Profiles in Wanking

Here’s a preview of Fred Barnes’ latest love letter book about George W. Bush, called Rebel-in-Chief:

(Be sure to check out Mike Nilson’s alternate book cover here.)

The Weekly Standard executive editor and Fox News personality preaches to the Crawford choir in this analysis-cum-tribute to the Bush presidency. Readers who keep pace with current events will find little new in Barnes’s take on the president’s policies, but what’s instructive are the surprising glimpses into the personality of a man Barnes celebrates as an “insurgent leader” who’s “an alien in the realm of the governing class” that despises all things Washington and revels in his status as “a revolutionary with a revolutionary vision.”

Hoe. Lee. Shit. I don’t even know where to begin.

George W. Bush is not “an alien in the realm of the governing class.” George W. Bush is the son of a former president. He graduated from Phillips Academy, a prestigious prep school in Andover, Massachusetts, before attending both Yale and Harvard Business School.

George W. Bush is the ultimate Washington insider. During the 2000 election campaign, Bush raised a record $193 million, of which $4.7 million came from donors within the DC metro area. Compare this to Al Gore, who actually raised less money from donors in the DC metro area despite being the sitting vice-president.

In addition to his insider connections, George W. Bush has aided and abetted the politics of special interests more than any president in recent memory. According to the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, the number of pork projects attached to appropriations bills has gone from 4,326 in 2000 (the last year of Clinton’s presidency) to a stunning 13,999 in 2005. Annual spending on pork projects has climbed from about $17 billion* in 2000 to roughly $27 billion* in 2005. George W. Bush has yet to veto a single spending bill.

Need more proof that George W. Bush is deeply wired into Washington’s political machinery? Here’s what he recently said about Tom DeLay, the man who once proclaimed, “I am the federal government”:

“I hope that he will [keep his post as House majority leader], ’cause I like him, and plus, when he’s over there, we get our votes through the House,”

Yep, that’s some damn fine rebellin’ you’re doin’ there, George.

And just to further illustrate the absurdity of Barnes’ premise, I’ve written an imaginary dialogue between George W. Bush and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card. I hope you like it:

Bush: So anyway, Tangent Man, I’ve decided to cut taxes for the rich again, even though we’re at war and even though I never veto any spending bills. It’s my way of sticking it to the man.

Card: But.. you are the man.

Bush: Yes.

Card: So… you’re sticking it to yourself.

Bush: Maybe… I’m actually sticking it to the sucker who gets elected in ’08…

*Thanks to folks in the comments. I’m an idiot sometimes.


Comments: 32


now i’m not a big time political analyst, but that spiel seems to me a head fake. when he says rebel, i think he actually means this kinda rebel, not the actual kind.

but then he’d be wrong about that too because most such rebels are not multi-millionaires from connecticut with extensive ties to the saudi royal family


If the next one is a Democrat he won’t be allowed to blame Bush. I think it will still be Clinton’s fault. Just like now.
Except for the FUBAR in Iraq. That is Michael Moore’s fault. He is fat, you know.


Dude, I hope that the next time a liberal is elected president that we don’t all become pathetic fluffers like Barnes. I mean, my God.


I don’t want to get all BAGNewsNotes on you but look at the cover of this book.

REBEL in CHIEF in a kind of 19th century typeface, and Bush in a GRAY SHIRT that looks subliminally like a Confederate grey tunic.

Bush is a Rebel in the CIVIL WAR sense. Johnny Reb. The content of the book doesn’t matter, it’s an image of Bush as a new Southern Confederate to appeal to his true base.


I don’t know, but in that picture it looks to me like he’s been walking around the ranch, pissing to mark his territory. Come to think of it, he probably does that most everywhere he goes…


Is that bush taking a leak?


“Annual spending on pork projects has climbed from about $17 million in 2000 to roughly $27 million in 2005.”

I tried to read this with the Dr. Evil voice in my head.

Millions, indeed.


So he IS an alien!


The Weekly Standard executive editor and Fox News personality preaches to the Crawford choir in this analysis-cum-tribute to the Bush presidency.

Well, maybe it isn’t much of an analysis, but it’s certainly a cum-tribute.


FACT: When Bush & Cheney smirk, they actually think they are smiling. It’s true!


I find it hard to believe $17 and $27 million. I’d wager it is billion. I seem to remember the bridge to nowhere was going to cost either $223 million or $941 million.

$27 million is chump change.


Mudge- yep, I’m an idiot sometimes. Anyway, it’s corrected.


Dude, you can’t fight the Man if you ARE the Man.


Actually, the way Bush runs things, it’s likely he’s trying to ‘bring down the system from within’.


My copy came with a different cover.

(Caution, strongly ‘R’-rated).


nice work mike. reminds me of that gay-cowboy-from-connecticut movie. you know, the one where that utterly incompetent guy somehow becomes president and screws up the world, all while carrying on muliple affairs with male lobbyists…


Ah. Hadn’t see the cover. So that’s why Andrew Sullivan called the book “fellatial.”


You must feel blessed. You couldn’t ask for better material to work with than this stuff.


Saw this in my local bookstore, laughed at the title, then picked up Franken’s Lies (I already have The Truth, figured I’d get the book that preceeded it).


Thanks for the compliments. I was actually inspired by Sullivan’s comment and the obvious possibilities of the cover. It was pretty low-hanging fruit.


Cargo – good analysis. I’m pretty good at noting subtlety, but Bush as (Johnny) Reb totally went over my head.

Good catch.


Yeah, that’s our George: The political outsider.


No really. Black is white. Trust me! I have proof!


The cover photo was shot at waist level in true porn style. The modest placement of the hands is what’s suprising, it looks like he forgot to put on the codpiece or perhaps he didn’t have time to strap it on.


Having discovered a section of the population willing and able to be aroused by burps and gurles passing for meaningful political and social debates,the Rightie pundit class is milking the cows and sheep for all the cheddar and brie they can get. Bush should give Andy Griffin the Medal Of Freedom, the daily running of the doings in Mayberry,Redneckia USA has enabled Bush’s persona AW Shucks I’m just passing through folks to blind too many people to the fact that Bush has and continues to benefit from an elitist background that protects its own while the media manipulators continue their far more successful(and profitable) Lonesome Rhodes ways. The next time the old b&w A Face In the Crowd comes on watch it and you’ll see the Ripoff Partys gameplan.


So Clinton/Dems pork out 17billion to 4326 “projects”. That’s a little shy of 4mil each. Bush/Repubs pork out 27billion to 13,999 “projects”. That’s a little shy of 2mil each.

Seems the repubs are “spreading the wealth” wider than the dems, and at half the per “project” cost. What I’m I messing here? How does this help dems?

No wonder dems can’t win!

Spread the Wealth!!!!!!


Um, the House was in Repub hands in ’00. They’ve just been completely set free to over-spend since ’01, since they have no veto to fear.


Um, Edward, those projects didn’t necessarily go to more companies. So you have no idea if the Bushies are “spreading the wealth”. Odds are good they’re not spreading it any wider, they’re just breaking it into smaller, less conspicuous payments.


Andy Griffith did get the Medal of Freedom. I wonder what he fucked up to ‘deserve’ that worthless piece of metal.


Just a good ol’ boy

Never meant nobody no harm

Just a good ol’ boy

Been in trouble with the law since the day he was born

Uh huh …


My cover contribution


Is that bush taking a leak?

The phrase “pocket billiards” was what came to my mind.


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