Vanity Fair Recounts the First 100 Days of the George W. Bush Not-Presidency

Categories: Politics
George W. Bush with Elliott's Shirt and W nametag.JPG
Courtesy Elliott's Hardware
Vanity Fair contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales has a lengthy "Web exclusive" about the post-presidency of George W. Bush -- specifically, how he's looking to "reshape his legacy," both alone and with the assist of former White House colleagues. From Bush's March 17 speech in Calgary, Sales offers this highlight:
The former president says that his first day home in Preston Hollow, the suburb of Dallas where he and his wife moved in January, he kicked back on the couch and hollered, "Baby, free at last!" To which Laura responded, "'Yeah, you're free to take out the trash. Consider it your new domestic policy agenda.'"

Big laugh. A woman at my table mouths, "He's so funny!"
Then, we come across SMU assistant history prof Benjamin Johnson, who shut down his Bush Library Blog in May 2007. Former White House press secretary Dana Perino says Bush invited former Czech Republic president and writer Václav Havel to write a book at the Bush Policy Institute. To which Johnson replies, "Václav Havel is not going to come to the fucking Bush center!"

And, finally, Texas Monthly's Skip Hollandsworth offers this adorable comment:
"He hasn't been out much yet. There is a lurid fascination with what is he going to be doing in Dallas. A lot of us were stunned that he had already gotten down 45,000 words on his book!" (With the help of former speechwriter Christopher Michel, 27.) "He doesn't go out for meals. Bush eats lunch at home; he can get through a nice dinner in about 15 minutes. Still there's a quickening of the heart whenever the black motorcade passes by."

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50 Reasons We Despised George W. Bush's Presidency: A Reminder on the Day of His Presidential Library Dedication

1. He stole the presidency in 2000. People may forget that Republicans in Florida purged more than 50,000 African-American voters before Election Day, and then went to the Supreme Court where the GOP-appointed majority stopped a recount that would have awarded the presidency to Vice-President Al Gore if all votes were counted. National news organizations verified that outcome long after Bush had been sworn in.

2. Bush’s lies started in that race. Bush ran for office claiming he was a “uniter, not a divider.” Even though he received fewer popular votes than Gore, he quickly claimed he had the mandate from the American public to push his right-wing agenda.  

3. He covered up his past. He was a party boy, the scion of a powerful political family who got away with being a deserter during the Vietnam War. He was reportedly AWOL for over a year from his assigned unit, the Texas Air National Guard, which other military outfits called the "Champagne Division.”

4. He loved the death penalty. As Texas governor from 1995-2000, he signed the most execution orders of any governor in U.S. history—152 people, including the mentally ill and women who were domestic abuse victims. He spared one man’s life, a serial killer.

5. He was a corporate shill from Day 1. Bush locked up the GOP nomination by raising more campaign money from corporate boardrooms than anyone at that time. He lunched with CEOs who would jet into Austin to "educate" him about their political wish lists.

6. He gutted global political progress. He pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol which set requirements for 38 nations to lower greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, saying that abiding by the agreement would “harm our economy and hurt our workers.”

7. He embraced global isolationism. He withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, over Russia’s protest, taking the U.S. in a direction not seen since World War I. 

8. He ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden. He ignored the Aug. 6, 2001 White House intelligence briefing titled, “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” Meanwhile, his chief anti-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, and first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, testified in Congress that he was intent on invading Iraq within days of becoming president.

9. Ramped up war on drugs, not terrorists. The Bush administration had twice as many FBI agents assigned to the war on drugs than fighting terrorism before 9/11, and kept thousands in that role after the terror attacks. 

10. “My Pet Goat.” He kept reading a picture book to grade-schoolers for seven minutes after his top aides told him that the World Trade Centers had been attacked in 9/11. Then Air Force One flew away from Washington, D.C., vanishing for hours after the attack.

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