So few were actually able to stand up to the face of George W. Bush
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Fri, 01/23/2009 – 11:23am
George W. Bush was the kind of person that even monks would make jokes about. There were so many areas with which to pick to attack or criticize.
But the man lived in a bubble for eight years. Well, he probably still lives in that bubble. But if he was aware that people didn’t like him, he never really let on. And certainly not when it mattered.
Andrew Jackson was a president who considered himself a man of the people. George W. Bush and his people went out of their way to make sure the groups he spoke in front of were ultra-friendly (just ask the Denver Three among many others).
But two people in eight years truly got past the barrier, and actually expressed to Bush the thoughts, views, and opinions expressed by citizens who weren’t otherwise able to penetrate the thick bubble: the shoe thrower in Iraq and Stephen Colbert.
The shoe-thrower in Iraq was for the most part non-verbal in his communication, was pretty specific in his area of concern, and allegedly paid the price physically. Colbert worked his way into several notable categories, was extremely verbal, getting in zingers without seeming menacing, and walked away without physical threat.
We have seen time and time again over the last eight years that the skin in the “boy in the bubble” is either thin, or those around him fear it is. Let’s take the story of Tyler Crotty, the kid in Orlando, FL who was yawning and desperately trying to stay awake for one of Bush’s speeches back in 2004. Crotty almost made the list of doing things to Bush’s face, but technically Crotty did so behind his back.
What some people might forget is that CNN rushed to Bush’s defense, saying the White House said the child was edited into the videotape. CNN later apologized for that statement. However, either the White House really did complain over a 13-year-old child, or CNN felt it necessary to lie that they did complain.
The pressure on Colbert was a lot tougher than it might have seemed. There were famous people who spoke out in the last eight years and suffered career losses as a result. Just ask the Dixie Chicks and Bill Maher.
David Letterman, in particular, has certainly expressed his feelings about Bush over the years. Certainly Keith Olbermann is not a favorite of the Bush team. But the television has an off button. And despite what Karl Rove has tried to impart in us, Bush isn’t much of a reader. And it’s more than likely that Bush doesn’t hit too many of the blogs, especially BuzzFlash.
There is a necessary level of protection between the president and the people. The president doesn’t drive a car, shop for groceries, and can’t go to a regular movie theater. But the president, despite living in such a sheltered environment, needs to understand where the wind blows in this country.
By Bush shutting himself in much more than previous presidents, Republican or Democratic, he also invites a more hostile reaction to his deeds (never mind that the deeds themselves get their own hostile reaction). In the modern era where 3 network newscasts are a small blip in the media world, presidents need to be less isolated to the media around them. Because when a president is confronted with something unkind, that person needs to know whether it’s a fluke or the initial wave of a tsunami of criticism.