Friday, August 29, 2003

It's apropos of nothing, but I've been meaning for a while to post this excerpt from Bill Minutaglio's George W. Bush biography, First Son. It's based on Minutaglio's interview with Israel Hernandez, a young aide who began working for Bush around the start of his 1994 campaign to unseat Ann Richards as governor of Texas. I think it says a lot about the most powerful man in the free world -- specifically, about his nicknaming habit, which is usually treated in the press as macho heartiness rather than, well, weird:

On the day of the first official Bush for Governor campaign announcement and the start of the twenty-seven-city tour, Bush and Hernandez stepped off the King Air plane dubbed Accountability One and began the drive through Houston to the hotel press conference....

Now Bush was cackling as the limousine sped downtown and the striking Houston skyline, an Oz on the Gulf Coast, began rising before them. Bush was trying to think of a nickname, something better than Israel. The new aide was worried, not saying the obvious: "Shouldn't you be thinking of your speech?" A satisfied sound to his voice, Bush announced it: "And your name is now ... Izzy!"

The bewildered aide asked, "Isn't that the Olympic mascot?"

Bush roared back: "No, no, no, your name is Izzy!"

As the Team Bush caravan pulled closer to the Houston hotel and the horde of reporters, Bush suddenly burst into song: "Izzy Fuzzy? Wazzy Fuzzy? Izzy?" His aide began singing with him.

Yeah, Bush made that speech, and won that election, and reelection, then sort of won the presidency. But this is bizarre.

(For those keeping score, this is on pp. 276 and 277 of the hardcover edition.)

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