The most shocking revelation in Decision Points by George W. Bush is not one that you’ve read about already. It has nothing to do with Bush’s heartbreaking anecdote about driving his mother to the hospital after her miscarriage. And it has nothing to do with the confession that when his father was just getting started in the oil business, the family once shared a bathroom with not one, but two prostitutes. No. The biggest news to be found in Dubya’s memoir is that the former president is frikkin hilarious.
Now, I’m not talking about Zach Galifianakis levels of hilarity here. Nor anything quite approaching Robin Williams at his cocaine-fueled finest. Truth be told, in a standup showdown against Carlos Mencia, Bush would surely lose, but that’s only because Mencia steals the best jokes from other comedians.
But none of that can hide Bush’s sarcastic and often self-effacing wit. Just read through the opening chapter in Decision Points and you’ll find quite a few comedy gems, many of them involving one or two beers too many.
Consider this little anecdote by Dubya about his initial visits to a Bible-study group at First Presbyterian Church in the beleaguered oil town of Midland, Texas: “Each week, we studied a chapter from the New Testament. At first, I was a little skeptical. I had a hard time resisting the temptation to wisecrack. One night the group leader asked, ‘What is a prophet?’ I answered, ‘That’s when revenue exceeds expenses. No one has seen one around here since Elijah.'”
Or this one, in which Bush talks about attending his father’s graduation from Yale when junior was still a wee tyke: “Dad excelled in the classroom, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in just two and a half years. I attended his commencement in Mother’s arms, dozing through much of the ceremony. It wouldn’t be the last time I slept through a Yale lecture.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s funny. But I also find it a little sad. I mean, where the hell was that guy from 2001-2009? We could have used a good laugh or two during those years, when it seemed as if all that was good and noble about the United States was being flushed down the crapper because we’d gotten freaked out by a terrorist attack and decided to not only take it out on the rest of the world but on our own citizens as well.
All of this got me thinking: What if the Bush we experienced during his presidency was not the Dubya that many of us revile, but the wisecracking Bush of his young adult years, the heavy-partying days when all the world seemed like a sequel to Animal House, one where Otter finally leaves Delta House, meets up with Van Wilder for a game of beer pong, does bong hits with Harold and Kumar, and has a most excellent adventure with Bill and Ted across space and time in search of a pretzel that you can swallow without choking? If we had gotten that guy, I can guarantee you things would have unfolded much differently.
For starters, the invasion of Iraq would have never happened. Instead of a shock-and-awe attack, Bush would have bombarded Baghdad with rotten eggs and rolls of toilet paper. He would have forked every major Iraqi city from Tikrit to Fallujah. And instead of actually overthrowing Saddam, Bush would have been perfectly content to send in a team of Black Op boys to systematically taunt the tyrannical despot.
There would have been prank calls, flaming bags of dog poo on the palace steps, and multiple instances where Saddam would hear someone ring the doorbell only to get up off his bum, walk to the door, and discover that no one was there. That, my friends, is how you drive a leader insane — and out of power.
As for Osama bin Laden, things would have been different as well. While Bush would have never captured Bin Laden, Dubya would have removed Osama as a threat by mocking him incessantly. Step one: Bush would have said that Osama had a small penis. Step two: The prez would have said that Bin Laden, like Hitler, only had one ball. Step three: Bush would have terrorized the terrorist with an endless onslaught of yo-mama jokes. After all, what self-respecting enemy of the Great Satan would follow a guy whose mama has a wooden leg with a kickstand on it? No one.
And when it comes to waterboarding, Bush would have found other ways to extract information from those who hate us for our fiefdoms. In case you need to be reminded, a good old fashioned wedgie is not illegal. The Geneva Convention doesn’t say jack squat about purple nurples. And swirlies may be unsanitary, but they are not human rights violations.
Man, why couldn’t we have gotten that guy?