Sunday, May 21, 2006

Presidente Arbusto

During the 2004 Presidential campaign Republicans had great fun at the expense of John Kerry and the Democratic Party, derisively mocking Kerry as a “flip-flopper” because he had voted in favor of one version of a bill before voting against the final version (to which he had objections).

So, what are we to say now about those people and their candidate, George W. Bush? You see, on May 20, 2006 President Bush told a gathering in the White House Rose Garden, “ I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.”

Now, I’m not writing to discuss that point, or even whether the President of the United States should be required to speak English (this one, as we know, has some real problems there). No, I’m writing this because in his book, “American Dynasty”, Kevin Phillips writes that during the 2000 campaign candidate Bush would “drop in at Hispanic festivals and parties, sometimes joining in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Spanish, sometimes partying with a “Viva Bush” mariachi band flown in from Texas.”

Puzzled, I went to the President’s White House website seeking clarification. There, I found little enlightenment on the issue, but I did learn that I could access the White House website in English…and in Spanish.

And then I remembered that the guy who says “people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English” is the same guy who sprinkles Spanish into his speeches (when it might help him), proposed budget cuts for English-language broadcasts on Voice of America, and who named his Texas oil exploration company Arbusto (Bush…in Spanish).

So, next time you get lectured by some Republican about “flip-flopping” it seems fair enough you should ask them to explain the odd behavior of Presidente Arbusto. Does anyone know how to say “flip-flopper” in Spanish?

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