Crawford Weekend?

October 29, 2004

I believe that GWB is still planning to spend this weekend, the weekend before the election, at home in Crawford. This seems a mite odd, and I know that the lefty blogosphere has been speculating about it. I see three plausible explanations: he is lazy, he is planning a surprise trip, or he is seriously ill. None are likely to change my voting decision.

EDIT - it appears that GWB is indeed campaigning this weekend. Please disregard the following conspiracy theories.

1, He is lazy. This is the least likely of the three. While it is true that GWB is the vacation president (tm), taking more time off than even Chester Arthur (the previous gold standard for lazy), he is also a very competitive person. In fact, if I were to tell GWB as an Aristotelian tragedy I would focus on his competitiveness as his tragic trait. I find it highly unlikely that he would let his laziness take over his competitive streak in a long-planned last minute rest.

2, He is planning something. This is the most popular interpretation among people who remember Bush's earlier Thanksgiving trip to Iraq. That trip left from Crawford, and the thought is that he may have planned something similar as a bit of election-eve grandstanding. If this is the case, I see it as a gamble by BushCo that the symbolism of the moment will resonate immediately while the cynical response will lag a few days. They did, after all, get a nice short-term boost out of the carrier landing, and this is a crowd that will do almost anything for a short-term political gain.

The smart money seems to be on a trip to Afghanistan, which just completed elections, rather than a trip to the far more dangerous Iraq. In either case, it will be interested to see if he gets a short term boost, or if the earlier carrier landing and Thanksgiving dinner have primed us to read his actions as expensive abuses of taxpayer money for political junkets. Still, they say that the point of flattery is not that the person believes what they are telling you, but that they care enough to go to the trouble to find a lie you will like. Enough voters may feel flattered by the gimmick to vote for GWB, and in a close election that might just do it.

3, The most disturbing option is that Bush is actually very ill. People have been speculating about the bulge in Bush's suits and the harness he appears to wear at all times. It may be a wire and earpiece, or it may be a medical device. The fact that Bush deferred his public checkup until after the election, despite having had several off days during the cycle, makes folks wonder if he is hiding some sort of health problem.

If he has been hiding something, and lying about wearing a device, then it will cause more serious harm to his credibility and to the credibility of his office. This is a man who will say anything for short-term gain. If he has lied to voters about his ability to serve, during an election, well, that gets into Woodrow Wilson territory. (You remember him - incapacitated with a stroke, he let his wife run the government for the last year of his term. Laura Bush is more competant than Edith Wilson, but still.)

I hope this third case is not the real story, both for his sake and for the sake of the nation.

The cynical bastard in me wonders if we will see BushCo win the election, Cheney step down due to heart troubles, Bush appoint a buddy as Veep, and then GWB step down due to his health troubles. That would be troubling. It is also a very unlikely scenario.

I am betting either on Afghanistan as in case number 2, or in a decision to call off the flying trip because it will lose more voters than it will win.

Posted by Red Ted at October 29, 2004 09:29 AM | TrackBack