Even Hitler had a girlfriend

I’d like to say that I object to our pundits’ masturbatory musings because of the negative effects these musings have on innocent human beings (and they certainly do have negative effects), but the truth is, I mostly object to the stupidity and predictability of it all.

Today, Ron Fournier trots out the billionth iteration of “George W. Bush is a good man”. What’s the proof? That Bush hung out with Fournier and Fournier’s autistic son once:

Presidents Bush and Clinton agreed last year to meet privately with my autistic son for a project on the presidency. But that is the point: Neither man had anything to gain by agreeing to meet Tyler. They’re not running for office. I don’t cover them anymore.

If Bush and Clinton were meeting privately with autistic children born to plebes, that would be one thing, but they’re not: Fournier is part of their club, a well-known establishment journalist, and probably a wealthy man. It’s quite natural — and indicative of nothing — that Bush and Clinton would want to give Fournier some kind of a handjob. That’s what establishment old boys enjoy doing with each other.

But that’s not the point. The point is that anyone is a “good man” if you look at him the right way. It’s a meaningless phrase that has nothing to do with how he or she performs as a political leader.

Worse than that, it’s a completely played-out cliche. Can’t they move on to something new at least?

64 replies
  1. 1
    taylormattd says:

    Ari Fleischer walked into the media cabin of Air Force One on May 24, 2002, and dropped identical envelopes in the laps of two reporters, myself and Steve Holland of Reuters. Inside each was a manila card – marked by a small presidential seal and, in a simple font, “THE PRESIDENT.” . . .Handwritten in the tight script of President George W. Bush, both notes said essentially the same thing: “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.” . . . What had we done? Not much, really. An hour earlier, at a rare outdoor news conference in Germany, Steve and I decided to abide by the U.S. media tradition of rising from our seats when the president entered our presence. The snickering German press corps remained seated. “What a contrast!” Bush wrote. “What class.”

    Shoot me.

  2. 2

    Jimmy Carter is a good man.

    You know how I know? He has since dedicated his life to getting out there and getting actively involved with trying to make the world a bit less crappy for people.

    If Bush started a charity to help wounded veterans and spent the rest of his days changing bedpans at the VA, then I might take the claims of his being a good man more seriously.

  3. 3
    The Dangerman says:

    One helluva reach around.

  4. 4
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Comrade Dread: Thanks to Carter’s effort, dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm) has very nearly been eradicated. That’s quite a legacy, if you ask me.

  5. 5
    Jimbo says:

    I like to think I’m a good man too, doesn’t mean I’m qualified to be President.

    This is part of that whole “would you like to have a beer with candidate X” test that I’ve *never* understood. I don’t want someone in arguably the most powerful position in the world to be my drinking buddy. I want the smartest, most clear-headed person a President…

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    If Bush started a charity to help wounded veterans and spent the rest of his days changing bedpans at the VA, then I might take the claims of his being a good man more seriously.

    While I see your point, it is possible that he has realized how much of a colossal fuck-up he is and decided that he could do more good in the world by doing nothing than by attempting to do something and inevitably fucking it up. For example, think how happy people would be not to have bedpans accidentally dumped on them. “First, do no harm.”

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    I remember Peggy Noonan;

    Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man. He’s normal. He thinks in a sort of common-sense way. He speaks the language of business and sports and politics. You know him. He’s not exotic. But if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help. He’ll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, “Where’s Sally?” He’s responsible. He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world.

    And I remember thinking how odd it was that in order to illustrate why “Bush is a good man,” she couldn’t point to anything he’d actually done, just something that she imagined, based on the fact that he seems like such a swell guy, that he would do, you know, if given the chance.

  8. 8
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It is also possible that monkeys will fly out of my butt.

  9. 9
    Patricia Kayden says:

    So meeting with Fournier’s son makes up for lying to start a war, ignoring Hurricane Katrina victims, messing up the economy by giving tax breaks to rich friends, etc.? Really?

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    C’mon Doug, it’s Ron Fournier. He’s nobody but another Murdoch whore and everyone knows it.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Gin & Tonic: And the probably of each of these things happening is fairly similar. I was just trying to be fair.

  12. 12
    EconWatcher says:

    The image of George Bush that should stick forever is his comedy schtick at the White House Correspondents Dinner, pretending to look everywhere for those missing WMDs. Looking under the desk, looking all around, playing it for laughs.

    How many dead Iraqis and Americans did we have at that point? A decent man would not have done that.

    Nor would a decent man have laughingly imitated the voice of a prisoner awaiting execution (Karl Faye Tucker), saying, “Oh, please, please don’t kill me.” He actually managed to shock and offend even Tucker Carlson with that one.

    No, even setting aside his monstrous policy misjudgments, just as a human being, he fails competely.

    He picks up a few points for AIDS policy and promoting tolerance after 9-11, but that’s not nearly enough to get in the ballpark of redemption. Not even close.

  13. 13
    joes527 says:

    It is funny how “George Bush is a good man” sound so much like “Brutus is an honorable man.”

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @joes527:

    It is funny how “George Bush is a good man” sound so much like “Brutus is an honorable man.”

    Based on the historical record, one of those statements appears to be true.

  15. 15
    DougJ says:

    @joes527:

    So are they all, all honorable men.

  16. 16
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Yet another not so subtle reminder that the MSM loved Dubya. He was one of them, don’t ya know. White, male, wealthy, and incurious. His dick must have tasted of the finest chocolate. Losers like Fournier will always miss the days that they had the privilege of blowing George W. Bush.

  17. 17
    cmorenc says:

    Back in college, while visiting a friend at his fraternity house, I overheard a wonderfully apt, devastatingly succinct reply to someone’s recommendation of another as “a really good guy”. It seems frat brother A had a girlfriend in a sorority, and frat brother B had a male friend from another college visiting for the upcoming weekend, and B wanted A’s help in finding a (blind) date Saturday for his friend. B said, in recommending his friend “he’s decently good-looking, and he’s a really good guy”. To which A replied “yeah, but what’s he really like? That really doesn’t tell me anything about him. The world’s full of ‘good guys’ “

  18. 18
    Kay says:

    It’s funny, because I thought they were actively running away from the idea that they were lapdogs of the Bush Presidency.

    I guess that was just for the Iraq invasion anniversary. New month!

  19. 19
    Maude says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Bush and Clinton do not have self awareness. They have proved that many times. They don’t care what they did. They get their pensions and perks.
    Bush has said more than once he would do it again, meaning Iraq.

  20. 20
    AxelFoley says:

    @joes527:

    It is funny how “George Bush is a good man” sound so much like “Brutus is an honorable man.”

    Et tu, joeae?

  21. 21
    Maus says:

    Reminds me of all the “GWB has gay friends” defenses for his administration’s friendliness with NOM. You can be a “nice guy” privately and be a dickhead professionally, duh.

  22. 22
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Chris: He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world.

    It was in part self-styled, and Noonan never disagreed with their self-assessment, ‘intellectuals’ who convinced Bush he would be/is a great man if he followed their advice. The majority of his motivation of course came from that weird combination of class entitlement and the religious delusion that fed on each other.

    WRT Republicans, and especially in the Obama years, the bewildering (to me) obsession that personality is more important than policy is one of the key tenets of Broderism. See also, “If President Obama had invited Mitch McConnell to the living quarters….”

  23. 23
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @Chris:

    Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man.

    Well, there’s yer trouble, right there.

  24. 24
    mdblanche says:

    Neither man had anything to gain by agreeing to meet Tyler. They’re not running for office. I don’t cover them anymore.

    Um, dude, you’re covering them by writing this about them!

  25. 25
    Maus says:

    @cmorenc:

    The world’s full of ‘good guys’ “

    Reminds me of http://okcgoldmine.com/ and all the self-depicted “nice guys” therein.

  26. 26

    By all accounts the younger Tsarnaev brother was a good guy. Until he wasn’t. I guess it depends on the point along the Boston Marathon Bombing timeline you are standing on. But even that isn’t sufficient because he was a “good guy” AFTER the bombing when he was partying with his buddies. Then they found out he was one of the bombers. So yeah. Good man, good guy, tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor …

  27. 27
    Kyle says:

    Mr. Fournier should be thankful Tyler wasn’t on death row, then Bush would have likely mocked him and sent him to the death chamber, a la Karla Faye Tucker.

    After hearing the story of Ms. Tucker, I have never once believed that Bush was ever or ever will be a good man.

  28. 28
    James Hare says:

    On reddit the other day a photo of George W. Bush with his granddaughter was put up as proof he was a “genuinely nice guy.” I don’t know what planet those folks are from but being nice to your children (or their children) isn’t exactly a great point in your favor. It’s basically expected of you. What was even more frustrating is that those of us who pointed out that Bush was a war criminal and ordered the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis were shouted down. Apparently as long as you can be nice to a baby, you’re a decent guy.

    GWB is too far in the past for many of our newest voters to even really remember him. By 2016 he’ll be such a faded memory most people won’t even remember why they hated him so much. The folks acting to protect his “legacy” will never stop because it allows them to whitewash their record too.

  29. 29
    Mandalay says:

    @Chris:

    based on the fact that he seems like such a swell guy, that he would do, you know, if given the chance.

    You remind me of an interview with Sarah Palin when she was asked what made her stand out as a leader.

    She replied that she had common sense, not realizing that she was bragging that her greatest asset was – by definition – being just like millions of other people.

  30. 30
    Larv says:

    Is that title an MTX reference?

  31. 31
    Roger Moore says:

    @joes527:

    It is funny how “George Bush is a good man” sound so much like “Brutus is an honorable man.”

    Yeah, but I don’t think anyone would describe Bush as ambitious. He didn’t really run for president; he was pushed the whole damn way.

  32. 32
    Mandalay says:

    I don’t cover them anymore. Fact is that both Bush and Clinton do small acts of kindness every day, with little or no public notice.

    Is Fournier really so dumb that he is oblivious to the contradiction he created?

  33. 33
    Richard says:

    Said by pundits before he was elected: “Bush is the kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with.”

    I wonder if his victims cared.

  34. 34
    DonT says:

    @EconWatcher:

    I can only wish there is a hell so W and his puppeteer could go there

  35. 35
    Boots Day says:

    Handwritten in the tight script of President George W. Bush, both notes said essentially the same thing: “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.”

    Fournier seems to think this shows some kind of humility on the part of Bush. To me, it reads as if Bush is literally equating himself with America.

  36. 36
    Morzer says:

    Speaking of another “good man”, here’s the ad Democrats are running against Hounddog Sanford in SC:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol.....al/275118/

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    Bad people are always easy to detect because they have black top hats and long mustaches and give evil cackling laughter while they are tying a helpless blond lady in a poofy skirt to some train tracks.

    Everyone else is Good.

  38. 38
    DougJ says:

    @Larv:

    Yes.

  39. 39

    Hitler’s girlfriend was a beard. But he liked dogs.

  40. 40
    Mandalay says:

    @Jimbo:

    This is part of that whole “would you like to have a beer with candidate X” test that I’ve *never* understood. I don’t want someone in arguably the most powerful position in the world to be my drinking buddy

    You might not, but we are much more likely to vote for people we like. And we like people we can relate to. And so Dubya’s minders pushed carefully calculated cozy narratives such as “have a beer” and “clearing brush at the ranch” and “Laura keeps me grounded”. The average voter readily identifies with having a beer, doing yard work, and dealing with their spouse: Hey, that guy may have blood soaked hands from invading Iraq based on a pack of lies, but you know what, underneath the hood he’s just like me!

    You may not be gullible enough to fall for all the tire swing ploys, but millions are, and Dubya’s minders understood this very well. The minders of Gore, Kerry and Romney…not so much.

  41. 41
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Boots Day: To me, it reads as if Bush is literally equating himself with America.

    Absolutely. Remember teh story about how if old friends called him “George” he would say something like “Who are you talking to?” I’m sure it’s understood that himself still likes to be called “Mr President”, or at least “43” with close friends, if not some twist on “Commander in Chief”.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    WRT Republicans, and especially in the Obama years, the bewildering (to me) obsession that personality is more important than policy is one of the key tenets of Broderism. See also, “If President Obama had invited Mitch McConnell to the living quarters….”

    Yep, “I care about his character, not his politics…” The thing that goes unsaid is that you can’t separate character from politics – the one shows the other. A person who starts a devastating war under false pretenses is not a “good guy,” regardless of how he treats his granddaughter or the White House press corps, any more than Hitler can be a “good guy” after opening a constellation of extermination camps, even if he was nice to his dog.

    Of course, if you want to judge Bush solely by his interactions with the people Washington thinks really matter, he’d still be a piece of trash. It started in the primaries with his campaign waving around a picture of McCain’s daughter and calling her “an illegitimate black child,” and the next eight years were very much in keeping with that.

  43. 43
    Schlemizel says:

    “Now its true what they say about Boss Grissom. He was a murderer and a fiend. On the other hand, he had a lovely singing voice”
    – the joker

  44. 44
    Jamey says:

    Bush mocked a condemned woman. That fact, written on a post-it, should be the entire contents of any so-called G.W. Bush library.

    This is not a good man. Now watch this drive …

  45. 45
    scav says:

    @Schlemizel: And Thatcher had lovely ankles I hear.

  46. 46
    Chris says:

    @Mandalay:

    The minders of Gore, Kerry and Romney…not so much.

    Romney thought that sort of pandering was beneath him. He’s Mitt Romney, for Pete’s sake. He’s doing us all a favor by lowering himself to run for our own sake, and we should damn well be smart enough to acknowledge it.

    Bush didn’t mind going out and meeting the peons – I suspect he got off on the adulating crowds, like a lot of politicians do.

  47. 47
    Jay says:

    I brought up Fournier’s son here once before.

    I do think y’all are right that Fournier wouldn’t focus as much on special-needs kids (if at all) if he didn’t have one.

    But my point, as a guy with Cerebral Palsy, is that being disabled (or being the loved one of someone who is) gives a person a choice: 1)Support equality for all as a way of taking revenge on the thugs and bigots who see us as less than normal, or 2)Let your tormentors win by joining them.

    Weeks ago, Fournier wrote some assholish thing pointed out here by (I believe) DougJ, and I brought up Fournier’s son in comments. I did so only to show that-although he writes well about his son-Ron Fournier, by and large, doesn’t seem to have taken the right lessons from being the parent of a disabled kid; the lessons of being compassionate to all and supporting a public policy agenda that makes everyone’s lives better.

    Postscript: Chris @42 brings up John McCain. I hate that he went through what he went through with his adopted daughter. But what has his response been? To join bigots in supporting something like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and to never fully brush off the anti-Obama racism of the 2008 campaign, offering a lukewarm response to the Birthers and cozying up to Palin.

    FFS, John McCain can’t even brush his own hair because his arms were nearly ripped off by torturers, but I’m fairly certain that meanspirited motherf-cker would deny me a wheelchair if I asked for one.

  48. 48
    shpx.ohfu says:

    @James Hare it’s so unseemly – bragging about doing shit a normal man just does

  49. 49
    Chris says:

    @Jay:

    Oh, absolutely. Believe me, my contempt for McCain was in full spin after watching him be an obedient Bush soldier for eight years and then adopt all his strategies… and fuck, the way he’s been since he lost made me lose any shred of respect I might otherwise have had for him.

  50. 50
    flukebucket says:

    George is a good man who loves the Lord and is really good with money just like all of the rest of the Republicans.

  51. 51
    pzerzan says:

    If Bush really cared about autistic kids, he would call for more federal funding to help them out. That’s why government exists-there are problems so big that they require collective action. However, Republicans believe any assistance government provides is HITLER!!! so autistic kids all over the US have to suffer.

    That’s the difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals with autistic kids would look at not-so-well-off families with autistic kids and say “while I’m having difficulties, those families are going through what I’m going through but with less resources” and want to take action to address this. Conservatives with autistic kids may feel sympathy for those less-well-off families but ultimately will fight any meaningful action because their sense of entitlement regarding wealth is greater than their need to address problems like helping autistic kids…

  52. 52
    Mike G says:

    Handwritten in the tight script of President George W. Bush, both notes said essentially the same thing: “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.”

    The Chimp’s personal history is littered with anecdotes like this about his peevishness in demanding forelock-tugging deference and subservience from everyone all the time. It’s the mark of a small-minded man who lacks actual accomplishments.

    Compare this to his constant put-down nicknames for journalists and staff. Not to mention the arrogant dickishness of equating himself with the entire country.

  53. 53
    Kyle says:

    @Chris:

    But if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help. He’ll help direct the rig to the right house and count the kids coming out and say, “Where’s Sally?” He’s responsible. He’s not an intellectual.

    Funny, because I always imagined Bush as being the obnoxious drunk down the street who would say, “Who cares, it’s not my house”. Or he’d cut the firemen’s hose to get a laugh out of his sniggering asshole buddies. Then after the trucks departed, he’d bitch about his taxes and “overpaid unionized firefighters.”

  54. 54
    Nutella says:

    So GWB writes a nice thank you note just like GHWB did.

    BFD.

  55. 55
    TG Chicago says:

    Bush is so great that he rounded up hundreds of innocents and threw them in Gitmo. And he oversaw a worldwide torture ring! What a humanitarian.

    I guess spending an hour with his buddy’s kid makes up for all that.

  56. 56
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    The point is that anyone is a “good man” if you look at him the right way.

    Not John Kerry. If you don’t believe me, just ask Lon Lynn Cheney.

  57. 57
    patroclus says:

    @Kyle: Based on his actual history, GWB would probably have been yukking it up with a gift guitar while the burning of the house raged on, then he would point the rig to the wrong house, then he would order one of his friends to beat up/torture someone who had nothing to do with causing the fire, thereby causing the fire to spread throughout the entire town, wrecking the local economy and ruining the lives of all of its residents to whom he had previously given nonsensical nicknames.

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @taylormattd:

    Shoot me.

    No.

    Instead, hang the deserting coward.

    Furthermore, let the birds pick at the corpse.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Right after the deserting coward was installed into office, I was grousing about having this guy put into a position of responsibility given that there is documentary evidence that he did not report for duty to the Massachusetts National Guard at the same time he moved to Boston to get his Harvard MBA, and he was still under a six year military obligation.

    My dad countered that he was “a good man”. I told my dad right then and there that he was NOT a good man. He’d demonstrated that he wasn’t, and people still voted for him.

    Five years later, my Dad came to me and said “you were right about George Bush. He’s not a good man.”

  60. 60
    John M. Burt says:

    @El Cid: I trust you are aware that the stage persona of Simon LeGree was a vicious caricature of Thaddeus Stevens, one of a handful of heroes who can truly be said to have saved the Union.

  61. 61
    Ted & Hellen says:

    President Obama thinks GWB is a good man.

    He has feted him at the White House, and will attend and participate in the dedication of GWB’s giant Sepulchre of Stupid at SMU.

    You Bots need to fall in line…

  62. 62
    fuckwit says:

    Oh for fuck’s sake!!! And Dzhokhar Tsnarnaev was a cool, mellow, friendly, polite, laid-back stoner kid that everyone liked… EXCEPT FOR THE PEOPLE HE MAIMED AND KILLED!!!

    Jeeezus fuck. Have we learned nothing about the banality of evil this week? Nothing at all?

    Here it is folks: evil is banal. Ordinary, polite, nice people with actual feelings who love animals (know who was a vegetarian?) and their kids, who are church/mosque/temple-going people, upstanding and virtuous in their dealings with others, and generally likable, can be unspeakably evil. Read Hannah Arendt, for fuck’s sake.

    Shrub is by all accounts a back-slapping, glad-handing kind of guy, has been extremely attentive and kind to certain people he respects (i.e. going jogging with injured veterans), and was a damn good pilot. What else? He also started two wars, fucked over the public, stole two elections, treated other countries like shit, ran roughshod over the Constitution, etc etc. NONE OF THOSE THINGS ARE INCOMPATIBLE AT ALL.

    Ask any experienced cop or detective. They know. Anyone is capable of anything.

    Evil is banal. Anyone can be kind and generous in one situation, and horrifically evil in others. There aren’t too many cartoon-book, black-and-white, all-or-nothing monsters or heroes. Please leave that simplistic crap for the fundamentalists.

  63. 63
    Calouste says:

    @taylormattd:

    Germany has a President, America has an elected King.

  64. 64
    David Koch says:

    @Jay:

    FFS, John McCain can’t even brush his own hair because his arms were nearly ripped off by torturers, but I’m fairly certain that meanspirited motherf-cker would deny me a wheelchair if I asked for one.

    I’m sure of it.

    in 2008, McCain voted against Jim Webb’s modest $2 Billion new GI Bill saying it was too generous. He could care less about the GIs coming back from Iraq without limbs and with PTSD

Comments are closed.