Tuesday, June 27, 2006

W. is for "Jackass."

At Harvard Business School in the mid-1970s, George W. Bush
distinguished himself in intramural sports and became de facto captain of his class's winning basketball team, which played against a winning team from the class below, the class of 1976. The game was tight. The other team's captain, Gary Engle . . . went up for a shot. Bush slugged him -- an elbow to the mouth, knocking him to the parquet. "What the hell are you doing?" Engle remembers saying. "What, you want to get into a fistfight and both of us end up in the fucking emergency room?" Bush just smiled.

Moments later, at the other end of the court, Engle went up high for a rebound and felt someone chop his legs out from under him. Bush again. Engle jumped up threw the ball in Bush's face. The two went at it until two teams of future business leaders leapt on their captains, pulling them apart. . . .

A few years later, Engle . . . bumped into Jeb Bush. . . . This was his chance to get a little insight about it. He told the story. Jeb kind of laughed, Engle recalled. "In Texas, they call guys like George 'a hard case.' It wasn't easy being his brother, either. He truly enjoys getting people to knuckle under."
Ron Suskind, The One Percent Doctrine 215 (Simon & Schuster, 2006).

Incredible. Sure beats the Washington and the apple tree story. Suddenly a lot more of the easy explanations of what's happening behind the scenes in the White House seem plausible. I have to concede one to the Republicans, though. It really does seem to be about character.
This story is of a piece with the whole thing about the nicknames, which was always about putting other people in their (subordinate) place.
Not to mention Florida 2000.
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