Who throws a shoe? Honestly! (Apologies to Austin Powers.)
The Presidency is a dangerous business. Almost 10% of everybody who has ever held that office has been assassinated. Others have had close calls. Others still have simply died in office. Compare that to your line of work. Doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?
Consider that, during his “farewell tour” of Iraq, President Bush narrowly escaped full facial impact with not one, but two, Rockport walking shoes. Appeared to be about a 10 ½ D, traveling at somewhere around 40 mph. And he wasn’t even wearing a helmet.
Now, some have found the violent assault on the American President amusing. In fact, one lady being interviewed by a TV reporter, laughing, said “He threw one for the world”. Another person suggested the shoes be immortalized by having them bronzed.
CNN’s Michael Ware, reported “Opinion is divided – in support and in condemnation of this action”.
David Letterman, speaking of the President’s impressive lightning-quick reaction that kept him from being nailed in the face, said “I don’t think Bush has dodged anything like that since the Viet Nam war”. Later in the show, somebody chucked a pair at Dave.
Watching the video of this historic moment, I too was impressed with Bush’s agility. He may be the only president we’ve had in my lifetime that was capable of making those effectively thrown missiles miss their intended mark. I imagined what would have happened if previous presidents had been in his place.
Clinton, of course, was accustomed to having articles of clothing thrown at him. But he was never very nimble, and would likely have been carried out with at least one stiletto stuck in his forehead. Hillary would probably have removed the other one and walked barefoot to ride with him in the ambulance.
Bush 41 would have had a coalition of support that would have never allowed this to happen. Matter of fact, that reporter would likely have surrendered his shoes when he walked in the door.
Reagan. He took a bullet! Even a pair of Shaq’s shoes wouldn’t have awakened him from his nap.
Jimmy Carter? Nobody would throw a shoe at Jimmy Carter.
Gerald Ford, I’m afraid, would have been the first POTUS we lost to footwear. Sadly, the culprit might not have even had to remove them. Ford would have just tripped when he walked into the room and strangled himself on the laces.
It is accurate to say that I have not been among President Bush’s greatest fans, but I do want to go on record, right here, right now, condemning this atrocity. I mean, you just can’t go ‘round tossing brogans at the President of the US of A. I like to think that, had I been there, I would have stepped up and taken those shoes up-side the head for my country. Which leads me to wonder “Where was the Secret Service?”
Those dudes are supposed to be ready & able to take a bullet for their boss, and here the poor guy had to artfully dodge two articles of footgear on his own? Those things could have caused mass destruction right there in Iraq. And some of you doubted the weapons were there. The whole thing reeks of conspiracy if you ask me.
I understand the shoes have been confiscated by federal authorities and will be held as evidence. Rest assured that all “foot-age” of this event will be reviewed and studied for decades. A commission will be established, but the findings will probably not be released in our lifetimes. Books will be written. Movies will be made. Songs will be sung. An American legend was born this weekend.
Laugh if you will, but this was George W. Bush’s finest hour. Years from now, we all will remember where we were and what we were doing on the day those fateful shoes were hurled at the head of our very own head of state. And, great president that he is (was), he made ‘em miss.
By far, the smartest, and coolest, thing GWB has done in his eight years in office.
© 2008 Rick Baber