USA ELECTIONS: WHO ARE YOU, MR. BUSH? - 15 December, 2000

As the USA finally elects its President, let us take a look at the 43rd President of the United States of America, George W. Bush. We can start with an interesting comment by the new President himself: “ I think that anyone who thinks that I am not clever enough (to be the President) is underestimating me”. Why should he have brought up the question of not being clever enough? This brings one to analyse his academic record, which after careful consideration, could be described as “discreet”, if not “modest”. Why is it that Mr. Bush never allowed his academic record to be publicised? Surely not because in his first English test at Andover High School, he received the mark of zero. He was only a boy. He never entered the “distinguished students” list but all the same, managed to get a place in Harvard Business School (a top university, where places are ferociously fought over by bright students from not only the USA but around the world). However, his father had studied there, as had other relatives and so Mr. Bush obtained his place (there is a special clause for relatives of former students). Once at University, there are a number of stories about the young George W. Bush, perfectly normal for a spirited young man, but he never appears to have been mentioned for his academic prowess. The first mention of note comes in 1967, in an article in the “New York Times”, about the practice of “branding” university freshmen (first year students) with burning metal coat-hangers. Mr. Bush was quoted as saying that the burns “were like a cigarette burn”. We hope he was not involved in this cruel practice. Instead of going to the Vietnam War, the young Bush appeared as a pilot…not in the USAF but in the Texas National Guard, after managing to obtain 25% in a pilot aptitude test. He jumped over the waiting list of 150 candidates for the place. The suspicion starts to arise that Bush Junior spent his early life walking through doors opened by his father, George Herbert Bush, former President (1988 – 1992), who had made a fortune in Texan oil. Out of the National Guard, George W. again followed his father into the oil business but without success. Most of the companies he was involved with failed, until finally he found success – as Director of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. He built up the club and sold his share for a fortune, making a name for himself in Texas. George W. Bush the politician appeared briefly in 1978, as a defeated candidate for the House of Congress and then again in 1994, when he was elected Governor of Texas. The Texas governor is one of the governors with fewest powers in the USA but he managed to create an image as a moderate. Re-elected in 1998, he became a figure of interest for the Republican party, desperately seeking a new leader after Dole’s defeat by Clinton two years previously…with nobody else in view, George W. was an option. The rest of the story is now history, with this exhausting election thankfully over. Going back to our opening theme, let us take a look at what we can expect from Mr. Bush, through his own mouth:

About finance and economics: “This is obviously a budget. It’s full of numbers” “More and more of our imports come from abroad”

About his foreign policy: “I am going to have an external policy which turned towards the exterior”

About debates: “When I am speaking about myself and when he is speaking about me, we are all speaking about me”

About politics: “The most important post is not to be governor, or First lady, in my case”

About geography: “We have to keep good relations with the Grecians (correction: Greeks)” “The Kosovanians (correction: Kosovars) should return to their homes” “The East Timorians (correction: East Timorese) decided to revolt”

To finish, a promise of competence: “ I read - I understand reality. If you ask me if as president I will understand reality, yes, I will”. Let us hope so, Mr. President. It is right to give unknown people a white paper to write on and not to pre-judge them...over to you, Mr. Bush. Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, Pravda.Ru, Lisbon

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