Tuesday, June 17, 2003

It must be tough to be a down-home Texan when your own dad can't seem to let go of his New England wine-swilling roots.

Laura and the twins seemed to have more fun.

While the first lady, Laura Bush, was seen poking around a bookstore in town, and his daughters, Barbara and Jenna, now safely past their 21st birthdays, were reliably reported to have stepped into Federal Jacks, the local microbrewery and gathering point for college students, Mr. Bush never came into town. On Saturday, he attended the wedding of a Bush cousin at a beautiful stone church for 50 minutes. He skipped the reception.

Poor President Segway was apparently so miserable he couldn't concentrate on pretending to concentrate on work.

Ever eager to portray the president as fully engaged in his work, even on vacation, the White House detailed how immersed Mr. Bush was in the Middle East peace process. After all, he arrived here scarcely a week after organizing two back-to-back summit meetings, one with Arab leaders in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, and the other in Aqaba, Jordan, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian authority.

But change port towns, shift from the Red Sea to the Atlantic, and the details just fly out of your mind.

So outside the church on Sunday, when Mr. Bush was making the case that his administration was right on top of the "road map," as he calls the peace plan, the president said, "Of course, we just got out — Ambassador Welsh is there now, and he's working the process."

The White House transcript of his remarks was helpfully footnoted, indicating that the president meant to refer to his just-appointed personal Mideast envoy, John Wolf.

Helpful, those footnotes. I think history books will need one to put next to this entire term:

*The legitimacy of George W. Bush's Presidency has never been confirmed to the satisfaction of historians. For further reading, please the chapters on Election Reform, The Fall of Christian Fundamentalism in the U.S., and War Crimes & Impeachment.

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