Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bush Breaks Through The Outhouse Floor

President Bush set a record today: he is now officially the worst-hated President in the 70-year history of the Gallup poll. Technically, I suppose he's merely the Most Disapproved-Of, but I assume being widely loathed is part of that package.

Of course, this could change tomorrow, to the mere 60-65% disapproval he usually enjoys these days, but this is the kind of thing I think about when people say McCain has a shot at being President. Not unless he either switches parties or agrees with the 65% of the electorate that says the Iraq war was a mistake. At the moment, McCain has been shedding his maverick image as fast as he can, and sucking up to people--like the religious right--that he's not nearly as good as Bush was at sucking up to. In the process, he's been backing pretty much every one of Bush's policies: more Iraq! More tax cuts! Less health care for all! Help the extremely wealthy not lose money on their homes! And so on. A more quixotic platform could hardly be devised unless he snapped his tether completely and joined the Natural Law Party. The only way to win as a Republican in November, it seems to me, is to promise to fix the Republican party and take it back from its self-destructive idealist extremists. To say, "same as Bush but more of it!" is maverick only in the sense that it's not what you'd expect any politician with an actual dream of getting elected to say.

Bush, by the way, also set a similar record last week: the longest any President has stayed at minority approval since World War II, when Truman had it locked up for over three years. Bush hasn't been above 50% approval for pretty much his entire second term. Place this on the heels of an informal poll of historians where over 60% of them rated his Presidency as the worst ever (and 96% rated it in the bottom ten), and you start to see a pattern. (Good commentary on the historian thing here; lots of fun quotes once you scroll past the first few charts.) No wonder he's also taken more vacations than any President in history. He's clearly just waiting to get fired.

I know the feeling. When this happened to me back at Hallmark, I eventually started ignoring my job altogether, spending my days just reading in my cubicle for fun, and checking out the Internet for good graduate school programs. But since Bush never reads or studies, I assume he's just doing the lazy-and-ignorant equivalent of that: walking around pretending to talk on his cell phone, spending lots of time in the bathroom, and occasionally forwarding YouTube videos of cats. I'm not actually worried about this being the case. If anything really bad happens, I assume Cheney will know who to torture.

Anyway, it's the long-term unpopularity that's more important to watch in these matters. Anyone can have an unusually bad or good day--and the best day Bush ever had was September 12th, 2001. It's only when you can see a President be consistently hated, day in and day out, for years on end, that you can start to appreciate the achievement involved. Of course, history hasn't yet been written. It's possible that Bush's gamble in the Middle East will one day create a haven of democracy and peace for all; that all the sacrifice of lives, all the mortgaging of our future monies, will turn out to be worth it in the end. But I wouldn't wager $280 million a day on it.


Blogger Chad E Burns said...


2 things--on Colbert Report last week (know you don't like Jon, not sure your stance on Stephen) Edwards was on "The Word" section and one of the lines was how Bush has destroyed the middle class in 8 years. I think that was very poignant, almost surreal. I don't know why Americans don't see it like this, why their anger and dis-approval isn't accompanied/manifested by massive social unrest.
2> I think the actions Bush has taken against the people of the middle east, primarily Iraq; and further the back lash and direct actions against the American people and our future constitutes crimes against humanity. there was a researcher on NPR this morning who talked about how the Iraqi gov't is LESS secular, more extremist and more in line with Iran than ever before as a direct result of our actions. The "gov't" is not deemed legitimate because of the lack of secular voice of both Sunni and Shia by gov't such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan. How is that wasteful spending of American goodwill, reputation and money not a crime against his own people; and WHY do we not hear calls of impeachment. Bill Clinton was impeached with a far more favorable rating.

I am really interested in your thoughts on this. After receiving a mandate from the people to do something about Iraq, why has the Democratic Congress not consistantly sent bills with teeth and forced the Senate and President to vote them down?? Why has their not been a manifestation of this disapproval in the form of calls for impeachment?

4/22/2008 4:41 PM  

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