Friday, September 03, 2004

Why Bush is America's natural leader, stupid

Writing in The Telegraph, Charles Moore takes an interesting look at George Bush and America. My favorite parts;
You could scarcely be more New England Anglican (or, as they call it, Episcopalian) posh than the Bush family. The reason the President is called George is that one of his great-grandfathers, George Herbert Walker, was named after George Herbert, perhaps the greatest poetic voice of Anglicanism ("Teach me, my God and King…" etc).

Methodism was a purifying movement within Anglicanism. Eventually, it broke with its mother Church and claimed an independent existence as a cleaner, simpler, more personal faith, one that rejected worldly status. Bush junior's conversion follows that path - a turning away from personal failure (in his case drinking and getting nowhere) through a direct experience of God, a journey away from social grandeur to something that seemed more rugged, a journey from Connecticut to Texas.

If he hadn't put down roots in somewhere like Texas (silly phrase, sorry: there's nowhere like Texas), he would for ever have been vulnerable to the jibes about being an effete East Coaster. Now he can make a good joke about his "swagger" being what, in Texas, they call "walking".

Once one understands how this works, the suggestion that Mr Bush is stupid looks, well, stupid.

The Democrat candidate has to prove something to conservative America, whereas the Republican has to prove nothing to the liberals.

Looked at in this way, I find the Bush story reassuring. It shows that Mr Bush is not the half-witted fanatic of the BBC's imagination. He is an absolutely mainstream figure in a country that has always gone very big on God and Mammon and does its best to see if the two can't achieve peaceful coexistence. It is a country that believes very deeply in freedom, but its idea of freedom is so strongly related to its sense of itself that, when it feels external threat, it reacts with unified fury.
(emphasis mine)

Read the whole thing. It is an interesting read although I don't know about the "unified" part (see Kerry, Kennedy, Laufenberg, Michael Moore, et al).


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