Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 10:38 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 10:38 | SYDNEY

Bush Snr praises Obama as only a Bush can


Sam Roggeveen


5 January 2009 12:59

Bush Snr on Barack Obama:

But I'm impressed with him. I'm very impressed with his style on the campaign and his coolness and his articulate nature. I think he can give a sentence and it will sound like it's been thought out by Shakespeare or something.

It's the 'or something' that makes it. I wonder, do the Bushes practice this homespun stuff or is it for real?

I'm not sure why, but the quote reminds me of this anecdote from Edmund Morris' Reagan biography, Dutch, in which the author inquires of Bush Snr whether he has any grievances against the Reagans:

'Guess they didn't always thank us,' he goes on. 'Gave him, oh such a neat present for his seventy-fifth birthday, took a whole lot of trouble customising it to the right measurement, borrowed his boots so it would stand up real pretty.'

He notices my perplexity and stands up, a huge, hurt, lovable, distressingly ordinary man. 'Lemme show you. We had a duplicate made.'

He escorts me to the bathroom upstairs, outside of which stands the single most terrifying piece of kitsch I have ever seen...There, standing booted and spurred, are Dutch's feet and lower legs, supporting, like some flattened dwarfish torso, an embroidered seat, with the presidential seal au centre.

While I marvel, as so often before, at the aesthetic perversity of well-born WASPs, Bush shakes his head and says in the same hurt voice, 'Not a word of thanks.'