George W. Bush

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Presidents of the United States of America
Bill ClintonGeorge W. BushBarack Obama


"I'm George W. Bush, and I approve this trope message. Now watch this drive."

The 43rd President of the United States, in office from 2001-09. He succeeded Bill Clinton, and was succeeded by Barack Obama.

George W. "Dubya" Bush is a Republican and the son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush. He was an owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team and the Governor of Texas prior to reaching the White House. Famous for his frequent malapropisms (known as Bushisms), such as "I know how hard it is to put food on your family". Ushered in a veritable golden age of political satire in America. Also "starred" in not one, but two sitcoms (That's My Bush! and Lil' Bush, both on Comedy Central), which pushed satirical boundaries in doing so.

Got elected by a very narrow margin (leaving him as only the fourth person to be elected president despite not securing the highest number of votes), complete with controversy and demands for recounts; won his second election more traditionally with far less controversy (although there were several disputes over voter fraud/voter disenfranchisement). A brief policy overview: President during the September 11 terrorist attacks, ordered the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan and achieved highest recorded approval ratings in the aftermath; decided to invade and occupy Iraq on grounds that proved dubious at best, the length and cost of the occupation resulted in historic low approval ratings as his second term drew to a close; invested in AIDS awareness programs in Africa, and the fledgling science of nanotechnology; signed the US out of the Kyoto accords; promoted the No Child Left Behind Act; signed the PATRIOT Act into law; oversaw tax cuts for the rich and bailouts[1] for the big banks. Some editors would probably have some triumphant line of argument to add here in support or opposition of any of those, but they should know better.

Helped popularize the phrase, "I'm <Your Name here>, and I approve this message.", which is now standard operating procedure for political ads on TV, usually as an alternative to the "Paid for by..." voiceover.

Had a memoir released in November 2010.

Bush is one of two sons of Presidents to become President (the other being John Quincy Adams), and he is a fifth cousin four times removed of former president Franklin Pierce. He is also the first descendant of a former president to serve two terms (John Quincy Adams and Benjamin Harrison both served one). Bush endured one assassination attempt: a guy lobbed a grenade at him while making a speech with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tblisi, but the grenade was a dud, and Dubya was completely unharmed. This makes him the first president since James Monroe elected in a year divisible by ten neither to die while in office nor to be severely injured in assassination attempt (or, you know, actually be successfully assassinated).

Please exercise the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement when editing this page.

George W. Bush provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Arch Enemy: Osama Bin Laden. One could argue that Michael Moore also fits this trope.
  • The Atoner: How Colin Powell claims he saw his resignation from the administration.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty: He never used the word "Strategery" (although he did say "misunderestimated"). That was Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Although she was his top diplomat, not his bodyguard, there's often speculation from some he had some... interest in Condoleezza Rice. She did call him her "husband" by accident, after all.
  • Catch Phrase: "Stay the course."
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: His dodging of the shoe thrown at him when he was carrying a press conference.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dick Cheney. This carries over into the Oliver Stone movie.
  • Defector From Decadence: Colin Powell sees himself as this.
    • The Starscream: What others, such as Cheney in particular, see him as.
  • The Determinator: George Bush, facing a very low approval rating eventually, but still continuing with what he saw as the War On Terror.
    • Ironically, by the end of his second term, Bush himself issued a timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
  • Disease Bleach: The stress placed on him during his presidency made him look much older by the time his presidency ended than when he was first sworn in.
  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Trope Namer, either from Bush himself or Cheney.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Sometimes Condoleezza Rice gets portrayed as this trope, depending on how she gets interpreted.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Is very proud of being a Texan. Although if it matters, he was technically born in Connecticut.
  • Fan Nickname: "W" and the famous "Dubya" can and have been used both affectionately and disparagingly.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Genius Ditz: He did graduate Yale, but certain famous misspeakings of his got him frequently lampooned as an idiot.
    • It was once observed that his GPA at Yale was roughly equal to Al Gore's at Harvard. Later it was observed he actually got BETTER grades than John Kerry, who was more commonly depicted as The Smart Guy in his attempt to beat Bush.
    • He's also the only President to have an MBA from Harvard Business school.
  • Generation Xerox: He is the son of 41st President George H. W. Bush.
  • Happily Married: To his wife, Laura.
  • Hate Dumb: Not necessarily applied to his low approval ratings, but to a few particular criticisms of him.
    • Many blame him for the 2008 economic crash, despite the fact that his predecessors Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did most of the deregulation of the financial sector that allowed the crash to happen; Bush's involvement in it barely extended beyond the fact that the crash occurred during his presidency. On top of that, two of the biggest causes of the crash were large amounts of private citizens taking on risky loans and leases to purchase extravagant houses and vehicles that they normally wouldn't be able to afford and flippers artificially driving up the prices of houses, something Bush had no control over.
    • Later in his second term, Bush was regularly blamed for a huge spike in gasoline prices (reaching over $4 a gallon at its peak) during his presidency, with some tinfoil hat wearers even alleging that he was personally profiting from it due to his connections to the oil industry. However, the real causes of the gas price spike were the global demand for oil increasing dramatically during the 2000s due to the explosive growth in automobile sales in developing countries like China, India and Russia, and the price of oil being artificially inflated by speculators; the latter became obvious when the price of gas dropped dramatically after the 2008 economic crash. The fact that gas prices went back up to nearly $4 a gallon under his successor Barack Obama and how many are now blaming Obama for the high cost of gas show that when it comes to the cost of gas, the president doesn't have much of a role beyond being a convenient scapegoat.
  • Heroic BSOD: When an aide whispered into his ear what was happening on 9/11 while he was reading a book to schoolchildren, he understandably froze up for a few moments.
  • Hidden Depths: A recent interview with Condoleezza Rice in which she was questioned about several Republican candidate's lack of knowledge in foreign affairs revealed that when George W. Bush was running for president he was already an expert in Latin American geopolitics and spent a significant amount of time trying to catch up in the current events and history of other parts of the world of interest to the US. He is also fluent in Spanish, to the point it is joked that he can speak his second language better than his native one.
  • History Repeats: George Bush is elected to replace a popular President who has reached his term limit. Almost immediately into his Presidency, major events in foreign policy happen in quick succession, which he handles skillfully to success and high approval ratings. However, people start questioning his handling of the war in Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and when the events in foreign policy calm down and attention turns back to domestic issues, which Bush fumbles and handles lacklusterly, his popularity declines sharply. He leaves office with low approval ratings and is replaced by a young Democrat who won over the people with a skilled campaign.
  • Insistent Terminology: it's Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.
  • Internet Backdraft: Say anything about him online, if you want to start one of these.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Had a few moments of this; the more famous instances are calling a reporter a "world-class asshole", and telling Tony Blair to "get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit".
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Donald Rumsfeld's "known knowns" speech. When gathering military intel, there are things you know, he calls known knowns, things you don't know but you're aware you don't, he calls known unknowns, and things that take you by surprise, he calls unknown unknowns.
  • Kill It with Water: Waterboarding. Although it doesn't actually kill the target.
    • Usually. Asphyxiation is a very real danger with waterboarding. It also carries a risk of lung, heart, and brain damage. There's a reason it's controversial.
  • Lighter and Softer: Got into office running as a "compassionate conservative". In retrospect, nobody likes this term. Depending on who you ask, it's either a smokescreen to get votes or a license to, well, go soft on beliefs to get votes they won't get anyway. His dad said similar things when he ran, promising a "kinder, gentler nation".
  • Malaproper: Multiple statements by him, contributing to his image as The Ditz.
  • The Man Behind the Man: There's always someone strong, within the White House, who influences the president more than others do, and you can always tell by the decisions that are made, by the directions that they go, and the way they play politics. In Bush's case, it was split between Cheney and Rove; the latter for his electoral campaigns, and the former for everything else. Later on, Bush started listening to Cheney less and less by the last two years of his presidency (he refused to pardon Scooter Libby, refused to attack Syria like Cheney wanted, and signed an order that asked for the withdrawal of Iraq troops).
  • Memetic Mutation: "Well, actually, you forgot Poland."
    • "Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."
    • "Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?"
    • "There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, 'Fool me once, shame on... shame on you... Fool me-- you can't get fooled again.'"
  • Morality Pet: Cheney is very fond of his former Chief-of-Staff, Scooter Libby.
  • The Napoleon: Portrayals of him often get into this, even though he's a little taller than the average American. The portrayal stem from some of his tics, as well as facing the even-taller John Kerry in the 2004 election.
  • Never Live It Down: Some statements Bush made that were turned into Malaproper and Cheney's hunting accident while quail hunting.
  • Nice Guy: During the 2000 elections he was seen as very warm and personable, described as the candidate most Americans would like to sit down and have a beer with (ironically, he's a recovering alcoholic).
    • He absolutely refuses to say anything negative about his successor Barack Obama because he feels it's unbecoming for an ex-President to speak ill of the sitting President.
      • Dick Cheney is much less reserved, though.
  • The Nicknamer: Bush was known for the many nicknames he gave people.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Given some of the stuff Bush pulled over the years, it's quite hard to believe that he's half as stupid as he lets on.
  • Only in Florida: The chaos surrounding his runoff with Al Gore was arguably the largest example, and provides the page image.
  • Pet the Dog: Appearing at the Haiti fundraiser after the 2010 earthquake to help out in the relief fund. Happened about a year after his presidency ended.
  • The Power of Love: As mentioned above, Laura got him to sober up by forcing him to choose between her and the booze. He picked his wife.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni to Cheney's Blue Oni. Among his rivals, he makes a Red Oni to Gore and Kerry's Blue Oni.
  • The Rival: First Al Gore, then John Kerry.
  • Sex Is Evil: After Lady Liberty's breast was covered up, John Ashcroft got accused of believing in this. For another side of this, it's worth noting that the implementation of this was done by a member of his department, instead of Ashcroft himself.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Bush seems more idealistic, Cheney gives off the appearance of being more cynical.
  • The Stoic: Dick Cheney
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Condoleezza Rice
  • Super Reflexes: When he dodged that shoe.
  • Undying Loyalty: Katherine Harris, Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney (Which isn't to say Bush didn't make decisions he didn't like; he still says mostly positive things about him), and probably Condoleezza Rice.
  • The Unfavorite: The Oliver Stone movie interprets that he was this while his brother Jeb was the one his parents had high expectations for.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: According to the movie by Oliver Stone, it is often perceived his brother Jeb was the one his father expected to get higher office.
    • In one of Jr.'s nightmares: Dream!Poppy: "A hundred years it took to build up the Bush name and you single-handedly destroyed it!"
  • Would Be Rude to Say Genocide: Didn't acknowledge the Armenian Genocide so as to not upset Turkey (an ally of America), a policy that his successor Barack Obama has continued.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Bush was known for his loyalty to his True Companions, but this did happen in one case, with Katherine Harris. She played a controversial and important role in counting the ballots that were needed for Bush to win the 2000 election as Florida's Secretary of State. When she finally ran for Senate, the White House did not repay this favor, not giving her any support in her Senate race, and she lost it in a Curb Stomp Battle to Bill Nelson.
George W. Bush has been portrayed in:
  • That's My Bush!
  • Lil' Bush (featuring Flea as Lil' Dick Cheney!)
  • W. (Dubya), a critical (yet surprisingly sympathetic) biopic by Oliver Stone starring Josh Brolin (American Gangster, No Country for Old Men, The Goonies) as Dubya and James Cromwell (Babe, The Green Mile) as George H. W. Bush (AKA "Poppy").
  • Understandably, he's prominently featured in Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.
  • You're Welcome, America, a satirical Broadway play starring Will Ferrell as Dubya. Featuring a rather suggestive interpretation of Dubya and Condie Rice's relationship and Audience Participation in the form of Dubya giving people nicknames.
    • Ferrell was also the first W. Bush portrayer on Saturday Night Live, and probably the one who left the greatest impression on the public. Dubya has also been played on the show by Chris Parnell, Darrell Hammond, Will Forte, and Jason Sudeikis, at varying levels of success. Bush was, especially during the Ferrell years, portrayed as a lovably clueless yokel ("We're coming for you, bin Laden. I'm gonna make you my own personal Where's Waldo. And unlike those frustrating Waldo books, I'm gonna find you.") with Dick Cheney (always played by Darrell Hammond) portrayed as an Evil Chancellor. Just imagine Bush and Cheney as the Sultan and Jafar from Aladdin. In the post-Ferrell years, Bush occasionally became a bit more sleazy if a sketch called for it. Incidentally, "strategery" was said by Ferrell's SNL parody of Bush rather than the real Bush.
  • Mentioned in the song "Only For Now" in Avenue Q, a rare instance of the performers expecting/encouraging a song to be interrupted (by laughter and applause); it was well-received enough that, after he left office, a contest was held for a new line, and the change was "George Bush was only for now."
    • At least one production has replaced his name with the line "GLENN BECK! is only for now!"
  • In Postal, he holds hands with Osama Bin Laden, skipping towards a nuclear holocaust together. Needless to say, it's a Uwe Boll film.
  • Dead Ringers, 2DTV and The Impressionable Jon Culshaw, here grouped together because the portrayals were done by the same people and were very similar, portraying Bush as a malapropism-prone ("My Fellow Armadillos...") warmongering idiot who loved Sesame Street and was surrounded by hapless advisors having to explain things to him with sock puppets. The satire was, however, rather undermined by the fact that they kept reusing the same 'President Idiot' jokes from Spitting Image (then aimed at Ronald Reagan and Dan Quayle) which if anything only evoked nostalgia in a lot of the British audience.
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Escape from Guantanamo Bay, despite being highly critical of Homeland Security, portrayed Bush in a rather neutral (even slightly positive) light.
  • Transformers (2007) Although his face wasn't seen, he was portrayed lying down in his bed on Air Force One asking a stewardess for Ding Dongs. A character at one point notes that the whole incident could decide his presidency. Which means in movieland, George W. Bush brought us the Autobots ate snack cakes while the Decepticons attacked.
  • In The Legend of Koizumi, he's an incompetent fool for the first part of the story, looked down on by his father. In a sentence you probably didn't expect to see in your lifetime, George W Bush Took a Level in Badass after Bush Sr. is killed by Nazis from the moon.
    • Also gets points for using Bush's real life Dead Little Sister, Robin, in a completely tasteful and heartwarming manner.
  • Seen and heard all over the place in Recount, a dramatization of the infamous Florida Recount of 2000, along with Al Gore. The two are portrayed (with great restraint) by voice-actors and body doubles until the very end, when their victory/concession speeches are played.
  • Bush is a fairly significant character in The Salvation War. His famous stupidity is mere obfuscating.
  • The premier episode of NCIS featured clips of Bush regularly, including a scene taking place at a speech where he only appears on the video screens and one where he boards Air Force One. The scene immediately following shows a very convincing imposter, only shown from behind, greeting some of his security personnel on the aircraft.
  • An H-Doujinshi ("Viva Freedom") showed Bush & Saddam Hussein having a three-way with "World Peace-chan".
  • Shown (among other famous people) as exemplars of facial readings on Lie to Me.
  • South Park, though often political in nature, is well known for almost never attacking politicians directly (or at the very least portraying them as just as bufoonish as all the other adults on the show). Bush and his cabinet were revealed in one episode to be eminently crafty, as they were the ones who created the 9/11 Truth movement -- they wanted people to think that the government was all-seeing and all-powerful rather than inept. In other words, 9/11 wasn't a U.S. government conspiracy, but the 9/11 conspiracy theory was.
  • Eminem's song "Mosh" was during the 2004 election, with a direct address to 'Mr. President! Mr. Senator!' at the end. Throughout the song, Mr. Mathers suggests he respectfully disagrees with the President's ideas.
    • Some also accused the video of featuring a soldier leaving a photo of Bush with a knife in his head. Someone Did Not Do the Research; it's at 2:52, and the knife is holding the photo on the wall, and not actually in Bush's head.
  • Loudness directed at least two Protest Song s at him, "Misleading Man" and "Unknown Civilians" from their album Racing, and referred to him obliquely in "The Candidate" on Pandemonium.
  • Oddly averted by The Simpsons. The same show that portrayed Homer getting into a fistfight with Bush SR. never featured any "appearances" by Dubya throughout his entire presidency. Note that every other president who was alive from the time the show began has been portrayed on The Simpsons at least once (except Barack Obama, but we're only four years into his tenure...and his wife has already had an appearance).
    • He was referenced, albeit accidentally, in the episode where Homer fights Bush Sr. In an attempt to lure Bush out of his house for a prank, Homer uses cardboard cut-outs of two men in suits on the porch that he calls "your sons, George Bush Jr and Jeb Bush!" According to Word of God, they didn't actually know about George W. at the time, and said that "George Bush Jr" was an example of Homer being Homer.
    • Homer is shown in a family photo album having a fistfight with George the Younger in the Oval Office, right after a photo of his brawl with George the Elder.
    • He was frequently referenced, however. At one point Homer referred to him as "Captain Kookoobananas."
  • Family Guy portrays him in an extremely negative light, with cutaways showing him as an idiot or a coward (trying to enlist for The Vietnam War years after it ended, hiding in a treehouse to avoid dealing with Hurricane Katrina). The harshest example would be the Season 10 episode "Back to the Pilot", where Brian prevents 9/11 by warning his 1999-era self, which results in a Post Apocalyptic Alternate Universe where Bush lost the 2004 election, lead the South in forming a new Confederacy, and started a nuclear war with the US.
    • Ironically, the closest thing to a neutral portrayal was his first, where Peter works for a tobacco company and wines and dines Bush and Gore to loosen restrictions on cigarette sales. In the DVD commentary, the writers remark that they only included him out of fairness and thought he had "no fucking way" of actually winning.
  • Appears in the American Dad episode "Bush Comes to Dinner", where Stan wins a contest to have dinner with him. Hayley tries to destroy Bush's reputation by getting him Off the Wagon, but when he comes to her defense after Stan calls her a lost cause she changes her mind, remarking "At least he's better than Cheney." The portrayal is surprisingly sympathetic, having him be depressed over the fact that so many people hate him and wondering if he should just quit, before Stan's contest-winning speech gives him the heart to stay the course.
    • He also appears (after a fashion) in "Stan of Arabia" pulling a Big Damn Heroes and saving the Smiths from being stoned, but it turned out to be All Just a Dream, as well as the pilot where God calls him and tells him to quit mentioning his name in his speeches (followed by answering a call from Cheney with "Yes, sir?").
  • Bush goes up against an Allosaurus in the 2004 Presidential election in Irregular Webcomic. (The Allosaurus wins.)
  • British pop duo Pet Shop Boys did a satirical love song portraying Tony Blair and George W. Bush as lovers, entitled "I'm with stupid."
  • Industrial Metal band Ministry had not one or two, but three anti-Bush albums. Not three songs, three albums
  • In A Girl and Her Fed, W. serves as the Clippy-esque avatar for a neural implant chip. Word of God claims that this isn't a reflection on his presidency per se, but that the author just liked the nickname "Bitty Bush".
  • Appearss as a Young Future Famous Person in Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, an Alternate History scenario. When The Vietnam War heats up again in 1973, Bush is unable to get out of the draft as he did earlier on, and ends up in a North Vietnamese POW camp (even meeting John McCain at one point). When he's eventually released, he becomes an actor in science fiction.
  • Ozy and Millie. Llewellyn runs against him in 2000 and 2004; the 2000 strips mock the shouting around that campaign (and provide artist DC Simpson with some Old Shame). Shortly after 2000, Millie vents her feelings with a 'Mister W' sock puppet, including at one point bashing it with a ruler while disagreeing with No Child Left Behind, in a quickly-apparent short-sighted protest.
  • He also make an appearance in Marvel's Ultimates line. He asks Captain America if 21 century was "Cool or Uncool?", later, Air Force One is highjacked by supervillains, and the last thing he's seen saying is the name of his wife.
  • In the same vein, he's seen making the presentation in the Marvel's Squadron Supreme.
  • In Cage's song "Grand Ol' Party Crash", we hear several spoken interludes from "The Dubya", voiced by Jello Biafra.
  • The short-lived This Just In had an episode where the conservative main character's one-liners were eerily restated in some of Bush's speeches. In a vast departure from other humor concerning George W., they made fun "with" rather than "of". In the episode in question, the President turned out to not only be an excellent pilot and very intelligent, but spoken in a British-style accent ("I went to Yale, for God's sake!"). Turns out his mispronounciations and other quirks the media/internet constantly berated him for were an act.
  • Robot Chicken likes to play up his love of tacos, and had a famous skit where he becomes a Jedi and fights a lightsaber duel with Abraham Lincoln. Bush wins.
  • According to the lore of Assassin's Creed, Bush was backed by the Templars while Gore was backed by the Assassins during the 2000 elections.
  • Frequently mentioned in Treme, which makes sense, seeing as how it's set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Mostly from Creighton and Davis, the mot political characters. He's also the subject of Davis' song "Shame, Shame, Shame [on you now, Dubya]."
  • Conor O'Berst of Bright Eyes wrote an entire song on Bush - an exceptionally scathing one at that - entitled "When the President Talks to God".
  1. And yes, "bailout" is the technical term. It's occasionally confused with "stimulus"; however, that term refers to the Keynesian policy of "priming the pump": increasing government spending or loosening the money supply to get money flowing and jumpstart a failing economy. While monetary stimulus--loosening the money supply--was applied during the Bush Administration, that is at the discretion of the Federal Reserve, not the President or Congress; fiscal stimulus--increasing government spending--was discussed under Bush, but it was deemed to be politically necessary to leave that to his successor (whether that was John McCain or Barack Obama), as Bush by this point was a highly unpopular lame duck.