Here's the bottom line, in a few approximate figures:
-- Deaths of US soldiers in Iraq = around 4,226
-- Unemployment in the USA = around 7 %
-- Disapproval rating in God's Own Country = around 67 %
In his most recent speeches, Bush has been striving to persuade people to retain a favorable impression of his eight years of havoc as the big boss of the USA.
When I try to imagine the aspect of George W Bush that annoys me most, I revert automatically to my love of science and my personal bias towards scientific logic. Students of my generation worshipped naively a process known as induction, which was a sophisticated scientific variation on the theme of generalization. We were led to believe that scientific laws arise almost spontaneously, whenever we happen to encounter the same kinds of events reoccurring in a similar fashion... such as the Sun rising every morning, and setting every evening. The general idea of induction is that, after following the Sun's movements for a certain number of days, you'll be led inexorably, almost automatically, towards a sound theory of the movement of our planet within the Solar System. Now, I don't know whether or not Bush has ever heard of induction, or whether his brain would be capable of analyzing such a philosophical concept. For argument's sake, let's imagine Bush for a moment as a turkey being fattened for Thanksgiving Day. Using induction (which, I repeat, is a false theory), George W Turkey would have included that God and Man are great benefactors of turkeys, which gravitate in perpetual Freedom (a term that Dubya loves, without necessarily knowing what it means) in a God-Given Cosmos of Turkey Lovers... Then, as the Thanksgiving Day axe was about to descend upon its neck, the presidential turkey would make a speech: "Knowing what I knowed, I did my best, and I trust that posterity will love me." Axe, slash, blood, feathers, crash... like a stratospheric goose in a jet engine over Manhattan. It's not impossible that Dubya will land safely and calmly. Americans, to my mind, are basically forgetful, often simply stupid (when they vote, for example). We'll see...
When Isaac Newton got hit on the head by an apple, he suddenly imagined (so the lovely legend goes) that an ubiquitous force was forever attempting to drag, not only apples, but everything in the Cosmos back towards our humble planet... and vice versa. I try to imagine George W Bush, in the place of Isaac Newton, getting hit on the head by an apple at his ranch in Texas. I see him exclaiming to his admiring wife: "Laura, with the help of God, I've given these apples their freedom! They're falling henceforth on my dull brain!" But we wouldn't have got a theory of the universe...
The following photo was taken in front of 10 Downing Street on 3 January 2009, after an anti-Israel demonstration:
As you can see, they're not apples. An observer might say that Bush is no longer connected directly with current events in Gaza. But the Old World seems to have retained already the image of a down-to-earth object, a male shoe, by which to remember the outgoing president. And this striking symbol is becoming a universal expression of opposition. But I'm exaggerating a little. While the missiles in question can certainly be described as down-to-earth, they weren't really striking. Dubya ducked. Neither an apple nor a shoe ever hit his brainless head.