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 Political

Published

 April, 2008

Synopsis

 George Bush Proves He's a Lame Duck

Fishing For Praise
By Al Owens

George W. Bush wants you to know he’s still the President of the United States. That despite all of the rigamarole the McCain/Obama/Clinton campaigns have generated, sitting presidents need headlines too.

In recent days, Bush has made some concerted, if embarrassingly clumsy, efforts to might make some people question that mantel “The Most Powerful Man on Earth.”

In February, Bush cut a decidedly un-mean rug while paying a visit to Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaft. It was a dance seen ‘round the world. One that made many Democrats joyful there’s presidential term limits.

Bush wasn’t finished dancing though. In early March, while awaiting John McCain’s arrival so he could offer him his presidential stamp of support, the president danced (or whatever they call that) again.
This time, even many Republicans were joyful there are presidential term limits.

On the Monday following Easter, the president must have felt that a giant bunny rabbit (technically somebody dressed like one) seemed a bit lonely during the annual White House Easter egg hunt. He approached and gave the lonesome rodent a big hug.
I’m thinking that with that worldwide image Osama Bin Laden is actually mournful there are presidential term limits.

Nobody would ever begrudge a president of these lighter moments. Calvin Coolidge, for instance, started the now standard practice of inviting sports champions to the White House. In the 1920’s he gave baseball’s champion Washington Senators a White House welcome.
Since then, any president can gain some form of public interest by appearing with the latest American champion. We’ve all seen those White House visits by Super Bowl, NBA, NCAA, Stanley Cup, NASCAR and World Series champions.

They’ve been a rather nice counter-balance to the current administration that seems to know so little about true teamwork or, for that matter, how to win anything with or without a weapon.

“It makes a big difference to be hanging out with people who know how to win,” Bush opined when he welcomed the last season’s World Champion Boston Red Sox to the White House in February. Don’t worry. He hadn’t been talking about the Sox hanging out with himself.
He was really talking about Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, the American League Rookie of the Year, benefitting from his relationship with his more seasoned Sox teammates.

During these visits, Bush gets a chance to issue canned one-liners, and appear to be hip by mentioning the names of a half dozen winning team members.

It’s George Bush at his most human, and I might add, campiest. It makes him seem like a guy who appears to study linebackers down to their sack stats.

That’s why last week I nearly fell off my couch when they reported he’d welcomed the 2008 Bassmaster Classic Champion and 2008 Women's Bassmaster Tour Champion to the White House.
Talk about your slow news days. Or, perhaps, the president’s yearning to somehow temporarily recapture the spotlight from John, Hillary and Barack.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against bass, bass fishing or even people who win bass fishing tournaments. But I have to wonder, what stats could the president reel off (pun intended) when two fisherpersons get ushered into the Oval Office?

Well Bush did what anybody would do while having the burden of seeming conversant about something that doesn’t apparently provide ESPN Plays of the Week.

He adlibbed his appreciation while justifying such a curious event. "I thought it was important to welcome these champs here to the White House so that -- you know, to encourage people to fish. There's nothing better than fishing," he exclaimed.

As you know, Bush sometimes needs Rand McNally to navigate between the subjects and predicates of his sentences. That must’ve been the case when he offered his welcome, and then he got to the words, “you know.”
I’m guessing he suddenly found himself trapped in the ridiculousness of the end to that sentence, “to encourage people to fish.”

I could understand if George Washington had summoned some reporter from Poor Richard to the White House and asked the American public to consider fishing as a means for sustenance. But in 2008, we have Giant Eagles all over the place. Go buy a fish.

Of course the president may have been warning the country that with fuel prices on the steady incline and with the foreclosure rates reaching record levels - we all may need to go out hunt and fish for our own food.

I sure hope he doesn’t hold one of those White House ceremonies for a champion bull rider.