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The Politics of Inexperience
March 16, 2004
By Scott C. Smith

The George W. Bush Google bomb has been pretty successful. The idea was for folks to put the phrase "miserable failure" into a web page with a link to Bush's official White House biography. The Google search engine would then record that link, so that a search on Google for "miserable failure" produces Bush's bio as the first hit.

As a participant in this experiment, I actually had never bothered to go to the White House web page and read Bush's biography. As I was waiting for a freshly painted wall to dry, I thought I'd give it a look.

What struck me first was not the horror of Bush's mug staring right at me (I think the eyes move) nor the temptation to run the Barney Cam (Barney looks like the White House spong monkey), but rather the section which lists Bush's previous job experiences, a sort of mini-resume. Here's what it says:

• Owner, Oil and Gas Business

• Partner, Texas Rangers baseball team

• Governor of Texas

• President of the United States (2000-2004)

That's it! What kind of resume is that? Even I've owned a failed oil and gas business. Okay, I'm lying. I was, however, governor of Texas, briefly. Okay, that's a lie, too.

Politics is a strange business because it's one of the few professions where no experience is required for the job. In fact, it's considered a plus to not have any political experience. It's interesting to compare the job experiences of Bill Clinton to George W. Bush. As men in their 20s and 30s, only one of the two was actually doing something with his life, and I'm not referring to being an expert with a beer bong. When Bill Clinton was 30, he was elected attorney general of the State of Arkansas.

When George W. Bush was 30, he had received a citation for driving under the influence of alcohol in Maine. Bush refers to that as "youthful indiscretion." Think about it: Bush was a heavy drinker until the age of 40. So that's the secret to being elected President - lots of experience drinking booze, and being a failed businessman. Mediocrity - the key to winning a presidential election.

Apparently Republicans have very low standards for the politicians they support. How else to explain J. Danforth Quayle? Not only did he serve in the Congress, but, get this - he actually was Vice President of the United States of America! Really! And like his spiritual brother, George W. Bush, Quayle had some issues with public speaking. I've got one word for these two: Toastmasters. Look into it.

In California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor, and the only experience he had was groping women and bodybuilding. Although, to be fair, he did star in Predator, which was a great flick. Oh, and the Terminator films. Great movies. And now people want to amend the Constitution so he can run for president. He'd win, too, at least as far as Republicans go. I'm surprised former Oregon Senator Bob Packwood didn't aspire for a higher office. What with his experience in drinking and womanizing, he'd make the perfect president. Or, California governor.

I wonder if Democrats have a problem with expecting their candidates to actually have experience, and education? We support, or have supported, candidates like Bill Clinton, a Rhodes scholar; Howard Dean, a medical doctor; and John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, Yale graduate and prosecutor. All smart men, to be sure; we also support smart women like Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro, and Carol Moseley Braun. We like to have smart people in office.

A Democratic president is not likely to say publicly, "I am the master of low expectations," as George W. Bush has said. When we learned Bush had a "C" average in college it really came as no surprise. Studying was not at the top of young George's list of priorities. A solid domestic policy isn't at the top of his current list of priorities; I suspect that the only item on Bush's list of priorities is "remember to nap."

Oh, wait, I thought of something else George W. Bush is good at: taking vacations. And lying. So, when you get down to it, George W. Bush is the perfect Republican.


About the author: Scott C. Smith is a freelance writer based out of Beaverton, Oregon. Scott writes for his web site, What's in Scott's Head, at scottcsmith.net. In his spare time, Scott doesn't work due to the Bush economy.

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