Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Who says "Cowboy Diplomacy" is dead?

Last week there was much ado about President Bush letting loose the "s-word" while miked. When I first saw the mildly amusing video (shown here at I was surprised more by what I saw than by what I heard.

To this day I belive that Karl Rove's greatest accomplishment has been selling George W. Bush - a silver-spooned, prep-high, Ivy-league aristocrat - as a homegrown Texas cowboy. In any case, Mr. Bush was in rare form at the G-8 summit last week, showing that while his administration's diplomacy may be dead, the cowboy still lives.

Slouched in his chair, President Bush butters up his roll and then tosses it deep down the hatch where his molars take over. After taking a few chomps with his mouth wide open, he leans over to Tony Blair and spits out the controversial sentence while still chewing on his cud.

Now I understand that blogs could be filled with posts about the frivolity of etiquette, and the hyper-analysis of eating behavior. Yet I believe that most of us would probably sit up straight and chew with our mouths closed at a company dinner.

When President Bush says, "Yo, Blair!" with his mouth full at the G-8 Summit, he makes himself ripe for a cheap pot-shot. And that's all this post is meant to be.


At 7/26/2006 05:42:00 PM,

"molars take over"

I like that.

Do you really think that Rove had to do much work to get the Yale out of him? I'm not sure there's an deviously smart ivy-league intellectual hiding anywhere behind the cowboy facade. If there is, then WOW, he's good.

At 7/26/2006 06:37:00 PM,


I wasn't saying that Bush exhibited the stereotypical "Yalie" seater-vest, tennis-playing lifestyle (no offense intended J.D.). I was referring to the fact that in 2004 John Kerry was seen as a rich, elitist snob from New England, while George Bush was a gun-slinging outlaw from Texas.

Dubya may chew with his mouth open, but he was raised in a super rich, super powerful family in Connecticut.

And speech foux pas aside, I believe Bush is smart and quite ept.

At 7/26/2006 08:35:00 PM,

Since we're on the topic... just some food for thought on "refinement" and Mormonism, through a few select quotations:

“Much as they admired the Prophet’s intelligence and personal force [Josiah Quincy, son of Harvard college president] and [Charles Francis] Adams could never write a report on Joseph’s refinement.

Joseph Smith himself recognized the incongruity and had taken strong measures to end it. Like Sidney Rigdon, he believed the Saints should show a polished face to the world. A January 1841 revelation commanded the Saints to build a hotel… later [he] was pressing the city to step up its efforts [to build the hotel]. ‘There is no place in this city… where men of wealth, character and influence from abroad can go to repose themselves’”

“The large plan [of the Nauvoo House], the great effort, Joseph’s pleadings… all attested to his serious interest in presenting his people favorably. How else, as Sidney put it, ‘is Zion to become the joy and praise of the whole earth?’ Nothing about the city or the Saints should bring shame to the work, moving Joseph to put the hotel, rhetorically at least, on par with the temple”. - “Was Joseph Smith a Gentleman?”

Believing History, Richard L. Bushman

p. 228

At 7/26/2006 08:36:00 PM,

Sidney Rigdon, advocate of refinement, wrote in the Messenger and Advocate in 1836:

“How was Zion to become the joy and the praise of the whole earth, so that kings shall come to the brightness of her rising?... Surely it will be by her becoming more wise, more learned, more refined, and more noble, than the cities of the world, so that she becomes the admiration of the great ones of the earth… [Zion would attract attention] by the superiority of her literary institutions, and by a general effort of all the saints to patronize literature in our midst… her building will have to be more elegant, her palaces more splendid, and her public houses more magnificent.”

“Was Joseph Smith a Gentleman?”

Believing History, Richard L. Bushman
p. 223

At 7/26/2006 08:37:00 PM,

And how about the way George W. Bush was buttering his bread??? Compare to these 1893 instructions from the church for Mo-Tab members who were going east to the World Fair... the Church was worried Mormons would look like hillbillies! read on:

"Never eat with your elbows sprawled on the table. Between courses, one elbow, not both, may be leaned upon. Never dunk in public. At home go ahead. Never place a whole piece of bread on the palm of your hand and slap butter on it with a house-painting technique. Bread should be broken enough for one mouthful at a time, buttering each piece as you break it. Rolls and butter the same way." - Ostling, xxiii or The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (New York: Harper and Row, 1979) p. 65 by Charles G. Calman

At 7/26/2006 08:45:00 PM,

and for the record, i sincerely doubt anyone can become president without being freaking smart. although it makes me feel better about myself when i say things like, "that was dumb what the president just did." and no one becomes president without the help of even more freaking smart people.

At 7/27/2006 07:32:00 AM,

I would also add that probably no one becomes president without using the S word.

At 7/29/2006 01:40:00 PM,

In the words of CCR, Bush certainly is a "fortunate son"... but I'm not sure I'd ever describe him as "a silver-spooned, prep-high, Ivy-league aristocrat"... maybe more of a spoiled, drunk, fratboy who finally grew up in his forties (kind of). Seeing Bush unscripted on the world stage was truly a sight to behold... beyond the Blair incident, massaging Merkel, "yo-ing" Blair, and slicing that pig all made for a true spectacle.  

Posted by Marc




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