May 14, 2005: Poking the tiger

I keep seeing all these articles -- no doubt written by doughy, middle-aged frumps who last touched their toes during the Carter Administration -- about what a bad-ass mountain biker Bush has become. These same Scott McClellan hand puppets yammer on and on about how Bush routinely blows away his Secret Service escort and any other riders who join him.

The image
The reality

Does it not say something about the prioritization of Bush's "work" schedule or the fitness of the Secret Service agents that a 58-year old man who supposedly has a pretty all-encompassing desk job can significantly outperform field agents 20 and 30 years his junior? Field agents for whom physical fitness is presumably a job requirement?

Somebody is not doing their job properly, or maybe, just maybe, and I know this is a stretch here, it could be that like national security, the National Guard controversy, the exploding deficit, or the little white lie gone massively wrong in Iraq, the hand puppets might be sucking up to the POTUS and obsequiously regurgitating rote policy statements, pat explanations, trite denials, and demographically inspired personal tidbits specifically conceived and calculated to resonate with select voter touchpoints.

Personal tidbits like his manly and virile love of mountain biking or like his varied and eclectic range of iPod music -- how is it that the man who doesn't read the papers, has been carrying around the same copy of I am Charlotte Simmons for months, and requires an English language translator whenever he leaves Shitkicker County, Texas has such diverse tastes and deep associations when it comes to music? Let's not even get into what a huge ball of hypocritical bullshit Bush and the other Republicans are for waging holy cultural war on smut peddlers like Janet Jackson and Howard Stern while Bush is soaking up every sex-soaked page of Simmons, the twins are loving the positive cultural values of "Desperate Housewives" (didn't Republican dickwads like Rick Santorum practically gag on their V-chips when that "Desperate Housewives" promo ran on "Monday Night Football" a few months back -- God and the Republican party loves a short memory), and Laura is plagiarizing a bestiality masturbation scene from "Kingpin" at the at the 2005 White House Correspondents Dinner.

It's almost as if Karl Rove and the rest of the Crawford Cartel sat around a table and tried to think up some way to connect with those demographics crucial to their Social Security revamp -- baby boomers and young adults. I don't know what would make me take such a cynical perspective on something so innocent as somebody's musical tastes, except maybe insipid headlines like CNN's "Bush bares soul with iPod 1". There's just too much wrong with those six little words to even know where to begin.

Look honey, POTUS listens to the Doors just like we did when we were hippy stoners at Turlock Community College, he's so cool (See earlier rant about Republican superhypocrisy when it comes to their devotion to their self-defined family values -- wasn't Jim Morrison a total wasteoid, and weren't the Doors part of the whole 60s drug culture); and he likes country, what a man of the people; and there's a song by a woman, geez, this guy really does embrace the broad spectrum of peoples and cultures that is America.

Nah, they'd never do something so calculatingly deceptive.

Well, they would and they do, but in reality, they don't even have to try. A Google search returns thousands of hits about Bush's iPod playlist, but none of these thousands of hits actually list all the songs. Instead, the same handful of songs is cited in every article and pundits comment on the variety, meaning, and significance of Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, and "My Sharona." Buried under syrupy headlines about his iPod soul and paragraphs of inane blather about his diverse tastes, the fourth place estate finally acknowledges that Bush doesn't even select the songs for his own iPod. This duty is farmed out to various assistants, media strategists, and PR wonks. So, if Mark McKinnon (Bush's Chief Media Strategist) and Blake Gottesman (Bush's personal aide) are the ones selecting and loading the music to Bush's iPod, then how is this music any reflection on Bush? How indeed. You know the answer, it's called marketing and it's all about socially sanctioned lying in the battle for your perception.

The image
The reality

But back to the mountain biking. My FBI file is already several inches thick, so I figured what the heck, why not do a little fact-checking of my own and find out how good the POTUS really is on a mountain bike. Though it will probably lead to Patriot Act approved wiretaps, subpoenas, and undoubtedly an IRS audit, I sent the following e-mail invitation to our trusted leader.

Greetings Mr. President,

My name is Chris "Cannonball" Johnson and I am an avid mountain biker and cycling advocate from California. Though I am not a supporter of your policies, I am very interested in your newfound interest in mountain biking.

In particular, I was intrigued by a recent article in the Washington Post that mentioned you have become so good at mountain biking that you've developed a mountain bike race course at Camp David. It also stated that you are now better than most of your riding companions, including the Secret Service.

Mr. President, I am not a pro racer, but I am a strong mountain biker with an intense interest in cycling, politics, and the state of our country. To that end, I would like to respectfully invite you to visit me here in California for a tour of some of my local mountain bike trails. Alternatively, I could travel to Camp David or Crawford for some mountain biking with you on your home trails.

There is no partisan political agenda behind this request, just a desire to connect with you on something we can both agree on: the pleasure of mountain biking. I am the author of an online cycling blog, Sweep the Blog, Johnny!, and I would love to share your cycling views and skills with my readership, and in so doing, help both sides of the partisan debate realize that there is common ground.

Most of my readers disagree vehemently with you and with your policies, but I think that if you and I could meet amicably on the singletrack, it might be the perfect way to start dissolving some of the distrust and partisan rancor that exists between Blue America and Red America. Mr. President, if we went on a mountain bike ride together, I think it would send a positive signal to the country.

I know you are extremely busy, and I am not a politically powerful person, but as a proud American, I hope to have the opportunity to show you around my local trails or join you for a tour of your local trails.

Thank you very much for considering this request. Best regards,


It's hard to ride when you're shitfaced on power and piety

True, Cannonball may have been an unfortunate choice in signatures for correspondence with the President, but hey, that's the name they gave me.

Here is the deeply personal, immensely spiritual, and completely predictable response:

Thank you for e-mailing President Bush. Your ideas and comments are very important to him.

Because of the large volume of e-mail received, the President cannot
personally respond to each message.

In addition to, we have developed White House Web Mail, an automated e-mail response system. Please access to submit comments on a specific issue.

Additionally, we welcome you to visit our website for the most up-to-date information on current events and topics of interest to you.

The Republican image
The Republican reality

If for some reason you don't hear from Sweep the Blog, Johnny! within the next couple of weeks, please send a care package to me at Gitmo, or Pakistan, or Uzbekistan, or wherever it is we are rendering our dirty laundry these days.


Mileage: 25.83 Time: 2:21:53 Avg: 10.9 Max: 38.0 Weight: 163.5

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