Satirical web site draws hundreds of thousands of hits
By Zack Exley
If it weren't for one thing, Gov. George W Bush would see a clear path before him leading straight to the White House. He's so far ahead in the polls that all other candidates look almost insignificant. The media are in love with him, and the Republican Party has pinned all their hopes on this one man to reunite their broken party.
Just one problem: he's a former drug user. In a country that locks people away for decades for simple possession, this is a major liability for Bush. Especially since he's a "tough on crime" candidate who insists that people should pay dearly for their mistakes -- no matter what age or what the circumstances.
While Bush has not fully admitted to drug use, he's sending very clear signals in that direction. Even though he's lowered the age at which minors can be tried as adults in Texas to 14, when asked about crimes in his own youth he asks them to be forgotten and forgiven. This was G.W. in a New Hampshire TV interview with WMUR when they asked about cocaine:
"I'm not going to talk about what I did as a child. What I'm going to talk about -- and I am going to say this consistently -- [is that] it is irrelevant what I did 20 to 30 years ago. What's relevant is that I have learned from any mistakes I made. I do not want to send signals to anybody that what Gov. Bush did. 30 years ago is cool to try."
And what's he talking about trying? Something he "did" as late as age 32 (20 years ago) that would not be cool for others to "try." What -- sex? Alcohol? Well, actually, he offers confident denials of alcoholism and marital infidelity. He was a heavy drinker for years, and admits that alcohol "got the best of him", but he swore off booze on his 40th birthday, and says he hasn't had a drink since, and says he was never an alcoholic.
His refusal to deny drugs in his past is even more interesting in light of the fact that Al Gore, his only potential rival, admits to smoking a joint or two while at Harvard (perhaps with his college roommate, actor Tommy Lee Jones.) If Gore smoked pot, then what does Bush have to lose by admitting he smoked a little as well?
This is the main issue I have been trying to publicize on my satirical web site, www.gwbush.com. (Gov. Bush's official web site is located at www.georgewbush.com). When I first put up my web site, at the embarrassingly similar web address, Bush was so angry that he launched two separate legal attacks on the site. This got a lot of publicity and my web site received hundreds of thousands of visitors in just a few weeks. Now I get a steady stream of about 10,000 visitors a day. This is a wonderful thing that Mr. Bush has given to me: a much-read publication dealing with the topic of his own hypocrisy and the drug war.
Bush is the ultimate hypocrite, and it's easy on my web site to show how hypocritical he is. For example, compare his quote above to this one: "I am committed to helping to usher in the 'responsibility era -- an era in which all individuals in this great land understand they are responsible for their actions and the decisions they make."
And another: "If we are going to save a generation of young people, our children must know they will face bad consequences for criminal behavior. Sadly, too many youths are not getting that message. Our juvenile justice system must say to our children: We love you, but we are going to hold you accountable for your actions."
Please help me with this site! Mr. Bush is going to repeat the "forgive me and forget my crimes" line over and over through out the campaign. The media will want to forgive his minor crime of drug possession. My goal for the campaign is to force them to acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of people serving hard time for these crimes that Bush wants us to forget. I've already talked to so many journalists who don't even know people are actually serving time for drug crimes. They think you just get fined or sent to treatment. I want to force the media to report that I there are hundreds of thousands of people in jail for drug violations. We need dramatic content to get the media to cover this.
The most dramatic thing we could have to make this point would be letters from prisoners directed at Bush. He expects to be forgiven for his drug crimes of "20 to 30 years ago". It looks like the press and the nation are ready to oblige, and forget the whole thing. How does that make you feel?
"Dear Mr. Bush, Like you, I have grown up and....".
I will respond to any letters with an envelope and stamp in compensation, and also printouts of the web site including the page with your letter. I can print the letters anonymously or under your real name. Keep in mind that the letter will be views by tens of thousands of people. If there's a way you can get me a picture of yourself, and wouldn't mind it going up on the Internet, that would be great.
Zack Exley -- gwbush.com