The true voice of the Amazon returns!

By Camille Paglia

By Salon Staff
September 26, 2000 11:01PM (UTC)
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No, Ms. Paglia, there just aren't many accomplishments to George W. Bush's credit nor any particular disasters one can lay at his door. The Texas Constitution gives the governor less power than in other states so Bush deserves less credit or blame for what happened on his watch.

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A federal judge recently ordered that our state revise how we handle Medicaid, but that suit was filed when Bush's predecessor, Democrat Ann Richards, was governor. Bush supported a tax cut and a teacher pay raise. Both were enacted by a Legislature with a Republican majority but with the support of many Democrats. Bush sat on his hands when industrial polluters were permitted to continue using 30-year-old technology, but so did the federal EPA under Clinton. Texas has a high proportion of poor children without medical insurance, but so do most states with a large population of illegal aliens and the Clinton administration has done more to flout than enforce immigration law.

George W. doesn't deserve credit or blame for much of anything except the sales tax increase which paid for his stadium in Arlington, and even that was enacted by a referendum of the local voters.

-- Jack Olson

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Is Camille Paglia kidding, or what? She writes, "Bush ... is no verbal whiz, but ... much of the national electorate is sick and tired of the glib, smart-ass Ivy League establishment and its alumni network of casuistic lawyers and snide media coteries. Maybe the country could use a nice, stiff dose of West Texas dust and the old, strike-it-rich romance of black crude."

Maybe she's forgotten that George W. went to Yale, just like his daddy and God knows how many other Bushes down through the years. Maybe she's also forgotten that W. grew up surrounded by wealth and servants, and spent his teen years at Andover Prep -- far away from the "West Texas dust" she seems to find so alluring.

If you're going to knock the Ivy League establishment, fine. But don't insult our intelligence by pretending that George W. is some kind of hardscrabble Texan with dust on his boots. He's an Ivy Leaguer through and through -- just like the (unmentioned) Democrats Paglia finds so repulsive.

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-- Vance Cariaga

After reading your column, I realized how similar your thinking on George W. Bush is to mine. Although he is certainly not the most cortical person on the ballot, he does seem to depict the character portrayed in "Giant" (James Dean). If his public relations agents were smart they'd show an ad of him riding up on the back of a big Texas horse (kicking up a trail of dust behind him in the hot hilly countryside) with a cowboy hat on his head, a red and white bandana scarf 'round his neck, tight blue jeans on his waist down to his well-worn Western boots placed snugly in stirrups. He should play James Dean if he hopes to compete with the types of ads the liberals can create. Hollywood is where it's at in creating and maintaining impressions that sell.

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Bush doesn't look so good in a dark blue business suit trying to act like his Yale and Harvard schooling actually did him much good. He would benefit himself greatly if he perfected the role of the oil cowboy (since he has really drilled lots of holes in Texas).

-- Lindy Rose


Salon Staff

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