From other blogs, you probably already know about Bush's impassioned defense of his personal exercise regimen:
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and "it's also important for me to go on with my life," on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq.
Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan and others who have joined her protest near the Bush ranch.
..."But," he added, "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life."
The comments came prior to a bike ride on the ranch with journalists and aides.... "I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy," he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him. "And part of my being is to be outside exercising." ...
Of course, George W. isn't the first Bush to worry that his health will be adversely affected if he focuses on the fact that war causes suffering: Just before the Iraq War began, Barbara Bush, the family member W most resembles, said to a TV interviewer, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
But please note that, once again, Bush is open to criticism that's frequently applied to liberals and Democrats -- yet he gets a free pass because, dammit, he's a red-white-and-blue Republican. As I've noted, Bush can get away with weakening America's military and humiliating America in the eyes of the world because weakening the military and humiliating America is something Democrats do, not Republicans, as everyone knows. When Bush does it, it conflicts with our stereotypes of the two parties, so the plain facts are impossible for many Americans to process. Now we have Bush being a baby-boomer narcissist, a self-absorbed yuppie who can't be torn away from his complex health rituals -- yet you're never going to read about a focus group of swing voters applying that stereotype to him. We see this Bush rather frequently; think back a couple of weeks:
When President Bush sat down in the White House residence last Thursday to interview a potential Supreme Court nominee, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, he asked him about the hardest decision he had ever made - and also how much he exercised.
"Well, I told him I ran three and a half miles a day," Judge Wilkinson recalled in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "And I said my doctor recommends a lot of cross-training, but I said I didn't want to do the elliptical and the bike and the treadmill." The president, Judge Wilkinson said, "took umbrage at that," and told his potential nominee that he should do the cross-training his doctor suggested....
Bill Clinton was a baby-boomer narcissist. George W. Bush isn't. Everyone "knows" this. The evidence, of course, is the fact that Clinton indulged himself sexually while in office -- never mind the fact that many non-boomer politicians have done the same. Clinton loved -- loves -- to engage crowds, and loves to try to reason with those who disagree with him. Clinton would happily interrupt his morning run to emgage a crowd. But the yuppie cross-trainer who can recite his body-mass index from memory is a big-city liberal, not a real Amurrican who lives in Texas and clears brush, so Clinton is a solipsist boomer and Bush is John Wayne.