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George W. Bush: Hipster Icon?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Vanity Fair has a piece. Folks, I don't know if you know this or not, but the Drive-Bys and Vanity Fair are deeply worried, deeply concerned because within the Millennials, George W. Bush is experiencing a resurgence.  He has now become a hipster icon.  George W. Bush, to the Millennials, is Mr. Cool.  They are livid about this at Vanity Fair, and that means elsewhere in the Drive-Bys. 

Well, I will explain it. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  I'm doing my best to stay focused here with everything that's popping.  All right, "Vanity Fair Concerned by George W. Bush's Hipster Resurgence." 

It's by Frances Martel.  She's the author.  "Prominent American painter and philanthropist George W. Bush ... has managed a resurgence as a beloved personality and even online 'hipster icon.'  So warns Vanity Fair, asking with dread how a man so 'uncool' could be so popular with young people." 

Now, I take it back.  Frances Martel is not the Vanity Fair author, I don't think. Whoever sent this did not put the source. I have no idea who wrote this.  I'm sorry.  It's one of these days.  All I know is what this person is saying that Vanity Fair said.  Vanity Fair is very upset.  "President Bush has returned to the public eye in recent months for a number of unlikely reasons.

"His leaked paintings garnered much attention on Gawker, BuzzFeed, and all matter of blogs with young readers. His letter of support to University of Alabama's Cade Foster, as Vanity Fair's Juli Weiner notes, went viral." The kicker blew the field goal, resulting in Auburn winning the game. That attaboy letter: Don't worry about it, man. Hang in there. I know things go bad, but it'll always come back. Whatever it was.

"And the death of Nelson Mandela turned the world's eye to the United States's efforts in South Africa, of which the Bush administration's were second to none.  [Vanity Fair] notes with some alarm that it doesn't seem that liberals and hipsters have forgotten what they hated so much about Bush -- that he 'is uncool, lame, establishment, square, and odious, etc.' Rather, the hipsters reading BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, New York Magazine, and others are simply too young to remember MoveOn.org and the heyday of the Code Pink protests.

"They see President Bush as 'an Internet-friendly, cat-loving," because of his paintings, "ironic-hat-wearing painter-cum-Instagram savant...'" The point is, Vanity Fair is very upset because Bush apparently is in the process of totally revamping his image with young people.  They see him as cool. They see him as hip.  They don't remember the concerted effort of five to six years that the Drive-Bys engaged in to make people just despise and hate Bush over the Iraq war. 

"These new admirers of Bush ... have even forgotten that the President was supposed to be dumb." So, anyway, the bottom line here is that Vanity Fair is sending out a clarion call to everybody in the media that they're gonna have to go back and start focusing on Bush again, because he's in the middle of a resurgence.  He's becoming hip, compassionate, and cool to young people, Millennials, because he paints cats. He's an animal lover. 

The Mandela funeral caused there to be all kinds of news commentary on all of the aid the Bush administration was responsible for, for Africa, AIDS, this kind of thing.  And the letter that he sent the football player from Alabama, the kicker.  So they just are beside themselves over this.  They don't know what to do about it.  So they're sending out this clarion call everybody in the media, that it may be time to focus back on Bush and take him out again.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  By the way, folks, this Vanity Fair piece on Bush is really snarky.  It's as snarky as anything else ever was about Bush.  But the comments by readers to the Vanity Fair piece are really positive.  I'll tell you, the media, it's under the radar right now, but the media is livid about this.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Okay, this Vanity Fair piece.  Somebody sent me a story about the Vanity Fair piece instead of the Vanity Fair piece.  But that was not noted.  So I just logged on to Vanity Fair and read the piece.  And they are frosted.  They are livid.  There are quotes in there back in 2005, for example, when it was learned that Bush used an iPod.  What was Apple going to do to save the iPod now that Bush had tarnished it?  Because Bush was so hated and so reviled, that using an Apple product would doom Apple, and so the story was asking: what's Apple gonna do to try to save the iPod now? 

And there were other examples.  There was an example of Bono.  Bono knows full well that it is George W. Bush who was the impetus for more American aid to Africa, specifically for AIDS and other charities that Bono cares about, than anybody else, including the estimable Bill Clinton.  And the Vanity Fair piece talks about how Bono knew that it would be very risky to pose for a picture with George Bush.  And he and his band mate, the Edge from U2, discussed it at great length, whether or not to actually pose.  And they eventually decided to bite the bullet and do it because Bono figured out that at the end of the day it would increase contribution, because Bush did have people who liked him, whereas other people thought nobody liked Bush. 

So those are just two examples.  And in the process, the picture now of Bono with Bush at the Mandela funeral has caused young people to learn all that Bush did for charitable concerns and people with AIDS in Africa, and they said, "We never knew."  Of course they never knew because Bush is no different than Clarence Thomas or Sarah Palin or anybody else.  Decent, God-fearing, wonderful people tarnished, feathered, and destroyed by the left for that very reason. 

And then there are a couple of other things.  Bush apparently likes to paint.  His paintings are pretty average, but people like them.  Apparently Bush likes cats, which hasn't helped me, but apparently it's helped Bush quite a lot.  (interruption)  Snerdley goes, "What you mean? His paintings are getting rave reviews."  That just goes to show you I don't know paintings.  I saw a couple of 'em.  If the real art critics are praising Bush's paintings, that's all you need to know.  What I think of 'em doesn't matter.  I don't know.  Bush paints himself in the bathtub, you know, sitting in the bathtub with his feet poking out of the water. That's one painting, and there's another one of him in the shower looking at himself in the mirror in the shower. Okay, cool, fine, whatever makes your boat float.  Fine and dandy. 

Anyway, all of this stuff is combining young people learning things about George W. Bush they didn't know.  And it's in stark contrast to what they thought they knew.  And then the piece de resistance was the letter that he wrote, the quick personal note to the kicker for Alabama, who's also number 43.  Bush has done a 180.  And Vanity Fair has written a piece warning the left that Bush is coming back and that can't be good.  It can't help our overall efforts.  And the comments, people who've read the online version of the Vanity Fair story, the comments are very positive about Bush, which is also disconcerting to the left. 

So the creeps -- there's a blog site called Wonkette.  And Vanity Fair notes that the people at Wonkette have ridden to the rescue here and they're posting things like, "No, you idiots, George W. Bush should not be your new hipster icon."  And they're insulting these people, which is not helpful at all.  Now, admittedly, this is somewhat interesting.  Because you know as well as I know that throughout the Bush presidency, during all of this character assassination, which is what it was. I mean, it was filled with lies and distortion and outright false insults.  I mean, it was really horrible stuff that was said and written.  I mean, there were books written about the assassination of Bush which were praised as literary examples that people should study.

There was a movie in Canada actually made about the assassination of Bush, in which Bush was assassinated.  That movie was not criticized at all.  It was, again, heralded as cinematic art that should be studied, with no comment on the propriety of it.  Now, you let somebody do a book or movie on how to assassinate a Democrat president, and you've got an absolute earthquake, and whoever wrote the book is going to be destroyed.  So those are just examples of what was going on.  And through it all, Bush never once responded to any of it, to the frustration of everybody around him.  He never replied to any of it. 

I did ask him about it once, because, folks, this is true, what I'm gonna tell you.  Everybody who knew George Bush a little to a lot to very well saw a completely different guy in private than what everybody saw on camera.  For you young Millennials, let me tell you a story about George W. Bush.  My friend George Brett retired from Major League Baseball in I think 1995.  The last series that George Brett played with the Royals, final three games were in Texas, in Dallas, actually, Arlington, against the Texas Rangers.  At the time they were owned in part by George W. Bush. 

Now, George W. Bush knew of my friendship with Brett and invited me to be his guest in Texas for the three days, last three days of the season and Brett's last three games.  I accepted the invitation and on the Saturday of this weekend in the stadium club, there was a luncheon that Bush hosted for potential donors for a potential gubernatorial run that he was contemplating against the incumbent governor, Ma Richards.  Yes, Ann Richards, but we affectionately called her Ma Richards here, because there was a Ma Richards way back in Texas who was like a Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde family, a real bad character. 

During this lunch with these potential donors, some of whom I knew, you would not recognize the cocky, confident bravado of George W. Bush.  He's giving speeches and he's walking around talking to people individually, and he's telling them how he's gonna kick her ass. "I'm gonna kick her ass all across this state. I'm gonna get rid of her. I'm gonna kick her ass, you watch," and everybody loved it. 

The reputation that George W. Bush had when his father was president was consiglieri.  You had to get past Dubbya to get to 41.  It was fascinating.  And then all during his gubernatorial campaign as governor of Texas, presidential campaigns, Bush is the same guy.  But that guy was never seen on television.  The Bush on television that people saw, after he was elected and inaugurated, had a studied difference.

It was a calculated, studied difference.  Bush appeared to be deer-in-the-headlight eyes, I'm sure you recall.  He appeared to stutter sometimes with his speech.  People that knew said him, "What is this? We can't explain this."  I once asked him about it. I said, "Would you come on my show for a half hour and be this way, just a half hour?  You could kill all this." He said, "I am not going to sully this great office by getting down into the gutter where these people are." 

Honest to God, folks, he had (still does) this really lofty, high, esteemed view, impression of the office of the presidency, and he wasn't going to anything to sully it, particularly following Clinton.  He wasn't going to do anything to bring any kind of... I don't want to say disfavor.  Sully is the word.  He was not going to do anything that would cause people to lose respect for the office, the constitutional office and what it meant.  It was that special -- and, as such, he never defended himself against any of this stuff. 

So it just laid there.  And when he didn't defend himself, didn't respond to it, well, then the people that supported him and voted for him were also not defended, and it led to a lot of frustration. Karl Rove has even said that one of the mistakes they made during the time they were in the White House was not responding to some of the stuff. Some of the stuff, in hindsight, they think they should have.  But they didn't. 

And it led to the media having free rein to create an image of whatever they wanted Bush to be: Dumb, stupid, idiot, hick, cowboy, unserious, the Bush National Guard story, Dan Rather. They were free to do anything they wanted.  It took 'em five years to get his approval number down to 37%.  I'll tell you another little short story.  I guess this is February of 2001.  Just a month into the office, and he's a big baseball fan. I mean, he loved it. He was the Texas Rangers owner and so forth.

He hosted a dinner for 16 or 20 people and spouses at the White House.  Most of the people there were Hall of Fame baseball people.  Joe Torre, Cal Ripkin, Tom Glavine of the Braves.  I don't want to leave people out. Don Baylor.  I said, "What am I doing here?"  Well, you were in charge of National Anthems at the Kansas City Royals, and the first pitcher. You have every right to be here."  So at the end of dinner, Bush gave everybody a tour of the White House, and it was amazing. 

We went to the Oval Office, and you wouldn't believe the number of people who privately... They didn't ask Bush, but they whispered, "Where did Clinton and Lewinsky...? Where was that in here?"  It happened to be in a little study, a bathroom off the Oval Office.  I remember thinking, "Gosh, look at where we are and what people are interested in."  I mean, here we are in the Oval Office of the United States, and it's natural. People's question is, "Where did Clinton and Lewinsky do it?" 

That's what Bush faced. I remember at this dinner, I asked permission to make a toast, and I was granted permission, and I forget exactly what I said, but I thanked the president for winning and for bringing back a sense of decency, decorum, and morality to the Oval Office, and everybody was thrilled by that, and the table applauded.  I mean, it was important. You may forget, this is 2001. We'd just come from Clinton, Lewinsky, impeachment.

That was, for a lot of people, a decadent period where there was real damage to the respect and the aura of the office, and that's one of the reasons why Bush was just insistent he was not gonna do anything other than build it back up.  Well, after we toured the Oval Office, we then go to the Cabinet Room, and then we went into a room that's not all that big, but it's a fairly large room.  One of the wives said, "Mr. President, is this with the state dinners are?" 

Bush said, "No, they have the state dinners in the State Dining Room," and he took us there, and that always made an impression on me, because here he is the president, and yet he says, "They" have the state dinners, not, " I'm going to be hosting the state dinners in the State Dining Room." Not, "No, I will..." Not, "We don't...." It was, "They do the state dinners."  It was still new enough to him. He was just a real guy, folks.  You can disagree with him on politics, and I do: Campaign finance reform, Medicaid, all that stuff.

But in terms of a human being, you'll not find a more decent human being anywhere, and none of that viciousness changed him.  He's a recovering alcoholic, and he's done all the things necessary to do that, and God is a paramount part of his life, and he puts his trust and faith in God, and that's who he says he cares who judges him.  All the rest of this was just noise to him, was not worthy of response, because he was just not gonna sully the office. 

Now here we are, this is 2013, he's been out of office for five years, and already -- without a PR campaign, without a crisis PR management firm, without a studied media effort, just George W. Bush being who he is -- he is experiencing a resurgence in likability, appreciation, love, whatever you want to call it, among young people who were not really old enough to fully appreciate how badly Bush was lied about. 

So it's not that big a leap for them to go from Bush being the absolute reprobate that the media portrayed him to being to being a cool hipster.  He just is seen as a nice, cool hipster now.  It does conflict somewhat with what they've been told.  So I just find it fascinating, because here's a guy who's just stayed truly, totally dedicated to what he believes, unmoved and unwavered by all the external criticism -- and it was vicious, and most people would have wilted under it after six months.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  The pope is being embraced by the left.  By the way, if the pope can be embraced by the left, why not George W. Bush? 

END TRANSCRIPT

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