While the major media continue to hype
George W. as Mr. Nice Guy, the truth
is starting to emerge

By Bev Conover


What does it say about Texas Gov. George W. Bush's fitness to be president when he goes after the creator of a parody web site - www.gwbush.com - and loses his cool when a group of Republican financial backers ask him to clarify oblique responses to questions about his embarrassing past?

Were he not the son of a former president and the creature of the major media's rapture over the idea of the first son since John Quincy Adams to follow his father's footsteps into the White House, Dubya would garner a footnote in history as one of the Lone Star State's less than illustrious governors.  Whether the majors will come to their senses at some point is an open question.

Not all journalists are enthralled with Dubya. Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Molly Ivins has minced no words in pointing to Dubya's sorry record as governor, noting that Texas ranks 50th in social services for the poor and among the top when it comes to further enriching the Guv's millionaire and billionaire friends.   Ivins has even noted that George W. puts his foot in his mouth when he opens it in public.  Former Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, host of Hightower Radio and editor of The Hightower Lowdown - also author of the book "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" - also has pulled no punches in revealing how Dubya takes care of his friends at the expense of the people, the environment and Texas' natural resources.

So far their messages are either not making it to or are being ignored by the New York and Washington major media.  Could it be a distance thing?

Yet, the majors can't totally ignore Dubya's ignorance of national and international issues. The Boston Globe last Sunday reported that the Guv was undergoing cram courses on what his handlers think will be the issues that come up this week as he sojourns to Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine and Boston.

Globe reporter Michael Kranish wrote that Bush sent an "urgent email" to top foreign policy adviser Condoleezza Rice, asking, "What is this dispute in East Timor all about?"  Rice, Kranish said, "had to scramble to explain the fighting in the former Portuguese colony to gain independence from Indonesia."

Calling Dubya "an empty vessel," Kranish said Bush fires off inquiries on a host of topics "foreign and domestic," adding, "Bush has convened meetings with advisers on everything from gasoline additives to tax cuts."  An empty vessel, indeed, and this fella want to be president.

So far, the majors don't seem concerned with how empty Dubya is.  To questions about the "vision thing" - something the Guv's daddy lacked - they have accepted Dubya's nebulous mumblings and declared he has it. No one seems quite sure of what the "it" is, though.

Then there is the matter of extolling Dubya as Mr. Nice Guy, when all indications point to a hot temper and an acerbic personality. Zack Exley, the creator of the parody www.gwbush.com site, has already found that out. But Dubya's handlers feed propaganda - such as this: "Bush's advisers even wonder how the governor's laid-back public manner might resonate on the stump" - to the likes of the Kranishes to make their man more palatable to the public.

Another area barely touched at all by the majors is Dubya's business dealings and the less than noble history of the Bush family - alleged Nazi connections, the depth of CIA involvement, Uncle Prescott Bush's China deals and his part in arranging for the sale of U.S. satellites to China, ad infinitum. Perhaps in the coming presidential campaign it will be the online publications that lead the way in getting the facts to the people.

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