Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Good Cowboys Are Hard to Find

Everyone is busy trying to interpret what Bush meant when he answered his now famous weekend question in France.

Reporter: "Will you be inviting President Chirac to your ranch in Texas?"

President Bush: "Well, I've been looking for a good cowboy."
There are as many headlines as opinions. Did he mean Chirac is unpredictable? That Chirac would not be welcome as a guest? Does he sees the French president as subservient to him? Does he disrepect what Chirac is doing in France? One reporter speculated on what it meant that Bush thinks Chirac is a "good cowboy", while other pundits compared Bush's supposed gaffe to Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner."

For all of the wondering about the metaphorical meanings, I think reporters are missing that Bush, faced with an impertinent question, gave them a nice, Texas-style response. And being the consummate rancher, he told them what's on his mind. He really needs a good cowboy.

It's really something to be connected to the land and those close to him will tell you that the President calls Crawford every day to find out what's happening on the ranch. Did it rain today? How's calving going? Did the brush get cleared out of the north pasture? How much fence mending will need to be done next time I'm there before we drive the cattle out to better grass?

Real-life cowboys work ranches all over the western states including Texas and good ones are in high demand. While today they're just as likely to carry a cellular phone as a six-shooter and sometimes ride an ATV instead of a horse, they are the ones responsible for the neverending day-to-day work of the ranch. Spring is coming which means getting the herds in for vaccinations, tagging, branding, and castrating. Good, reliable cowboys are hard to come by this time of year.

So, if you're wondering what kind of response Bush was expecting, I suspect he's hoping he gets a few phone calls down in Crawford. French President or not, he really just needs a good cowboy.


At Tue Feb 22, 02:44:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

What was "impertinent" about the reporter's question to Mr. Bush? (The term 'impertinent', when used in reference to a public servant strikes me as odd.)

And let's be clear about Bush's ranch. He never worked on it, he's barely lived on it. He bought it in 1999 as he prepared to run for the White House. It's a photo-op, no more, no less.

I don't read anything into his answer. The question was dumb to start with, and Bush: 1) is inarticulate; and 2) did not want to answer the question, in particular. So, we get a somewhat bizarre non-response. I don't think there are any tea-leaves to be read here.

At Tue Feb 22, 03:11:00 PM, Blogger braingirl said...

It's impertinent -- and impolite -- to put someone on the spot as to whether or not they intend to issue an invitation. Bush, honestly, answered with a non-answer which was the best anyone could have done.

At Tue Feb 22, 09:01:00 PM, Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

Bush's ranch a photo-op? Bull, so to speak. He's livin a whole hell of a lot of people's weekend dreams on that spread. And he probably does need a good day-labor cowboy. Day-labor cowboys often bein' night-drinkin'-and-carousin' cowboys, it probably ain't the easiest thing to find one to pass FBI and Secret Service muster. Politics is one thing. And on that folks can differ. But farm boys like myself and ranch girls like braingirl can smell somebody that don't know manure about cowboyin' a country mile away.

At Wed Feb 23, 09:47:00 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Bah. Show me a picture of GeeDubya on a horse. I've probably herded and branded more cattle than he has. (Which is to say, I herded cattle once and I helped brand 6 or 7 calves once.) I wouldn't call the thing a photo-op if he'd had it for more than a year before running for President. All hat, no cattle.

And, to say the reporter's question is "impolite" I can go with. I think "impertinent" bothers me because, to me it implies Citizen Bush is entitled to some sort of subservience.

At Wed Feb 23, 10:03:00 PM, Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

Well, I'll give you this much: Dubya might very well be all "ranch" and no "er." But that don't mean it's all just for looks. He is a Texan, unlike his daddy. Hell, I might be wrong. He puts it all up for sale after his run at playin' El Presidente, I'll be surprised. But who knows? Maybe he is as macchiavellian (sp?) as the rest of 'em. And I'll bet he doedn't know much about Machiaveli (sp?) even with his dadgum history degree from Yale or whichever Yankee school gave him a pass-fail degree back in the day.

At Fri Feb 25, 10:19:00 PM, Blogger Teditor said...

Folks have done a whole lot worse things for photo-ops than own a ranch. Truth be told, Dubya's wealthy enough to buy small cities.

Maybe he just grew up playing cowboy and now has the ranch to make it look authentic. Who really cares? If he pays a few good hands a good wage to run a ranching operation, he's ahead of the game most ranchers play, and the cowboys get something out of it, too.

Besides, what qualified Texas oilman doesn't own a ranch or two? It's all part of the business in that state.


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