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The Dubya Diaries | The Nation

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The Dubya Diaries

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President Bush is preparing an astonishing U-turn on global warming, senior Washington sources say. After years of trying to sabotage agreements to tackle climate change he is drawing up plans to control emissions of carbon dioxide and rapidly boost the use of renewable energy sources. Administration insiders privately refer to the planned volte-face as Mr. Bush's "Nixon goes to China moment", recalling how the former president amazed the world after years of refusing to deal with its Communist regime. --The Independent, September 17

About the Author

Rosecrans Baldwin
Rosecrans Baldwin's stories have appeared in the New York Times, New York magazine and on NPR's All Things Considered....

September 2

I didn't know jack about boats growing up. Or polar bears. My parents raised me in the Texas desert and both were uncommon, but how boats floated always fascinated me. Not until I was 7 did I realize they stay afloat because the magnetic properties of fish underwater repel the hull. Which is why Laura and I don't eat too much fish--magnetic poisoning.

But this morning I accidentally dropped a Post-it note in my cereal. And it floated! Now we all know Post-it notes are neither magnetic nor boats, so have I had it wrong all this time? Or do I switch to eggs in the morning? Unsure. Hungry. Note: Ask VP to consult FDA.

September 3

I met Diane von Furstenberg tonight. We hosted a White House dinner for the King of Belgium and there she was in the greeting line. I tried to turn away but she caught my hand. "Mr. President," Diane von Furstenberg said, "I am a famous fashion designer. You may know the wrap dress I invented in the seventies."

I was tempted to ignore her. Or break down crying. Instead I shook her hand and thanked her for coming, but I did not say what I was thinking, which was, Fursty, I have loved your utilitarian chic for decades, but you have let me down. All that pomp and flash in the Spring 2007 collection that I previewed on the internets? Have you lost your mind? Because me and Suzy Menkes almost lost our lunches.

I Blackberry'd Barb and Jen from the can and advised them to hit Marc Jacobs in the morning. Fursty has lost her thrust.

September 6

Re: my environmental policies, some expert on CNN said, "A stitch in time saves nine." And I thought, Doesn't anyone speak clearly anymore? Nine what?

September 8

A secret for you, diary: Contrary to the news reports, I did read President Ahmadinejad's letter. I read it in bed when Laura was sleeping with a warm glass of milk. And I'll admit that in all of Imanutjob's gobbledygook there was an interesting observation. "How can a follower of Jesus Christ, who believes in human rights and open societies, make war, have countries attacked and people destroyed? Sir, you are putting the chicken before the egg."

"What an idiot," I thought. "Chicken before the egg? How can you have a chicken first when chickens come out of eggs?" I drank some milk. Then I stuck my fist in my mouth to keep from spitting the milk on Laura. Because, diary, I was floored. I almost fell out of bed. Bopboparoobop was right--in order to have an egg in the first place, you got to have a chicken.

September 10

People make a fuss about what I read. As though I'm not a big reader. Like my wife isn't a former librarian. Reports, secret memos--between 10:30 am and 4:15 pm my reading glasses barely leave my nose.

Tom Wolfe is a favorite of mine. The man's written fifteen books--he is a proliferating author--and I always thought I liked best the one about the magnetic acid. But just this morning on Air Force One, I finished Charlotte Simmons. Talk about liturgy! I tapped the cover and told an aide, "This guy isn't just a novelist, he's the novelist."

It's time Updike got another audit on his taxes. I told the aide that, too.

September 11

Busy couple days. 9/11, obviously. A time for sorrow, remembrance across this great nation, melon platters. We'd been noshing all day, but Laura still wanted a fancy lunch in Manhattan. I said I wasn't hungry. She said, "Then you can't have dessert." I said, "Then what do you call this Jawbreaker in my pocket?"

I was in a funk. The gang left for a restaurant, and in the hubbub I ditched my security detail and hiked up to Central Park to see the polar bears. For some reason me and polar bears get along. Them in New York City, me in DC--we're equally out of our natural elements. We both may look happy, but it's a sham. Being President doesn't guarantee you fit in with the Washington crowd. It's a lonely job. You don't even have a name. It's always "Mr. President, I love you," "Mr. President, sign this," "Mr. President, Mr. Cheney will see you now."

I bought a ticket for the zoo and found the bears' cage the same time as a young mother and her son. The three of us realized our despair at the same time: The bears were gone. We stared around the big enclosure--fake rocks, rubber toys, a scummy pond--but there weren't any animals.

"Global warming, folks," said a zookeeper strolling by. "It's too hot this summer. Bears got heat stroke."

The boy cried the same time as me. I tried to give him my candy but his mother yanked him away. I stared at the bears' enclosure a little longer and wiped my eyes and thought, You're the President. Sure you're in a cage, too, but maybe you can do something to help that boy. To save those bears. Maybe you can do something to save yourself. Isn't things going to change?

Global warming, the man said. I'll have to see about that.

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