Credit Where Credit is Due

As much as many of us hate George W. Bush, it's amazing that hate isn't reciprocated in some way. But it isn't. His detractors say he's the first president since Herbert Hoover to actually lose the nation jobs–and that we'll never get out of Iraq. But Bush loves them–and he'd love to love you, baby, if you'd just give him a chance.

Our nation needs love, the president told a Louisville, Kentucky, audience in 2002: “What you can do to help is you can love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.” The creators of a new DVD, Bushisms–an entry in the periodic series that chronicles the president's past four years in his own words–try to do just that. They use Dubya's own remarks to help them help us help, er, love others.

The struggle for love, for Iraqi freedom and for domestic prosperity is not easy, the president reminds us in the hourlong feature. Our nation's problems may not even be solved by the presidential election. As Bush said of Iraq, “It'll take time to restore chaos.” Yet as occupied Bush is by Iraq, he's also busy at home–a point the Bushisms creators make quite effectively. He's working to snatch Social Security from the clutches of the federal government, to make prescription drugs “an ingrinable part of Medicare” and, above all, to preserve literacy.

We worry about losing these things, but Bush worries, too. As he told one audience, we need to ask ourselves, “Is our children learning?” In 2001, he was more explicit: “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.” The next year, in Washington, D.C., he upped the ante, challenging listeners: “Why don't you volunteer? Why don't you help admentor a child?”

Here, as comedian Brian Unger notes, is a man who has gone so far as to invent words—for example, ingrinable and admentor–to better communicate with us. Are we really doing all we can as Americans to get our point across, to share our love?

“One of the unwritten rules of the presidency is that you can't invent words, and it's about time people stopped criticizing the president for doing that,” Unger said. It's amazing to think that this latest Bushisms installment was in fact compiled by liberals–but it was. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau and commentator Al Franken are here, too, and Franken's on the same page as Unger. Maybe liberals are finally catching on.

“I think by now people just want a president. . . . They don't care if you're a good old boy. They want their president to be smart,” Franken said.

Perhaps it's time to put the past behind us and move on. Bush thinks so; he told a Dallas Morning News reporter in 2000, “I think we agree the past is over.” It certainly is.

Bushisms is available on DVD at Tower and Sam Goody record stores, at and area bookstores, and finer video emporiums.

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