Worst president ever? Hell yes! As the Bush years near an end, this nation can finally exhale and say what they wanted to say since the guy who looked straight out of Mayberry gained power: you suck hard. Since George W. Bush stepped into the Oval Office in 2000, this country has been saddled with a hopeless war, massive debt and three Nickleback albums, among other atrocities. Mr. Bush is easily the worst president America has ever seen, and before you joyless political science majors/pricks shout out, “You didn’t live through every presidency,” let me remind you: I don’t care, jerk. Calvin Coolidge could have banned chocolate, kitty cats and Christmas, and he’d still be better than Dubya.
That said, I’m going to miss the ol’ dipstick. No commander-in-chief generated as many disparate portrayals of himself from the media as Bush did. Unlike his two predecessors, Bill Clinton (BIG MAC BLOWJOB HEYUCK) and Papa Bush (READ MY LIPS *vomits into Japan’s lap*), the various parodies of Geroge W. touched on the many dimensions of the 43rd prez. For such a bad leader, Bush sure prompted some interesting representations, and, as election ’08 kicks into high-drive and Dubya fades from the mainstream, here are the ten most fascinating portrayals of our latest, lamest president.
10. George W. Bush as a a multi-dimensional human being
Before we jump into the good representations, let me touch on the one caricature of George W. Bush that lacks any creativity. Making Bush a babbling idiot who says “I wanna watch a movie” while trying to stick a DVD into a can of ravioli or other similar acts of idiocy isn’t creative, it’s boring and uncreative. This may shock the world, but you can’t be an ignoramus and make it to the White House, it just isn’t possible — even if the current dude has the mental capacity of Vanilla Wafers. So, while Family Guy reheats joke after joke showing the president to be special-needs, the best Bushes avoid the overplayed and lazy dumb angle in favor of something with a little more dimension, something showing why he is the way he is (bad).
The depth of Bush’s character shines brightest in Saturday Night Live’s impression of him. Or, attempted impressions. Because the fine folks at the once-funny sketch comedy show could never nail down Bush, and rotated through actors quicker than a girl through winter sweaters. America’s favorite clown, Will Ferrell, took the reigns in 1999, and portrayed the President until 2003, all the time using the “lol I’m dumb and kid-like” approach. After he left the show, SNL tried to replace him, but, to this day, can’t find anyone capable of acting like a big doofus to fill his Ricky Bobby-sized shoes. Thus far, the program peddled out Chris Parnell, Darrell Hammond, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis (who, Wikipedia keenly points out, was chosen for unexplained reasons). Saturday Night Live’s complete inability to capture the essence of Bush reveals he isn’t as easy to figure out as his critics think, and is actually a complicated man to figure out. Guys, just stick to “Dick in a Box.” The people love that.
9. George W. Bush as destroyer of worlds
Whether they think he’s a sly genius or a third-grade dropout, most people agree George W. Bush out-evils even Scar. And, from his G.I. Joe get-up on that battleship to the Hurricane Katrina deal, Mr. Bush does have an air of nefariousness around him. Nine Inch Nailer (needs some clippers, am I right?) Trent Reznor set his audio sights on Bush’s Beelzebubness via Year Zero, a concept album about the end of the world and Morality Police, or something pretentious like that. The guy who once wanted to have intercourse with you like a beast painted a bleak future where a Department of Morality monitors our every move in a post-apocalyptic world. Obviously, our commander-in-chief hasn’t led us into this 1984 meets Mad Max world, but Reznor’s artistic statement makes a strong statement about the administration, and hints at Bush’s more diabolical inner workings, a man less innocent and more maniacal then we think. I mean, c’mon, he’s from Yale, he’s gotta be a little evil.
8. George W. Bush as a goofball
While Trent Reznor and Billie Joe Armstrong scream about how they don’t want to be part of a redneck agenda (real subtle, man), this clip from Dutch public television show Kopspijkers (pronounced “what the hell”) shows a more awkward Executive. The Bush look-a-like, who sounds more like Dr. Evil, belts out a rendition of “You Were Always on My Mind” directed toward Europe, and is eventuallyed joined by the Secret Service. This YouTube blip reveals a more socially inept Bush, one that has surprising real-world ties. If the uber-liberal kids in your dorm who voted for Ralph Nader ever taped up that picture of Bush trying to open a door with a look plastered on his face like he just smelled Don Zimmer’s jockstrap on their doors, you know what I’m talking about. From almost choking on a pretzel to everything he says, Bush is more awkward than the freshman wearing the Nerdwestern shirt who creepily walks into your room, not saying a word until you acknowledge his existence. I feel this YouTube comment sums it up: “Dit is eicht grapping xD”
7.George W. Bush as a conspiracy topic
Since my typical Friday night is as raucous as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I spend a lot of time on Internet forums. And, for the past eight years, there is always at least one thread where some crazy conspiracy/connection involving Bush is made. Did anyone during the Clinton administration accuse him of being a Nazi? Or a space lizard? Or a Nazi space lizard? Internet nutcases hurl these and other allegations at Dubya on a daily basis. Even worse than the insane asylum-escapees are the movie buffs, who can draw a parallel between, say, You Got Served and Bush’s Social Security plan. According to the Web, every Spider-man flick is nothing more than a thinly veiled portrait of Bush’s America, while Happy Feet rallies against his stance on eco-issues. My favorite, though was the time I read some crackpot saying Cars (yes, Pixar’s family-friendly anthropomorphic automobile feature), was really a commentary on the current state of the U.S. Like the Virgin Mary, people spotted the mysterious Bush in tons of random things, including a film where a talking car flirts with another talking car.
6. George W. Bush as a fashion statement
Only a few people can transform their name into a brand. Oprah. Sean John. Elmo. Add W. to the list, as he has a line of goods featuring that lone letter wedged between “v” and “x.” This single-consonant image shows Bush is marketable enough to be reduced to a solitary letter, and remains one of the few super-positive takes on the man, even if the merchandise were probably being bought up despicable people. A statement’s a statement, even if Ann Coulter’s the one showing it off.
5. Dick Cheney as George W. Bush
Going back to the conspiracy theorists, many do-it-yourself political pundits wisely (read:
stupidly) made the case that vice president Dick “Get Off My Lawn!” Cheney really ran the D.C. circus, not Bushie. Some truth exists in the claim: Cheney seems the more-political type, being the colder, more mechanical player to Bush’s Ernest-esque “man out of place” position. I reason people loved this theory because Cheney seems like a guy who would mess up the nation for questionable reasons, while Bush just acts too simple to be so dark.
The Day After Tomorrow, a summer blockbuster where Russian wolves and bad science threaten to destroy the world, offers the best example of this VP hypothesis. A President who looks eerily similar to our current Commander-in-Chief faces the dilemma of how to deal with the Global Warming crisis, while his bald, snarly lookin Vice President discounts said theories. In the most telling scene, the W. doppleganger turns to Cheney-lite and asks “What do we do?” The president forgets to wear a sweater and freezes to death, so Cheney-dude takes control, and learns a valuable lesson about the environment. This is one of the few representations of Bush as a complete nothing, so out of the loop he’s nothing more than a figurehead, so a bald guy with a monstrous voice can run the country. This image works as both a criticism and a cop-out, arguing Bush isn’t capable at all, but not to blame for the past eight years of our lives.
4. George W. Bush as athlete
Nobody wants their leader to be a wimpy-wristed daffodil-picker who sits around all day TiVoing episodes of America’s Next Top Model while folding towels. Thankfully, we have George W. Bush as leader of the free world and, as he has displayed various times, he is a real man, because he can throw a baseball to a catcher. Because no world leader should be able to fight terrorism without a wicked four-seam fastball.
3. George W. Bush as out of place
If you tuned into Comedy Central anytime in the past year, you probably stumbled across Lil’ Bush, the station’s attempt to lampoon President Bush by making him an egg-shaped child who pretended to be KISS. Shockingly, the ho-hum channel once aired a Bush-centered show not overwrought with crappiness — That’s My Bush! Created by the same dudes who made the other good Comedy Central show not featuring Dave Chapelle (South Park), this program focused on President Bush and his wacky misadventures in the White House. Almost as simple a concept as The Singing Bee, but a zillion times smarter.
What made That’s My Bush! work was how the satirical target of the show wasn’t Bush or his administration, but rather the common sitcom. The show pushed political commentary to the side, zeroing in on cliché comedy via inane plot lines (how is Dubya going to be in two places at once?) and stupid characters (the wacky neighbor stands out). By directing the lampoonage away from the Republican leader, the viewer can look at the country’s head-honcho in a light devoid of “I use The Google” jokes and biting commentary on Medicare. That’s My Bush! puts George in the familiar spotlight shared by grumpy racist Archie Bunker and rich-guy-from-the-ghetto George Jefferson – out-of-place person. Adhering to sitcom stereotypes, Bush clearly has no place in the Oval Office — he should be running an auto shop somewhere, maybe. But he’s stuck where he is, so he has to deal with abortion activists and aliens. Art imitates life, and it’s clear Dubya really is out of place in Washington. His administration jumped the shark after Donald Rumsfeld left and was replaced by a blonde five-year-old.
2. George W. Bush as a a jerk
Think back to the 2004 election. John Kerry came off as the upper-class candidate, the Ivy League intellectual. George W. Bush looked like the stereotypical under-achieving Yale frat-dude, the guy who got in because his daddy went there. Of course, America chose the guy they could relate best to: the prick. I could go on about his drunken incidents and involvement in the shady/sinister/real? Skull and Bones club.
But I’d rather focus on this this incident: So a 13-year-old asks our commander-in-chief a question. What does he, the most important person in the world, do? Act like a high-and-mighty dick who is clearly more clever and witty than a girl who just started wearing a training bra. His rude response isn’t a big deal, but his Valley Girl-like retort reveals Bush is sorta kinda an asshole. This new layer in his character makes some of his decisions these past eight years more understandable (though it still doesn’t explain his bizarre appearance on American Idol, the lamest presidential TV moments since Nixon during the 1960’s debate).
Most importantly, George Bush doesn’t care about tweens.
1. George W. Bush as me and you
One line. And from a Michael Bay movie of all places — what’s up with that? In Mr. Boom-Boom-Bang-No-Plot’s latest release, Transformers, we find an evil Decepticon (cleverly disguised as a boombox) hiding aboard Air Force One, trying to hack into some top secret computer. It’s Michael Bay, what do you expect? Anyway, for about five seconds, the film focuses on the president himself, here represented by a close-up of shoes and a thick Texas accent, kicking back on Bed Force One. He utters one line, but I feel it sums up everything about the Bush presidency perfectly.
“Yeah, could you wrangle me up some Ding-Dongs, darlin’?”
You’re probably wondering (or shouting at the computer), “What do Hostess snack cakes have to do with the White House?” Calm down for a second and imagine — what if you, Joe Average or Jane Plain, were the leader of the free world? Most average folk would soak in the fact they run the most wealthy and influential nation in the world and take advantage of it. Sure, they might not know how to deal with national disaster, the Kyoto Treaty or the Northwestern lacrosse team, but that wouldn’t deter them from relaxing, safe in the knowledge they can blow up Slovakia with the press of a button, and bite into a tasty Sno-Ball.
People voted for President Bush not based on his spectacular political knowledge or cunningness (oh lord no), people got behind him because he’s just like them. In most places, he could double for the loveable-but-slow neighbor, an average guy trying his best to get by. Bay’s brief portrayal of him captures this perfectly — a representation meant to make him look dumb would have shown Dubya running around frantically screaming “HOW ARE WE FLYIN THIS IS VOODOO HURR” while pouring syrup into a plant or something. Nope, this Bush character simply spreads out on a bed and requests a crème-filled snack cake.
And this is exactly why President Bush is the worst executive of all-time. Would you feel comfortable in your country if it was being led by your bowling buddy Ted, the guy who can open a beer bottle with his teeth? No, you wouldn’t. Hell, if I became leader, I’d immediately move to another country. The person running a country (especially the United States) shouldn’t be some random schmuch I could find in Home Depot, but someone qualified, maybe overqualified. I want my leaders to be smarter than me, not on my level. Bush seems like a guy I’d run into at a bar any given Friday night — I want a politician, not a drinking buddy, determining who we go to war with. Mr. Bush found himself hoisted into a position he wasn’t meant to do. He’s out of place, and our great country suffered because of it.
This is the first and last time I’m going to use a Michael Bay film as an example of political commentary. If I ever do it again, strap me down and turn on Armageddon. That should fix me.