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George on Laura Bush: Carpet matches the curtains.
April 24, 2007 5:51 AM   Subscribe

"As he has before, Bush told the story about how his first presidential decision was to pick a rug for the Oval Office..." In a speech before Ohio High Schoolers and business leaders in a Republican district outside of Dayton, the President made some interesting commentary on marriage, chicken-plucking, polling, his own legacy, comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam, and of course, the rug. Apparently, he loves the rug like Ronald Reagan loved Jelly Beans, talking about it all the time, even on the whitehouse.gov's video tour. Shortly after a President takes office, they make their own imprint on the character of the Oval Office by redecorating, a task usually taken by the First Lady. The rug, designed by Laura Bush is sunshine yellow, as the President stated he wanted the room to convey a sense of optimism, "because you can't make decisions unless you're optimistic that the decisions you make will lead to a better tomorrow." Hopefully the rug doesn't become a bookended anecdote to another Presidential "rising" sun.
posted by rzklkng (58 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's nice to know he's done something that worked out right.
posted by localroger at 5:54 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


That rug is actually pretty damn important. Just about everything the current administration has done is stored beneath it.
posted by srboisvert at 6:02 AM on April 24, 2007 [24 favorites]


Maybe he can get a job at IKEA after serving his time for war crimes.
posted by Dizzy at 6:07 AM on April 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


because you can't make decisions unless you're optimistic

Not much to add here, just noting the psychology.
posted by DU at 6:08 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


The rug really ties the room together.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:15 AM on April 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


The rug has hundreds of little legs that makes it super easy to sweep things under it.
posted by hexatron at 6:15 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's nice to know he's done something that worked out right.

From the article: "One of the perks of being president is commissioning a new rug for the Oval Office. President Bush has recently been telling visitors that he turned the task over to his wife..."

Well, no he hasn't.

In Martin Seligman's Learned Optimism, he argues that Americans are so wired for optimism that the most optimistic presidential candidate will win. I have to admit he's on to something, but it makes me cringe.

It's kind of like that adage "Americans will vote for the candidate with whom they'd most like to have a beer". It's not a good criteria for picking a leader of state.
posted by orange swan at 6:17 AM on April 24, 2007


George Bush, creative director.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:19 AM on April 24, 2007


636 days, now.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:21 AM on April 24, 2007


It's kind of like that adage "Americans will vote for the candidate with whom they'd most like to have a beer". It's not a good criteria for picking a leader of state.

It's also an especially dumb criterion when the candidate is vocal about his prior alcoholism and doesn't drink beer.

That said, perhaps half-lit is the only way I could stomach him. He'd possibly start seeming smart and charismatic after I had polished off about 6 or 7 brewskis. Then again, perhaps not.
posted by psmealey at 6:21 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


In Martin Seligman's Learned Optimism, he argues that Americans are so wired for optimism that the most optimistic presidential candidate will win. I have to admit he's on to something, but it makes me cringe.
That sort of makes sense. I can understand that candidates would want to project an optimistic tone in their campaigns. The problem is when the President isn't simply pandering to that instinct of voters but actually believes it himself. DU points out something extremely odd about this mindset.

It's one thing for a candidate to hand out kool-aid to an audience that wants it. It's quite another to drink heavily of the kool-aid oneself.
posted by deanc at 6:23 AM on April 24, 2007


...Americans are so wired for optimism that the most optimistic presidential candidate will win. I have to admit he's on to something, but it makes me cringe.

To be fair, there's a difference between rose-colored glasses and optimistic. But it does indicate that, e.g. Gore would have a better chance with a campaign based on "Together we can fix global warming" rather than "The Earth is about to die and we need to do something about it".
posted by DU at 6:27 AM on April 24, 2007


Here you go, psmealey.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:28 AM on April 24, 2007


The rug really ties the room together.

The rug really ties the Presidency together.

"One of the perks of being president is commissioning a new rug for the Oval Office."

A new rug? Now that's what I call a perk! Maybe I should run for President!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:29 AM on April 24, 2007


Gore would have a better chance with a campaign based on "Together we can fix global warming" rather than "The Earth is about to die and we need to do something about it".

I hope that would work, but I suspect otherwise. My earliest political memories are of Jimmy Carter calling for shared sacrifice, austerity, conservation and we're in this togetherness. Reagan countered with empty-headed proclamations of "morning in America", and offered tax cuts for the wealthy and deficit spending. Carter is still to many, "the worst president of our lifetime" (when he wasn't really that bad), and Reagan is damn near canonized by a significant portion of the population.

I realize that it is all in how you frame an issue, but I think any candidate that asks for any kind of sacrifice or belt-tightening is going to get his or her ass handed to them, at least until the next Great Depression.
posted by psmealey at 6:33 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, I didn't mean his being drunk, chuckdarwin, he's 10x more insufferable when he's loaded, clearly. I meant that I would have to be hammered in order to find him the least bit redeemable.
posted by psmealey at 6:36 AM on April 24, 2007


psmealy, it didn't have to be portrayed as "belt tightening." It could be portrayed as "let's build some neat new technologies and do some awesome research so we can solve this! Americans always do things first and we do it the best!"

I might add that this seems to be the appeal of hybrid cars among the upper middle class-- no one likes to "sacrifice" (so they're not going to buy a Dodge Neon), but everyone likes to show off their awesome new gadget to their neighbors, in this case a hybrid car.
posted by deanc at 6:37 AM on April 24, 2007


psmealey - I meant that I would have to be hammered in order to find him the least bit redeemable.


I know; I just relish the chance to post video footage of him in full Keith Richards mode.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:46 AM on April 24, 2007


I think any candidate that asks for any kind of sacrifice or belt-tightening is going to get his or her ass handed to them

And any candidate that suggests anything that could be construed as America losing or retreating from battle will get the same treatment.

It's not easy to tell America the truth. America wants to overeat and lose weight, overspend and be rich, overstretch and be strong.
posted by pracowity at 6:48 AM on April 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


And any candidate that suggests anything that could be construed as America losing or retreating from battle will get the same treatment.

They aren't so far. But maybe that's because they are running against candidates that are telling them "you aren't trying hard enough".
posted by DU at 6:50 AM on April 24, 2007


A yellow rug won't stain when the president passes out drunk on it and pisses himself overnight.
posted by breezeway at 6:50 AM on April 24, 2007


That rug tied the room together, did it not?
posted by nola at 6:50 AM on April 24, 2007


My first thought was "You know who gets things done efficiently, with a streamlined organization and no shiny-happy rugs to keep them optimistic? Desperate, crazy people in caves that have been able to outwit US military and intelligence for the last six years."

He ought to pick out a nice rug to throw over that hole in NYC.
posted by smallerdemon at 6:53 AM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bass fishing, TV

think positive
thoughts. thinkpositive
thoughtiraq. Think

posted by acro at 6:53 AM on April 24, 2007


Now, smallerdemon, you have no idea what kind of rugs those desperate crazy people have in their caves, do you?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:00 AM on April 24, 2007


Kirth, not directly, no, you're right. Do you know something I don't... COMRADE?
posted by smallerdemon at 7:03 AM on April 24, 2007


The rug has hundreds of little legs that makes it super easy to sweep things under it.

Are you suggesting that the President is Rincewind?

...no, actually, that makes a certain sick kind of sense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:21 AM on April 24, 2007


He ought to pick out a nice rug to throw over that hole in NYC.

Yeah, I'm thinking something... Persian.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:22 AM on April 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


DU: because you can't make decisions unless you're optimistic.

From an allegedly 'reformed' (read:dry) alcoholic who's never had to sacrifice anything.

This brand of optimism is killing them in Iraq.
posted by vhsiv at 7:26 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know he's right: death is terrible.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:32 AM on April 24, 2007


It's also an especially dumb criterion when the candidate is vocal about his prior alcoholism and doesn't drink beer.

That said, perhaps half-lit is the only way I could stomach him. He'd possibly start seeming smart and charismatic after I had polished off about 6 or 7 brewskis. Then again, perhaps not.


the idea that Joe NASCAR wants to have a beer with a alcoholic blue-blood fratboy from Connecticut is so bizzarely counter-intuitive that I can only assume that some political marketing whiz dreamed it up after a long night trying to figure out how to counter the plain fact that his candidate was almost completely unlikable...

but i guess I'm just a hater.

seriously, would anyone actually say Bush was likable if they hadn't read or heard it a million times?
posted by geos at 8:05 AM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


seriously, would anyone actually say Bush was likable if they hadn't read or heard it a million times?

IAWTP. I've never been able to stand looking at or listening to him, and that's from before I had any opinion on politics whatsoever. Am I really the only one that can hear the why-doesn't-everyone-see-it-MY-way whine in his voice every time he talks?
posted by DU at 8:11 AM on April 24, 2007


The label probably has specifics, but how hard will it be to wash the blood of a hundred thousand innocents out of this fabric? Are we talking about just a little club soda or something more involved?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:11 AM on April 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


In a way, I'm happy for the President. All his life, he's been trying to find his calling. Bush family money means he got to try a lot of different things. The oil biz, the baseball biz, being a governor, being a president - not a one of them has worked out. And with each massive, spectacular failure, George W. was left feeling more adrift and depressed than before. I would drink too if my defining characteristic was universal incompetence.

But after all these long, difficult years, it seems he's found his niche. Interior design. I hope he runs with this. I hope that after 2008, or his impeachment, Bravo signs him up for a new home makeover series - Fascist Eye for the Democrat Guy. And I hope for spring sweeps, he does a special three-episode block with Ty Pennington, where they tour Haditha and Kirkuk doing Extreme Makeovers.

Though flying a television crew into a war zone will be expensive, they can make up some of the difference by using all those "gently used" building materials that lie smoldering in the street.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:13 AM on April 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


BRANDT: How was your meeting, Mr. Lebowski?

DUDE: Okay. The old man told me to take any rug in the house.
posted by stenseng at 8:21 AM on April 24, 2007


Perhaps "rug" is actually code for something? Could be that every time he says "rug" he's actually doing a secret shoutout to Satan or something. Or Dick Cheney. Same difference.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:26 AM on April 24, 2007


Yeah, but does it match the drapes?
posted by NationalKato at 8:31 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Y all know he decorated the Lincoln's bedroom too, right purty with purple drapes and gilded crown.
posted by hortense at 8:38 AM on April 24, 2007


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by trondant at 8:39 AM on April 24, 2007


the idea that Joe NASCAR wants to have a beer with a alcoholic blue-blood fratboy from Connecticut is so bizzarely counter-intuitive

He was the governor of Texas. I think that eliminates any CT blue blood stench in the minds of the NASCAR folk. Also, didn't he actually grow up in Texas but only went to college in CT? I mean, the Dixie Chicks didn't apologize for their president being from Connecticut, after all.
posted by spicynuts at 8:51 AM on April 24, 2007


"You know, when I walk into the Oval Office in January of 2009, I'm afraid I'm going to lift up the rug and I'm going to see so much stuff under there."
Hillary Clinton, last Friday.
posted by poxuppit at 8:51 AM on April 24, 2007


Hey miss lynnster, did you see the news about Cheney?
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:51 AM on April 24, 2007


The rug is folksy metaphoric image positioning.
Karl made him say it and George doesn't even care enough to ask why.
posted by Fupped Duck at 9:10 AM on April 24, 2007


didn't he actually grow up in Texas but only went to college in CT?

Born in New Haven, Connecticut. He was two when the family moved to Texas. Raised in Midland and Houston, Texas. Went to boarding school in Massachusetts at 15, then went to Yale.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:41 AM on April 24, 2007


The rug really ties the room together.

I would cast this differently:

ROVE: Walter, what is the point? Look, we all know who is at fault here, what the fuck are you talking about?
CHENEY: Huh? No, what the fuck are you... I'm not... We're talking about unchecked aggression here, dude.
BUSH: What the fuck is he talking about?
ROVE: My rug.
CHENEY: Forget it, Donny, you're out of your element!
ROVE: Walter, the chinaman who peed on my rug, I can't go give him a bill, so what the fuck are you talking about?
CHENEY: What the fuck are you talking about? The chinaman is not the issue here, Dude. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT... Also, Dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.
ROVE: Walter, this isn't a guy who built the fucking railroads here. This is a guy...
CHENEY: What the fuck are you talking about?
ROVE: Walter, he peed on my rug!
BUSH: He peed on the Dude's rug.
CHENEY: Donny you're out of your element! Dude, the Chinaman is not the issue here!
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:45 AM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


For a while about a decade ago, I saw semi-popular articles and even a 60 Minutes segment (?) about a strong preference for the color yellow being associated with brain deterioration syndromes; it was invoked to explain some things about Van Gogh and his work, for example.

I looked around for some documentation for a comment I wanted to make about an autistic artist in a previous thread I thought had displayed such a preference, but I found almost nothing and never posted.

I did take notice when a close friend was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and promptly painted several rooms in her house shades of yellow, however.
posted by jamjam at 9:54 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Painting walls yellow is also considered to be therapeutic for dealing with seasonal-affective disorder. However, it sounds a lot better for the president to say, "I wanted a rug that conveyed optimism" rather than "I wanted a rug that would help ameliorate my symptoms of depression."
posted by deanc at 10:00 AM on April 24, 2007


psmealy, it didn't have to be portrayed as "belt tightening." It could be portrayed as "let's build some neat new technologies and do some awesome research so we can solve this! Americans always do things first and we do it the best!"

I've been saying this for a while. I really think global warming/conservation could be the next moon race, if somebody could frame it right. Said it before, I'll say it again--Obama/Gore 2008.
posted by EarBucket at 10:11 AM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Went to boarding school in Massachusetts at 15, then went to Yale.

It doesn't matter if you were born in a mud hut on the bayou and went feral until you were 14, if you went to Philips Andover and then Yale for your formative years, you are a de facto New England blue blood. Even more so when you come from two generations (at least) of Connecticut blue bloods.

If you see any of his interviews in 1988 when he worked to get the evangelical vote for Poppy, you'll notice immediately that he doesn't have a trace of his now familiar cowboy drawl and sounds very much like a Yankee.

I really think global warming/conservation could be the next moon race, if somebody could frame it right.

I think that is exactly how you have to frame it, but I also think that technology alone will not be enough to solve these gargantuan problems. Whatever push is made by hi-tech and industry will also need to be accompanied by efforts at the individual level as well. I'm not sure how you sell that just yet.
posted by psmealey at 10:22 AM on April 24, 2007


Pope Guilty - Are you suggesting that the President is Rincewind?

He's the Prezzident.
posted by porpoise at 10:27 AM on April 24, 2007


Pope Guilty - Are you suggesting that the President is Rincewind?

Hm. I suspect GWB is more Candide than Rincewind. Rincewind always knows when to run away in the face of danger. i.e. always. Candide, otoh, wow, what a gimp that boy was. "But surely THIS is the best of all possible worlds! My teacher SAID it was!"
posted by smallerdemon at 10:47 AM on April 24, 2007


Oh okay, I get it now. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad peed on the President's rug. It just been hard for him to prove since the rug was sunshine yellow to begin with. Suddenly things make a LOT more sense.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:52 AM on April 24, 2007




Nothing about the pig though?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:45 PM on April 24, 2007


what's wrong with wooden floors?
posted by matteo at 12:58 PM on April 24, 2007


Thanks for that comment, deanc (and that link, palinquale); I think I begin to see how it hangs together, now.

The weird color preference stuff may all revolve around the recently (2002) discovered melanopsin receptors which apparently are responsible for setting and resetting circadian rhythms from yeasts to human beings and which are tuned to respond to blue light.

"Painting walls yellow is also considered to be therapeutic for dealing with seasonal-affective disorder" possibly because SAD is associated with circadian resetting, and yellow light is very poor at stimulating the ganglion cells responsible. Those cells apparently have a maximal response to light around ~480 nm (strongly blue).

A recent AskMe sought comments on a paper suggesting there were no blind schizophrenics, and implicating "connections between visual and anterior cingulate NMDA-receptor systems." NMDA receptors are typically excitotoxic, and if the brain deterioration of schizophrenia and other diseases is mediated by the light sensitive ganglion cell system, that could explain a preference for yellow in affected individuals.

Another interesting implication might include the well-know tendency of the human lens to yellow with age (so that it increasingly blocks blue light); it would be particularly exciting if schizophrenics and alzheimers sufferers had yellower lenses than matched controls.

Also, the compact fluorescents we are pushing so hard are much bluer than incandescents, and this might have bad consequences not just for those among us with brain syndromes (and insomniacs!), but as well for those among us who think it might not be a bad idea if our children waited a little longer to reach puberty; stimulation of the circadian system by artificial illumination is one of the chief suspects in the decline in the age of menarche we are seeing in every generation.
posted by jamjam at 1:17 PM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


The reason he mentions the rug is simple: it's to remind socially conservative and fundamentalist voters that he had to get a new rug, because the old one had Lord-Jesus-knows-what body fluids from Clinton and Lewinsky.

This is entirely calculated: he gets the choir to (once again!) make the connection and feel a frisson of disgust and repressed titilation, all the while maintainong he's "just" talking about a rug, not being smutty or slamming his predecessor one more time.

It plays to an audience that finds oral sex truly exotic and a little disgusting ("you put what where?and then that stuff gets all over the rug!!!"), reinforcing the view that however incompetent W is, even at getting his rank-and-file what he's promised them, he at least swept out the licentious orgies (and no doubt, think his audience, quite possibly fetus feasts and fag frolics and blasphemy, miscegenation and treason) that played out on the Oval Office rug during the Clinton years and offended the God who wants America to be His New Jerusalem.
posted by orthogonality at 3:44 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Painting walls yellow is also considered to be therapeutic for dealing with seasonal-affective disorder.

Good thing it's not yellow wallpaper.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:28 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


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