Oh hey there, hipsters, whatcha doin’? Drinking your artisanal organic kale lattes in your too-skinny jeans, cutting your hair into a mullet of irony, LOLing at some listicle of 37 People On The Internet Who Are On The Internet, and thinking George Dubya Bush is, like, cool? Some lady writer at Vanity Fair (who, ahem, used to be a lady writer at this, Yr Wonkette, so we are especially disappointed and are holding a meeting this very moment to decide whether to revoke her Wonk credentials) thinks so.
Lately, George W. Bush is a hipster icon, and the Internet, unofficial Fourth Estate of the youth of America, is totally buying it. [...]
In Bush’s case, this transformation has been all the easier because the arbiters of Internet cool were tween in 2007 and are far more likely to have read a Buzzfeed listicle about Bush’s dog paintings than they are to have read, say, the John Yoo torture memos. But even those old enough to remember hating Bush are wise enough to recognize that they are no longer the deciders (as it were) of what’s hip.
Okay, arbiters of Internet cool, if this is what you really think — and Christ, we hope not, we hope this is just one journolady writing a thing on a slow news week — we have one word for you: CUTTHATSHITOUTRIGHTNOWGODDAMNIT!
We understand that Bush’s awkward self-portraits make for interesting conversation. And yes, it was real nice that he sent an encouraging letter to some football player at the University of Alabama who apparently sucks at playing football. And he likes the Instagram. So hip!
That’s all fine and good for the former president, we guess. Sure, it’s no building houses for poor people like some former presidents. But George W. Bush, for you youngsters out there who don’t remember, never gave an eighth of a damn about the poors. (He once told a woman who had to work three jobs that it was “fantastic” and “uniquely American.” That’s what he used to call compassionate conservatism, before conservatives dropped the pretense of compassion, because fuck the poors.)
So painting pictures of himself in the bathtub is about the best we could expect from him. You know, when he’s not raising money for a group of “Jews” (they are not actually Jews) whose mission is to convert actual Jews so it will be the end times and Jesus will come back and bring unicorns and rainbows to all the true believers. Yeah, stick to painting, George.
So in case you are as dumb as former Bush spokesperson Dana Perino, and you are unaware of anything that happened in history before you were borned, we would like to offer this gentle reminder to clarify that Bush’s “ironic-hat-wearing” and Instagramming does not — or, in a just universe, should not — make him your new hipster leader because of a few little details we will now recite for you:
In 2000, George Bush stoled the White House with an assist from his brother, Jeb “The Smart One” Bush, then governor of Florida, who magically erased a whole bunch of Democratic names from the voter rolls so that when they showed up to vote for not Bush, they were told they couldn’t do that, sorry! (Oh, and maybe a little assistsy from the Supreme Court, but who can even remember that far back?)
Then George Bush sat on his brush-clearing ass, doing nothing, when he was told we were about to be terrorist-attacked, because he was on summer vacation, see, and did not want to be bothered with unimportant stuff like terrorism because that was a Bill Clinton concern, and he was not going to be like Bill Clinton, so he figured, eh, terrorism is not that important. True story!
Then he made us invade Afghanistan. Then he made us invade Iraq because — we shit you not, hipsters, this is a thing he actually said — Saddam Hussein once tried to kill his dad. Oh, and also Bush said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, all over the place, and they were coming right for us, except there were no weapons and they were not coming right for us, and whoops! looks like we bombed the shit out of a country for no reason whatsoever. Which George Bush thought was super funny, ha ha ha. So hip!
When asked, at a press conference in 2004, what his biggest mistakes thus far were and what he’d learned from them — like, say, maybe, ignoring the intelligence that we were going to be terrorist-attacked or invading a country to get its weapons what it did not actually have — Bush’s answer was, “You know, I just — I’m sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn’t yet.”
Then Bush destroyed the economy with his for-no-reason-whatsoever war and also tax cuts for the “the haves and the have-mores,” which Bush called his “base.” Also funny and also hip!
It’s not like his presidency was all jokes and guffaws. There was all that torture his lawyers explained to him was perfectly a-okay. There was all that spying on regular U.S. Americans because hey, those Quaker anti-war protesters were probably up to no good.
There was that time his vice president’s special friend Scooter Libby was convicted of lying about how he outed a CIA operative, and Bush was all, like, Hey, he’s not a bad guy, and except for that treason he committed by outing a CIA operative and jeopardizing national security, Libby has done “exceptional public service” to America, so let’s not leave him rotting in prison after all.
Having had years to reflect on his time in the White House, Bush is still just fine with how he presidented us, by the way, explaining in an interview earlier this year, “I’m comfortable with what I did … I’m comfortable with who I am.” We are soooooo glad he’s comfortable! (Note: That is sarcasm. We are not glad.)
Look, hipsters, we do not have enough pixels on the Internet to give you a fully comprehensive wonksplainer of the eleventeen trillion reasons why George W. Bush, regardless of how he may have “ingeniously refashioned himself” into your new icon, was a terrible president and a terrible man and that is how history should remember him. If you want to get super nerdy, you can read the hypothetical indictment of Bush (and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and Condi Rice and Colin Powell), written by former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, who lawsplained how they were all a bunch of criminals who should be charged with crimes for being criminals because they were criminals.
Sigh. We are exhausted now just remembering a few of the highlights from the dark-as-fuck days of the Bush years, which, for you youngsters who don’t remember, SUCKED. They sucked in ways that cost lives and money, and our country is still triple-fucked sideways because of the things George Bush did to us. And no ironic-hat-wearing pictures on Instagram can change that. If you want him to be your new icon, we humbly suggest you stop looking at cat pictures and photographing your vegan wraps, and learn some goddamned history. You can even do it ironically if you want.