Bush "collides"' in Scotland

Bush on his mountain bike

Spin at work

The story leads are remarkably consistent:

  • "U.S. President George W. Bush grazed his hands when he collided with a police officer on Wednesday while cycling through the grounds of Gleneagles, the luxury hotel where world leaders are meeting." — Reuters
  • "President Bush collided with a British police officer during a bike ride Wednesday evening, suffering scrapes on his hands and arms that required bandaging, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said." — CNN
  • "President Bush collided with a local police officer and fell during a bike ride on the grounds of the Gleneagles golf resort while attending a meeting of world leaders Wednesday." — Associated Press

The half-dozen versions of the bike 'collision' story that I read went into great detail about the need for medical attention by the White House physician, about the damage to the First Bike, and about W's solicitude toward the police officer — I guess that's W's "compassionate conservative" inner self.

But what most of the stories didn't point out is a detail that Reuters buried down in the fourth paragraph of their dispatch.

"GLENEAGLES (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush grazed his hands when he collided with a police officer on Wednesday while cycling through the grounds of Gleneagles, the luxury hotel where world leaders are meeting.

Bush, celebrating his 59th birthday, went for a ride shortly after arriving for the summit of the Group of Eight major powers, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

He was pedalling along on a road near the Scottish golf resort at what McClellan called a "pretty good speed" about an hour into his ride when he collided with the police officer.

The officer, on security duty from a local police department, was on foot." — Reuters [emphasis added]
tour de france

The officer was on foot??? When I read "collision" I envisioned a peloton of policemen on bikes spinning along a narrow Scottish lane with W in their midst and accidental contact causing a spill. It happens to Lance Armstrong all the time.

This is so typical Bush White House. Yes, it's true, "collision" does refer to two or more objects coming together with forceful, direct impact. But usually both of the objects are moving! Two cars collide on the highway. NASA's Deep Impact collided with the comet. But Bush didn't collide with a moving policeman.

No, Bush ran into a policeman on foot. Bush ran over a policeman on foot. Bush bowled over a policeman. Yes, bowled over is more like it: "to strike with a swiftly moving object."

No wonder Bush was so solicitous! He was probably negligent, going faster than conditions warranted. Biking unsafely, in other words.

This isn't the first time Bush has fallen while biking. In fact, he seems to be something of a serial klutz. Gerald Ford had a similar problem when he was president. He was forever beaning someone with a golf ball or tripping over his own feet getting off Air Force One. It seems to me that Bush doesn't get his fair share of mockery.

And the news media in this instance essentially covered up an important part of the story, one that makes a person question W's judgement and/or skill.

At the risk of practicing psychology without a license, it looks to me like Bush is suffering a mid-life crisis. He is the right age for one! Careering around on a mountain bike. Taking a jet fighter to the USS Lincoln instead of a presidential helicopter. Lipping off all the time, as in "Bring 'em on!" and "Dead or alive." Taking unnecessary risks. This is the sort of thing middle age men do when they don't want to admit they're no longer young men.

Someone should tell him to act his age!