid along with the late Lee Attwater down there to try to convince these goofy people to vote for Daddy. Why did they use the eldest son as an envoy? Why didn't they use the slightly more articulate sons, Jeb or Marvin or Neil? My theory has always been that the campaign's strategists figured that Junior was such a fire-breathing asshole, the right wing knuckleheads in that state would have no problem relating to him. They didn't. Poppy won South Carolina.
In 1988, I was videotaping hours and hours of network coverage of that campaign and I still have the tape. He was being interviewed by the National Broadcasting Company, telling a reporter, "He thinks he's gonna whoop George Bush? He'd better think again". I can still remember my initial reaction to this guy:
"My goodness! The boy's dumber than dog shit, isn't he?"
Back then, he went by the name of George Bush, Jr. which technically is not his real name: Poppy was George Herbert Walker Bush, while the scion was merely, George Walker Bush. In the words of the legendary Ann Richards, rest her soul: "He's missing his Herbert". Incredibly, it was only when he ran for office in his own right that he started to call himself, "George W. Bush". This was no doubt in order to separate himself from his father's failed, ex-presidency.
And that is where I first saw George W. Bush two decades and one half a year ago - almost to the day. Who could have possibly envisioned then how far he would rise? Had you told me the heights to which this foolish, mediocre man would eventually reach, I would have would have said, "May I have a little toke of what you're smoking, please?" Had you been able to convince me, I probably would have packed my bags, right then and there, and moved to Ireland - or Norway.
From that point on, I developed what I can only describe as a morbid fascination with this moronic son of a failed president. I studied his history as a businessman, one failure after another. I read about the investigations into his insider trading; how he sold every one of his shares of a company he helped run into the ground called, Harken Energy - just days before it was announced that the stock was all-but-worthless. He had even been advised by the company's attorney's that the sale of his stock, under the circumstances, would be blatantly illegal. That made no difference to this arrogant little son-of-a-bitch. After all, he was a Bush. At the time, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was an old Bush family friend. Poppy Bush, who was then vice-president, had the investigation squelched.
Then, in 1994, the arrogant little twit announced that he was going to run against the much-loved Ann Richards for the office of Governor of Texas! "HA!!!", I guffawed loud enough to be heard in the next county, "It'll never happen! Even your average Texan isn't that dumb!!"
Note to my beloved cousins, the Barras family of Port Arthur: Of course, I exclude you from that list, my dears.
What I hadn't considered - what I wasn't even aware of at the time - was the existence of a despicable creature named Karl Rove. The man known to the press as "Bush's Brain" was able to run a campaign that resorted to spreading rumors that, not only was Ms. Richards a drug user, she was a lesbian. It worked - like a charm. George W. Bush became the first Republican since Reconstruction to be elected Governor of Texas. Not only that, four years later in 1998, he became the only Republican governor in history to win two, consecutive terms in that worthless state.
As our beloved Molly Ivins, herself a native of the Lone Star State once rhetorically asked: "What is it about Texas?"
Late in the year of 1999, when he announced that he was seeking the office of the presidency, I became seriously alarmed. The American electorate had become so dumbed down in recent years, a George W. Bush administration was not only a possibility, it was inevitable! It was at that time I became an activist.
A few months later I managed to become involved as co-producer of the Kirk Grantham Program on W-TBQ in Florida, NY. Its studios are directly across the street from the birthplace of William Henry Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State and the man who purchased the state of Alaska from Russia (Yes, it is he who is responsible for Sarah Palin). It is a small station but it has a good signal and can be heard quite clearly in Northern New Jersey.
Every Thursday afternoon at 2:00, I would do fifteen minutes with Kirk on the subject of the campaign of 2000 which was then going full speed. Thank goodness I saved the tapes of those broadcasts. A year or so ago, I digitally transferred them to CD. Thanks to the miracle of Mr. Edison's talking machine, I now have the positively giddy pleasure of listening to my unheeded warnings to my fellow countrymen and women:
"If the American people are foolish enough to elect this idiot as President of the United States, we'll regret it for a century."
I love it! I hate to say I told you so, but....
As it turns out, the American people never really did "elect" George W. Bush to anything. The hideous little bastard lost the popular vote and was only able to barely squeak by in the state of Florida because an ideologically perverted Supreme Court decided to put a halt to the recount. Florida's Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, along with Governor Jeb Bush, were also successful in illegally removing fifty-seven thousand African Americans from the list of eligible voters. It was the most blatant election fraud in American history.
The night the Supreme Court selected George W. Bush as our forty-third president, I got so drunk, I wound up passing out in a hammock on the front porch of the house I was living in at the time (Remember, this was December). I knew we, as a nation, were in for four years of lunacy and incompetence. I say "four years" because on that cold night of December of 2000, even I never dreamed that so huge a segment of the American people would be naive enough to repeat their mistake four years later.
But as bad as I knew Bush was going to be for the country that I love so much, it never occurred to me that the homicidal little thug would have a positive effect on my life!
But for the accident of my birth, I would be now sleeping on the street, much like the night I spent on the porch those eight, long years ago - much like where George W. Bush would be sleeping tonight but for the accident of his birth. Back in the 1920s, my grandfather, Edward J. Degan, Sr., founded a company called, Stuart-Dean. We specialize in architectural metal, marble and wood restoration. Today we have offices in twenty cities all over the United States and Canada. I never knew my Grandpa Degan. He died suddenly of a massive heart attack four-and-a-half-years before I was born. And yet today, I am a major shareholder in the company he founded. That, in a way, makes me part of the privileged class. I might be on one of the lower rungs of that class, but I'm there.
Trust me on this one, campers: I did very well while Bush was in office. I even got a couple of tax cuts that I didn't even need! How utterly sweet is that?
But nowhere did I benefit more from the First Fool's reign of error than when I started "The Rant". Writing it has been a joy that I can't even describe and I've made thousands of friends worldwide. I never imagined it would get the response it seems to be getting but I'm truly grateful for it. And to think that I owe it all to the nasty, half-witted little frat boy who at this very minute, is tucked away under his quilts, sleeping soundly in the Executive Mansion. Life is kind of funny that way, isn't it?
Yeah, I owe an awful lot to George W. Bush. Me 'n' George have been on one hell of a journey together. The awful irony is the fact that the moment the disgusting little freak breathes his final breath in the infirmary of the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, he will probably have lived his entire life not knowing that Tom Degan ever existed. That doesn't really matter, though. What matters is that you and I and our children - and the great grandchildren who will never even know our names - will know the name of George W. Bush. The American people will be living with the strychnine-like aftertaste of his legacy for generations.
But not me, man! This imbecilic man has given me a direction and a purpose that I had previously been lacking. His failure has turned out to be my ultimate triumph. In a very weird and disturbing way that I can barely articulate, George W. Bush really is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I owe the bastard - BIG TIME!
Thank you, Georgie.
Shrub: The Short and Happy Political Life of George W. Bush
by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubois
Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America
by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubois
Photograph of the president of the United States and the author of "The Rant" taken in October 2008 at FYE, Middletown, NY.
In seventy-three days, Barack Obama will be our new president and George Bush will be on his way to ignoble exile!