03 December 2009

Our Inspiration

From a Florida newspaper editorial, the anecdote that inspired our blog's title:

After more than an hour of solemn ceremony naming Rep. Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, as the 2007-08 House speaker, Gov. Jeb Bush stepped to the podium in the House chamber last week and told a short story about "unleashing Chang," his "mystical warrior" friend.

Here are Bush's words, spoken before hundreds of lawmakers and politicians:

''Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society.

''I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down.''

Bush then unsheathed a golden sword and gave it to Rubio as a gift.

''I'm going to bestow to you the sword of a great conservative warrior,'' he said, as the crowd roared.

The crowd, however, could be excused for not understanding Bush's enigmatic foray into the realm of Eastern mysticism.

We're here to help.

In a 1989 Washington Post article on the politics of tennis, former President George Bush was quoted as threatening to ''unleash Chang'' as a means of intimidating other players.

The saying was apparently quite popular with Gov. Bush's father, and referred to a legendary warrior named Chang who was called upon to settle political disputes in Chinese dynasties of yore.

The phrase has evolved, under Gov. Jeb Bush's use, to mean the need to fix conflicts or disagreements over an issue. Faced with a stalemate, the governor apparently "unleashes Chang" as a rhetorical device, signaling it's time to stop arguing and start agreeing.

And Matt Yglesias' take on the story:

Jeb is badly confused here. His father wasn’t going to “unleash Chang” he was going to “unleash Chiang.” And “Chiang” wasn’t an ancient Chinese warrior, he was a mid-twentieth century would-be dictator of China. Jeb’s dad was making a joke about the wingnuts within his own party, the MacArthur and McCarthy followers who believed that the Truman administration administration was deliberately failing to defeat Chinese Communism by keeping Chiang locked up in Taiwan.

And just remember: Jeb Bush will be President of the United States one day. Most likely in 2016, but possibly in 2012 or 2020 depending on the course of events. The Republicans are bound to win one of these days, and they just can’t quit to (sic) Bush family.

No comments:

Post a Comment