Dispatches | November 11, 2004

He’s a runner, and he’s fast. How do I know this? A friend of a friend is a member of his Secret Service running posse and has had to train to keep up with his seven-minute mile pace. (No Clintonesque rest stops at McDonald’s for Egg McMuffins or breakfast burritos.)

Mrs. Bush seems like a nice lady who resembles my amiable fourth grade teacher, a small, pear-shaped woman with sensible pumps, wash-and-wear hair, and conservative suits. Mrs. Bush also reads books and hasn’t let her husband kill the NEA.

He has two wild-child, twenty-two-year-old daughters, Barbara and Jenna, whose beer-drinking antics draw Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie comparisons and plenty of Leno and Letterman jokes. But who can blame them for trading in the simple life of Austin, Texas, for Hollywood parties with Ashton Kutcher. (Read more in his revealing interview in a past issue of Rolling Stone.)

He is imaginative with language. We all suffer from the limitations of the English language and most of us haven’t found a way to get past its vague, cliche-ridden character. George has shown us the way. With cowboy-swagger and a drawly, down-home voice, he’s unafraid to utter made-up words: “resignate,” “exemplarary,” “analyzation,” “subliminable.” He also knows how to use real words in interesting ways: “This is what I’m good at. I like meeting people, my fellow citizens, I like interfacing with them.” (New anthologies of Bushisms, as they are called, have been a boon for the faltering publishing industry).

Did I mention he could run a seven-minute mile? I guess I did. Well, he looks solidly okay in his blue jeans, snap-button chambray shirts, and tooled cowboy boots.

He’s a role model for underachieving frat boys everywhere. He has middling ability, talent, and intelligence and yet he’s president for a second term. It’s the stuff of Horatio Algier novels–surprisingly ordinary guy makes good (though it does help to have money and a former president daddy).

He is anhedonic. Unlike Bill Clinton, he doesn’t seem to take a lot of physical pleasure in the world. No G-string flashing or hide-the-cigar foreplay in the Oval Office. I’m not sure this is a reason to really admire him, but it is safe to assume there isn’t a White House intern keeping an incriminating little black dress hidden in a safety deposit box.