February 19, 2004

Texas Bush Perspective

One of the best aspects of travelling is the way it opens you up to new perspectives, new opinions and new world views. I've spent the better portion of the past year in NY and SF, hardly the best vantage points to gauge the opinions of this fine nation. Now I'm in Austin, which has a well deserved reputation as being the Berkeley of Texas, so its hardly better. But on the way there I swung through the Dallas airport and snagged a copy of Texas Monthly in the procedure.

Now I have no idea what the politics of this mag are, but all indications point to a bland upper middle of the road regional lifestyle mag. If you live in America I'm sure your region has one of these things. Solid reporting mixed with guides on how to be a good au courant yuppie eating in the slinkiest new restaurants.

The cover of this particular Texas Monthly however is a picture of one Dubya Bush with a big blue and red lettered "Maybe" splayed across him.

The article, by Paul Burka is not online yet, but it should be archived on the site in a few weeks. Well worth the read. Burka covered Bush as governor of Texas and he's known the man personally. The story he tells is both far more balanced and far more damning then the knee jerk opposition has ever written it.

Burka is a veteran political reporter, but he takes this story with a refreshingly personal and frank air. He voted for Bush in 2000, he liked him as governor. And now he's not so sure what happened. A story of betrayal.

I've never been 100% comfortable with the Bush as dumb puppet line of thinking. Truth is in there for sure, and the "born on third base and thinks he hit a triple" snipe rings truer then ever. But you still don't become president without some degree of talent. Burka knew Bush personally and he paints the best picture of his upside I've read. He knew the Bush that was able to win votes in 2000.

That Bush apparently is gone. In Texas Bush was a moderate consensus builder, the ultimate old boy network kid. Not sure he did much positive, but he certainly wasn't fucking up big time either. But now its 2004 and suddenly he's hard right. A man whose best talent is bringing people together, yet he's tearing the country into love and hate. And if the reports from the Daytona 500 are on point its mostly hate...

Burka concludes that he might, just might vote for Bush again in the upcoming elections. But its sure not a convincing close, and one wonders how many readers are even more sure they will not cast that vote. Especially after the flip a few more pages to the obligatory unemployed white collar article... Yep, even here in Texas things don't look so up for Mr Bush.

Posted by Abe at February 19, 2004 02:40 PM