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The Blindside

George W. Bush's new book shows a life of continual surprises.


Many reviewers of George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, have noted how much the former president refers to being “blindsided” by this or that event, whether by the photos of torture at Abu Ghraib, the outing of spy Valerie Plame, or the fact that his dog, Barney, required human assistance in removing his waste products from the South Lawn of the White House.

In fact, according to publishing insiders, Mr. Bush wanted to call the book Blindsided by Life, and only after gentle persuasion by wife Laura (as well as nasty threats from his mother, Barb) did Bushie—as his wife affectionately calls him and as he affectionately calls her—agree to go with Decision Points. This despite the fact that he could never get a straight answer about how many points he, in his capacity of the Great Decider, was supposedly awarded for making so many good decisions.

To get the full measure of the man, readers should pick up a copy—it is quite heavy—and savor the poignancy of his many blindsidings. But, for your convenience, here are bites that provide a fair and balanced taste of the book:

I Was Borned
“What a huge surprise! I was just literally blindsided. One minute I’m snoozing away in the amniotic fluid (didn’t think I know big words, did ya?), the next some clumsy doctor smelling of booze is slapping my ass!” (Page 1)

I Get Spanked
“I swear I wasn’t doin’ nothin’! This mean kid with a mustache in my nursery school was burying weapons of mass destruction in the sandbox, and I went over and bopped him in the kisser. Next thing I know, the teacher is grabbing my arm and swatting my ass. Talk about being blindsided!” (Page 17)

My Daddy Pulls Strings for Me
“Maybe I was passed out or something,’ but I find myself yanked off the sofa down in Midland, and hauled off to this fancy-pants school named Yale. Don’t know what you call being awakened from an alcoholic stupor, but I calls it bein’ blindsided! At Yale, these snobby guys that talk without opening their mouths make fun of my accent until they see what a good cheerleader I is. I get picked to be in Skull and Bones, where you is initiated by havin’ your ass paddled by this wooden deal. Does I learn anything there at Yale? I learn it’s good to be a Bush, and I don’t mean one with berries on it.” (Page 89)

Me and Laura Hook Up
“I seen this hot chick at a barbecue, and the next thing I know, we is hitched! Was I blindsided, or what? Maybe because ever since Yale, I had been blindsided by Jim Beam, and when I say blind, I was so wasted all the time I couldn’t see my ass from a hole in a ground!” (Page 191)

I Draw a Blank
“Jim Beam blindsided me for at least 20 years, maybe 30 ... who cares? Laura blindsides me by makin’ me make a decision, it’s either her or Jim Beam. It was a big decision, so to help me decide I goes on a gigantic bender over in Dallas, and the next thing I know someone cracks me over the head with a Bible, and so I trade Jim Beam for Jesus. Then, just like out of the blue, I get blindsided by Bushie trottin’ out these young gals what are evidently sprung from my very loins. I recommend it, discoverin’ you got daughters all growed up. Nice kind of blindside since I didn’t have to deal with dopes like me datin’ my girls. (Page 447)

What, Me President?|
“Me goin’ to the White House got to be the biggest blindside in history. I was minding my bidness down on the ranch, ridin’ my mountain bike, next thing I know they’re nominating me for president! I figgered they mistook me for Jeb, who talks good and looks presidential though I tease him about bein’ a chub. Well, campaigning was kinda fun, though I couldn’t watch as many ballgames and eat as many pretzels. Never in a million years thought I’d be elected, then wham! Those boys on the Supreme Court go and blindside everybody by appointing me to be president!” (Page 531)

Bein’ President
“‘Cept for ol’ Cheney paddlin’ my ass every day, bein’ president was a gas, ’cept for the American people, who was, like, totally blindsided by my presidency.” (Page 660)