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Weekly Opinion by Lindsey Eck


Bush switched with Good Twin during coronation


The Governor’s Mansion, Austin, Texas, 1999. Gov. GEORGE W. BUSH confers with advisers KARL ROVE and CONDOLEEZZA RICE.

Rove: Governor, the maquila workers in the colonias are angry. They demand sewer systems and running water!

Bush: Sewer systems, my butt! Have ol’ Health Commissioner Archer lecher ’em about their high incident of teenage birth rate. If their daughters would just keep their legs together and go work in the maquilas building SUVs for true Americans, they could afford to put in septic tanks theirselves!

Rice: Governor, born-again murderess Karla Faye Tucker is begging you to spare her life. Even Pat Robertson is appealing for mercy. Will you grant a stay?

Bush [mocking Tucker’s voice]: “Please don’t kill me! Please don’t kill me!” [Own voice:] Git ’er to the gurney as an example to others and I don’t wanna hear about no more delays! [Exit.]

Rice [to ROVE, sotto voce]: His high-handedness and lack of compassion — not to mention his horrible grammar — endanger his chances of succeeding his father as President.

Rove: True, but what can we do about it?


A cell in Huntsville State Prison. A MAN, his head covered by an iron contraption that conceals his face, beats the helmet against the bars of his cell, attempting to break it.

Man: This wretched mask! Surely there is some means of extrication!

[Enter RNC CHAIR JIM NICHOLSON. Two GUARDS accompany him.]

Guard 1: Now, you’re sure this one’s being sprung? We were told —

Nicholson: Well, I’m tellin’ you different and I’ve got the paperwork right here. Unlock the mask!

[GUARDS remove mask from head of MAN, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Gov. Bush if he were, say, a biker, with scraggly hair and an unkempt beard.]

Man: Who are you? Who am I? What am I doing here?

Nicholson: You will find out soon enough. For now, the important thing is to get you out of here where you may be safe.

Man: Where are you taking me?

Nicholson: Far, far from Texas, in a place where your enemies would never think to look for you — a mountain resort in the socialist stronghold of Vermont!


Early 2000. A press conference between GOV. BUSH and reporters. ROVE and RICE stand on the dais, silent.

Reporter 1: Governor, is it true you tried to cut back the number of children covered by the CHIP health-care insurance plan just for a small tax cut to benefit the wealthy?

Bush: I resent that characteration. Tax cuts puts more money in the pockets of hardworkin’ Texans of every income level!

Reporter 2: Governor, aren’t you concerned about the high levels of childhood diseases and low immunization rates in this state? And what about Texas’ high rate of HIV infection?

Bush: Jist givin’ out condoms won’t do any good. Listen, the well being of the citizens of Texas isn’t the concern of the gummint. That’s why I’m supporting faith-based initiatives to let these problems be handled by the right people: our brethren and sistren in the churches of the great state of Texas!

Rice [aside to ROVE]: One more press conference like this and we’ll hand the nomination to John McCain.

Rove: Relax, Jim Nicholson has a plan.


A room in a Vermont ski chalet with a gorgeous view of the Green Mountains. NICHOLSON is talking with the BUSH TWIN, now groomed to look just like the Governor, right down to the cowboy boots.

Nicholson: So you don’t know why you were locked up?

Bush twin: Well, after all, it’s Texas. They don’t need a reason.

Nicholson: And you truly don’t know who you are. What do you remember?

Bush twin: I remember St. Paul’s School, graduation from Pepperdine in three years, a life of ease and comfort golfing on a secluded island known as South Padre. Then, in 1980, I was seized by CIA agents and hustled off to the “hole” in Huntsville.

Nicholson: Your real name is Prescott Walker Herbert Bush. You are the identical twin of the Governor of Texas and next President of the United States. Your father George H.W. Bush knew that twin sons would destroy each other in a pointless sibling rivalry so he concealed your existence from everyone, even your mother Barbara.

Bush twin: My, my mother?

Nicholson: Yes, but following the downfall of our intrepid Newt the country no longer supports hard-right policies, yet your brother fails to live up to the “compassionate” moniker we have scripted for him. So, we intend to swap you for him, knowing it is you who has the high intellect and compassionate heart to lead America into the next millennium. Hail to the Chief!

Bush twin: When will you make this exchange?

Nicholson: At the RNC Convention in Philadelphia, where your brother expects a coronation. But first we must give you a crash course in good-ol’-boy slang and frat-boy values. You are far too articulate to pass for the real Governor. Your prep-school education will give you away.

Bush twin: But the Governor went to a prep school, as well.

Nicholson: Yes, but he doesn’t sound like he went to a prep school. We have to give you some quickie training in bogus country manners. [Picks up phone.] Room service?


Same room. RICE joins NICHOLSON and the BUSH TWIN.

Nicholson: Okay, what political philosopher has most influenced you?

Bush twin: Uh, Plato? Hegel?

Nicholson: No! It’s Jesus. Remember, you don’t like to read long, thick books except the Bible.

Rice: What do you call people from Greece?

Bush twin: Grecians?

Nicholson: Excellent! Define Taliban. Forget the real answer.

Bush twin: Innit some kinda crazy pill, like Prozac?

Rice: Well done! Now, remember, once we make the switch you will call yourself “George W.,” but you will speak of compassion and tolerance and you will surround yourself with GOP moderates, and you will not smirk. Just remember: Never drop the Midland accent!

Nicholson: The press is so easily fooled.


Backstage at the Republican National Convention, First Union Center, Philadelphia, August 2000. NICHOLSON, with ROVE and RICE, waits for GOV. BUSH to finish a phone conversation.

Bush: I’m tellin’ you, there is no budget shortfall. Have Carole make it look like a surplus till after November. Then it won’t matter. [Hangs up.]

Nicholson: Governor, there’s someone we’d like you to meet.

Bush: Goddamn, Jim, how many hands I gotta shake in one day?

Nicholson [ominously]: This meeting will be the last, Governor, I promise. [Motions to wings; enter BUSH TWIN, dressed identically to the Governor, with three immense TEXAS RANGERS, fully armed.]

Bush: You! But I had you lethal-injected!

Nicholson: We had a labor leader killed in his place. Governor, meet the next President of the United States — the compassionate, kinder, gentler George W. Bush! Guards, take him away!

Bush: No! No! I am W! He’s an impos–impos — a big phony! Arrest him! No!

[The GUARDS gag him, stun him with a Taser, cuff him, Mace him, and drag him away.]

Rove: It’s coronation time.

Rice: Just follow the TelePrompTer and don’t forget your drawl.

Bush twin: Yee-ha!

Voice of Rush Limbaugh: And, there you have it, my friends, the story of how the same party that sponsored the Contract with America came to hold a convention full of minority-group speakers. How the GOP came to steal the liberals’ thunder on issues like education and tolerance. How the Republican standard bearer showed true compassion and challenged Algore with the kinder, gentler vision his father had once endorsed. From the EIB Building in Manhattan, this is the Maharushi, El Rushbo, speaking to you with talent on loan from God.


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