MR MEDIOCRE; He Dodged the Draft and Frittered His Youth Womanising, Drinking and Sniffing Cocaine. His Success Is Due to His Father's Influence - and Other People's Money. So Is George W. Bush REALLY the Best America Has to Offer?
Byline: DANIEL JEFFREYS
AMONGST the dozens of billionaires who have made George W. Bush's presidential campaign the richest in U.S. history there is, at last, cause for celebration.
After a disastrous defeat in the New Hampshire primary at the start of the month, where his Vietnam veteran rival Senator John McCain buried him, Bush's decisive victory in South Carolina at the weekend has made him the Republican front runner once again.
Despite his record of alcohol abuse, drug taking and womanising, Bush scored huge victories amongst South Carolina's religious Right, an ironic outcome that leaves him just one more big win away from securing the presidential nomination.
Whilst the money men who have given Bush a [pounds sterling]50million war chest are happy, the rest of the world is puzzled. Can George W.
Bush, a man whose life, despite huge advantages, has mostly been marked by mediocrity, really be the best America can do?
To many in despair at the post-Clinton state of U.S. politics it is stunning that the Republicans have no better prospect for the world's most powerful office than a man who, in a recent speech on trade, thundered 'if the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow!' George W's nickname in Texas is 'shrub,' a demeaning reference to the fact he has always been regarded as a smaller version of his father, former President George H.
President Bush's eldest son was born in
1946 to a father who was a war hero and a legend at Andover, his school, and Yale, where he graduated near the top of his class. The Bush family is intensely competitive, a legacy of George W.'s grandfather, Prescott, who kept league tables of his children's achievements pinned to the kitchen wall.
The Bushes regard themselves as part of America's royalty - former President Bush is actually a distant cousin of the Queen - and young George W. was groomed for political prominence from the start. The only problem was his gifts seemed to be meagre.
In his teenage years George W.
struggled under the weight of his father's legacy. His marks were unimpressive and not good enough to guarantee him entry to Yale. That problem was solved by grandfather Prescott who was a trustee at Yale.
Once in, George W. lived in a dormitory lined with portraits of his father's sporting exploits. By now it was the Sixties and the frustrations he felt, with his poor marks and inadequate sporting prowess, were easily suppressed in alcohol, drugs and women.
George W. has refused to talk about his alleged cocaine use since last year when he was asked on television if he could have passed the standard White House drug test whilst his father was president.
After what seemed like a self-incriminating pause, he said he could have passed.
A more revealing portrait of Bush was provided by former chief-of-staff to President Bush, Michael Dannenhauer. He disclosed that George W. was 'out of control' on cocaine and alcohol from the time he attended university.
Dannenhauer alleges Bush took cocaine and had extramarital affairs but 'his abuse of alcohol was worse'. Bush has said as much himself. Until his 40th birthday, by his own admission, Bush had a hangover every morning. He frequently drank half a bottle of bourbon a day. After a drunken debauch of a 40th birthday party
and a walk around the White House lawn with preacher Billy Graham, George W.
became a teetotaller and born-again Christian.
At least that is the official view. A darker possibility is offered by Dannenhauer, who says George W.
was warned by his father to shape up or see his role as heir apparent to the Bush legacy given to his younger brother Jeb - the Governor of Florida who is often referred to as 'the smart Bush'.
GEORGE W. seems to have purchased every one of his achievements, including victory in South Carolina, with somebody else's money. …