Monday, August 29, 2005

Bush, Cowboy President

One way in which the Cindy Sheehan story may actually benefit the president is in the constant reference to his perennial August get-away as a "ranch," specifically as the "Crawford Ranch." Of course it's become common parlance to refer to it as such. If you Google "Crawford Ranch" you get more than 1 million results. Every time the media writes a story about Cindy Sheehan camping outside the "Crawford Ranch" it's actually reinforcing a pretty positive frame for the president, the Bush as rancher frame, one that, as puts it, gives Bush,
...who was born in New Haven, Conn., and schooled at Yale and Harvard, a chance to remind the nation that he's a Cowboy President.

The LA Times elaborates.
Bush had successfully adopted the populist cowboy persona... described as the "ultimate American male archetype of our time" and a reassuring symbol to a society that likes to divide history's figures into good uys and bad guys."

As much as people may complain that Bush is in Crawford, a lot of Americans like seeing him in blue jeans with a big belt buckle, walking down a dirt road or clearing brush," Brinkley said. "It's become a stage set for him."

For Bush, who was born in New Haven, Conn., and schooled at Yale and Harvard, the ranch has helped provide a political antidote to the Northeastern blue-blood heritage that dogged his father, George H.W. Bush, as president.

The Times also does a little digging into whether it is technically a ranch or not, but it hardly matters how many cattle are on the premises if any. The Bushes bought the "Prairie Chapel Ranch" in 1999, which in my eyes, allows it "ranch" status ad infinitum. I would just remind those on the left who enjoy complaining about how out of touch Bush is by drawing attention to the fact that he's vacationing while our kids are dying in Iraq and won't even leave his compund to speak to a grieving mother, every time you mention his "ranch," you're reinforcing the every day "in touch" quality that so many people like about him. As George Lakoff would remnd us, you can't negate a frame -- no matter the context, the second you invoke the term "ranch" in association with Bush, you immediately activate the idea that Bush is a good ole boy with the common touch.


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