E. Zimmerman


Compassionate Conservatism and Other Pipe Dreams

Editor's note: I met this writer in a cab. He was the driver, and for some reason I just asked him if he was a writer. Indeed, he was, and he handed me this. This was in December, so this appreciation of George W. Bush may look a little dated now, as his troubles have shifted from "Did he take drugs?" to "Does he have an I.Q.?". I wanted to print this article to show that I'll probably win a bet my live music critic Scott White and I made just before Xmas. He said that Dubya had too much money and momentum to be stopped from getting the GOP nomination. I said that I used to think that, but that McCain will pull off an upset. I said that at first you actually want to root for Dubya, because most guys can empathize with an underacheiver who had a drinking problem. But then you remember all the spoiled brat privelidge he came from, and his policies, and his lack of a vision thing, and the fact he has Bill Clinton's skeletons in his closet but Dan Quayle's brain in his head, and before you know it, he's gone quicker than Frankie Goes to Hollywood. We'll see what happens. As I write this, I just read in today's Chronicle that McCain still refers to his Viet-cong captors as "Gooks" and won't stop saying it, so, who knows... I guess there goes the Chinatown vote.

When the American 'Inheritocracy' utters a word like compassion, sirens should go off...bells should ring...people should shout, "Leave us the money!" Fortunately for the family of George Bush, all major news outlets are owned and operated by neighbors, classmates and fellow club members; inheritors one and all. The rest of us must therefore listen to reports, debates, critiques and discussions of compassionate conservatism, all designed to convince us of the existence of something we know to be impossible. The creation of media smoke is more often than not a quest for fire. In the case of the governor of Texas this smoke is just old crack residue leaking from the pipe. A search for evidence of compassion in the life and times of G.W. Bush is like trying to find a member of his socio-economic class on Texas' death row. A search of keywords like frat boy greed and protected ill-behavior produce much more interesting results. If, however, George W. doesn't come right out and tell us how often, how much, and what kind of drugs he has been in possession of, how can we be sure? If no one from the seedy side of campus at Yale (fraternity row?) comes forward; if no one from the trailer parks on the outskirts of Kennebunkport (are there really?) drops a dime, we'll be forced to speculate. Maybe I'm already jumping to conclusions bringing up trophy destinations like Yale and K-port.

Indications are that Shrub Bush is already down with whassup in the hood or at the very least has 'waited for his man' in some very dicey quarters... "Talk about quality...whoever said Dad's connections at CIA weren't worth a whittle? To deliver this stuff these guys would land helicopters in the gardens and build pontoon bridges across the pool...talk about fresh!" His refusal to "catalogue (his) youthful indiscretions" is becoming an inability to catalogue for the sheer quantity of dates and periods and years bandied about by the candidate and his handlers. His August 19th response to a journalist's question about cocaine use set the Hoover on 'blow'. By August 23rd we'd heard that he hasn't used drugs in 7, 15, or 25 years in response to requirements established by either or both the Clinton and Bush administrations, the FBI, the CIA, the Military, 7-11 and K-Mart (for lift operators). He's been drug-free since he was 18 or 28 or 46 or at least since Tuesday night. In his teens he and his posse must have been easy to spot in the alleys of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, limos nearby, idling in drive, stereos blasting... "Cocaine's for horses, not for men." Tell us about it, Tex. While some may see this "fact circle" as an inept attempt to avoid the truth entirely, I fear we may be missing some cryptic outreach to some of his more disenfranchised soulmates.

These numbers roughly coincide with seminal movements in American couter-cultural history like Jimi and Janis at Woodstock or sitting out the Vietnam War in the Texas Air National Guard. I suppose it didn't matter if Dubya and the other senator's sons assigned to watch for a Vietcong counter-offensive on Brownsville were stoned or not. They were always wearing sunglasses anyway. "Dub" Bush has still not spoken directly to where he was "When the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars". Neither has he clarified allusions to the famous "Inca Pep Rallies" at DK fraternity house, nor responded to claims that they were mandatory for Anthropology majors. There is speculation that the use of cattle-style branding of frat house members at DK was actually an in-house med-alert system for responding appropriately t drug emergencies. These indicators may be lost on the straight-laced election press corps literally wallowing in Duby'all's compassion but the seasoned Dub watcher is reminded of that winter vacation in Colorado when he spoke of nothing but the "Aspen lift lines". Dub has been forced to keep his compassion on a short leash while governing Texas. Left unchecked, compassion might have gotten in the way while he was signing law after law to deal harshly with youthful indiscretions identical to his own...perhaps he's exorcising demons...and simultaneously helping tens of thousands of young people to fill entry level positions in America's most successful public/ private joint venture, the prison system. Don't get him going on the cost-benefit analysis of slave labor.

Actually, those in the know on the subject of mind-expanding substances find the possibility of his experimentation hard to fathom. Rarely have the doors of perception seemed so securely locked as when Dub seeks to wax philosophic. In fact, in the Septmember issue of Talk magazine, when asked what he's not good at, Dub responded, "Sitting down and reading a 500-page book on public policy or philosophy or something." How about "Foreign Policy Comix"? In the annals of drug abuse, Dub is certainly not the only one in history to deadbolt the doors of perception. Certain drugs seem to actually encourage it; light beer, for example, oceans of which reportedly floated Mr. Bush through prep school, college and beyond, depositing him some years back like a surf-city breaker, squinting and smirking, on the foggy shores of sobriety. Ever since, he's seemed unable to surf one wave without his bootspurts severing his ankle cord in one verbal wipeout after another. In calling Bush "as dumb as a post", St. Petersburg Times' editorial writer Bill Maxwell sites his many apparent geographic blunders but I'm not so sure they're blunders at all. Journalists who've harped on his 'mislabeling' of East Timorese as "East Timorians" have obviously never toked on Timorian templeballs.
Dub knows the difference between "Greek" and "Grecian". He was probably talking about a type of Mediterranean cocaine so rejuvenating it's reputed to "Get the gray out". He didn't call Kosovars "Kosovians"; he knows that Kosovars finance the KLA by selling "Kosovian" to the rest of Europe. Don't waste my time with Slovakia? Slovenia. There's not one junkie in Texas who knows the difference.