The New York Times has a moderatly silly story about Bush's upcoming dinner with the queen:
How does George W. Bush, a towel-snapping Texan who puts his feet on the coffee table, drinks water straight from the bottle and was once caught on tape talking with food in his mouth prepare for a state dinner with the queen?To which Robert Farley responds:
Let's review: George W. Bush is not a country bumpkin. He is not a stranger to formal affairs. He didn't spend most of his youth clearing brush. He knows how to use all of the forks at the table. He's not going to accidentally hawk a loogie into the Queen's hair while aiming for the White House spitoon. He probably even knows how to tie a bow-tie. He is a very wealthy man, the product of a long line of New England aristocracy....The central achievement of his political life has been disguising all of that beneath a thin veneer of "rustic Texan", but the New York Times shouldn't have respected that nonsense in 1999, and shouldn't take it at all seriously now.That last point is very well taken: Bush is indeed a product of the New England aristocracy, and shame on the news media for buying into the pseudo-populist common-man dumbshow.
But Farley overstates the case: it doesn't follow from this that Bush knows how to behave with the queen. The thing is, Bush really is a cretinous boor with no sense of appropriate behavior beyond what his handlers are able to cajole him into (just ask Angela Merkel). The fact that he's a product of the aristocracy rather than a country bumpkin just makes his boorishness that much worse. Worse because he's a boor despite having had all the advantages, and worse still because his boorishness is accompanied (is fed) by a sense of entitlement.
So yeah, Bush is rich and all, but that doesn't mean he won't hock a loogie into the queen's hair (or try to feel her up or, at the very least, bestow some hideously inappropriate nickname). The boorishness is genuine; the real failure of the Washington press corps (who, as Somerby continually reminds us, come mainly from the professional and upper classes) is that they do not distinguish boorishness born of entitlement from a lack of refinement born of a common background...maybe because they don't really know any genuinely common people.