Everybody has at least one dirty little secret. I happen to have two.
First, I have an unhealthy appreciation for the hair metal of the 1980s. Names like Poison, Motley Crue and Axl Rose stir a fondness in my heart that I am ashamed to admit.
Second, and perhaps most shockingly, I like President Bush.
I'm not going to call myself a Republican or get his face tattooed on my chest, but I do like the guy.
I met George W. Bush when he was the governor of Texas, and I had the opportunity to briefly speak with him twice. During my few minutes with him back when I was in high school and he was the governor of Texas, we didn't speak about anything particularly controversial or newsworthy.
I asked him how his family was doing, and he spoke highly and enthusiastically of them. He asked what I wanted to study in college, a question I still can't answer. I asked him the usual things.
While the conversation was nothing special, it shocked me to see how he handled himself. He came off as cool, collected and engaging. He even struck me as fairly intelligent.
Yes, the same Bush who is now our president and the regular target of Saturday Night Live parodies, impressed me.
Of course, I see the same news feeds that everybody else does, and I can't deny that Bush often comes off as bumbling, confused and not all that smart. He obviously does not have the proper television presence for the job.
I was discussing this with a friend of mine last weekend, and he responded, “Why do you think they hired Donald Rumsfeld?” He contended that anyone would look great when compared to our secretary of defense.
While I may be in the camp that thinks Rumsfeld could possibly be evil incarnate, I do not want to sell the guy short. He at least has some chutzpah, something our president seems to be lacking in his televised public appearances.
I imagine that Bush's problems are due to a combination of increased public exposure, as well as having dozens of people constantly coaching him from the back.
The fact that his speechwriters have not adjusted to his style of speaking is not helping matters either.
Cut him some slack. When I hear people criticize Bush, their comments are usually derisive and directed toward his intelligence level or his way of pronouncing a few words. After that, critics then thrown in otherwise valid remarks.
Every time I see Rumsfeld speak, I may want to give him a pitchfork and a flagon of goat's blood, but I won't use that as a basis for my argument. No, really.
Attack the job Bush has been doing as president, not the man himself. Has he done an adequate job as our leader? I contend that he has. You may disagree, and that's fine — so long as your arguments are valid.
Doing a satirical comedy sketch is one thing; ripping into his latest minor speech flub when you are trying to make a legitimate criticism is another thing entirely.
Of course, my argument is likely for naught, since Bush is a very public figure, and all public figures are subject to intense scrutiny of all aspects of their lives.
That isn't going to change any time soon.
Am I too sympathetic? Perhaps I am, but I do feel that if people focused more on what Bush has done rather than how he looks when he tells us he has done it, his term as president would be painted in a fairer light.
Bean, a junior communication major, can be reached at email@example.com.