Will Durst

The Great Decider…or something like that

By - Nov 15th, 2010 04:00 am
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You have to marvel at George W Bush’s audacious return to the national stage, not to mention his curious timing. After all, there wasn’t what you would call an overwhelming popular demand clamoring for his reappearance. Apparently, even putative war criminals got to make a living.

But it’s going to take more than one media-blitzing book tour to scrub his image. For that, he’ll either need another two or three decades of restorative exile or a wire-mesh scouring pad the size of Albania.

Here comes the New Bush, just like the Old Bush. The first volume of 43’s memoirs (oh, there will be more) has been released. And though you know in your heart he wanted to call it The Great Decider or Decisions Decided by the Deciding Decider, cooler heads prevailed at Crown Publishing Group, simply titling it Decision Points as told to George Bush by Dick Cheney. Okay, I just made that last part up. And neither is Amazon bundling the autobiography with My Pet Goat, but it’s a fiendishly good idea.

Not sure who edited this puppy, but he’s got a long way to go to live up to the standards set in previous Bush Family tell-alls, especially the one penned by his mother’s dog. Booksellers will surely decide where to stock the volume differently, depending on their geography. In Dallas, it will go under Biography. DC, Current Events. San Francisco, Horror. And New Orleans, True Crime.

To be honest, it’s kind of creepy to see Laura’s husband plastered all over the tube again after a two-year sabbatical. It’s kind of like Hollywood rebooting a particularly gruesome series of Nightmare on K Street movies. Can’t be easy for him either, flacking 512 pages of redacted reminiscences with an approval rating still hovering around “go to snake belly and dig.” But that’s show biz.

This collection of recollections or, more precisely, lack thereof, is about as revealing as an aerial view of an underground bunker. Like a negligee on your grandma. You’re afraid of what you might see but can’t help looking. No problem. To say this print revival effort is not big on revelations is like implying moles don’t need sunblock. Then again, maybe it’s a continuation his own personal, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Then Lie, policy. George Bush and introspection: Not a match.

He does nail a colloquial tone in this tome, leading off with a self- deprecating tour of his storied misspent youth. Then he takes too much time whining about the churlish noise of politics, oblivious to the fact that his good buddy Karl Rove is responsible for adding numerous decimal points to the decibel damage. He goes on to speak about how happy he is to be out of Washington, and with all due respect, may I say, sir, that makes 310 million of us.

Throughout the book, Bush clings to the notion that waterboarding is legal and not torture (cuz a guy said so), which should hold a measure of solace for the segment of the book-reading public who would rather be waterboarded than read this unapologetic, self-serving hogwash. Although admittedly, compared to other presidential self-chroniclings, it’s not half-bad. Definitely two steps above the expected “I Can Haz Prezidenzy?” crayons, sold separately.

Will Durst is a Milwaukee native and San Francisco based humor columnist who frequently tells jokes. Out loud. On stage. In front of people, ideally. Will returns to Milwaukee the week of Thanksgiving, with appearances at the Safe House, Paolo’s & the Railroad Station. Details at willdurst.com. His new CD, Raging Moderate, is now available from Stand Up! Records on iTunes and Amazon. Early next year, a book of his own, Where the Rogue Things Go! from Ulysses Press.

Categories: Commentary, Politics

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