Unreported Bush Interview

James Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Mon Aug 16 14:33:34 PDT 1999

Up to now, I have been inclined that Bush's candidacy won't be seriously damaged by the rumors of his youthful high living and cocaine use. After all, Clinton easily survived the discoveries of his womanizing back in 1992 and he has since managed to survive an impeachment process that centered around illicit sex in the White House. However, if Bush continues to keep an extreme defensive posture, he may well inflict serious damage on his candidacy. It would seem that some lessons from the Clinton play book might be in order for him.

Also, his joking about the execution of Karla Faye Tucker could do him some damage too. It could hurt him with the religious right especially the Pat Robertson crowd that had opposed her execution (apparently in the belief that while the death penalty in general is a good thing, it is inappropriate for white born-again Christians of the female persuasion). At the time Bush had made a big deal about how he prayed over his decision etc., etc., in the Tucker Carlson interview he presented the whole thing as a joking matter. Besides possible alienating people on the religious right, Bush comes across looking like a callous asshole lacking in the gravitas required for the presidency.

Jim F.

On Mon, 16 Aug 1999 16:11:43 -0400 Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com> writes:
>[From Chris Caldwell's column in NY Press. He's writing about the
>premiere issue of Talk, and this is about his Weekly Standard
>colleague Tucker Carlson's profile of young Bush. The full column,
>which blasts Lucinda Franks & Hillary, is at
>Carlson's article on Bush was a considerably more professional job,
>and the consensus among righties in Washington is that it's going to
>do Bush a great deal of damage. Not because of the governor's
>tendency to pepper his sentences with "fuck," "fucking" and
>"fucked"which is the revelation that has the Bush staff most upset.
>No, it's three counts:
>(1) Abortion. Bush told Carlson he had no idea whether abortions had
>gone up or down in the state since he became governor, an indication
>of his true level of interest in the issue.
>(2) Karla Faye Tucker, the convicted murderer who was "born again" in
>prison, and who was executed last year after Bush denied her appeal
>for a stay. You can make an argument for Bush's decision on policy
>grounds. But he didn't have to treat Carlson to a piping "Oooh! don't
>kill me!" imitation of Karla Faye Tucker pleading for clemency in the
>last days of her life. Something about the incident left me with the
>impression that this particular comic routine had been honed by
>repetition at dozens of stag poker nights. (Haw! Haw! Haw!) One
>wonders whether the country will get to know Bush is the worst kind
>of swaggering preppy pig.
>(3) Cocaine. When Carlson asked about the rumors of Bush's high
>living as a young man, the candidate blew his top. That's the line
>Bush has taken with the newspapers that have been trying to get the
>governor to admit he's used cocaine. "There's a game of vicious
>gossip," he told one newsman, "and I'm not going to participate in
>the game of vicious gossip. If the voters don't like that, they can
>find someone else to be for." In particular, the Daily News has asked
>the question of 12 candidates and Bush is the only one not to have
>answered. He always replies with some discursion on the "politics of
>personal destruction." Anytime you hear "politics of..." the guy
>might as well be saying, "Bullshit alert!"
>This stuff is either off-limits or it's not. Who knows whether Bush
>will eventually be forced to admit he's tried cocaine. But he can't
>brag about his marital fidelity, as he does in the Talk article,
>without opening himself to reporters' asking the question again and
>again. Watch out.

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