The Fort Worth Star-Telegram gave a huge front page splash for the story of Bush going home (to Texas) with his head held high. He swaggers back, enveloped in his own idea of frontier diplomacy, the law of the six shooter.
The man, whose style caused the term *cowboy diplomacy* to be coined, will return to a state that would like to see the cowboy restored to the historic place of honor that it held in these parts from the days of the Western Frontier until...oh, say about eight years ago.
In July 2008 Texas Monthly's cover story by Elmer Kelton, True Grit, Kelton wrote:
There was a time when the word “cowboy” evoked respect, even envy. In ranching circles it was an honorable label that had to be earned. One proved himself worthy of it through character, deed, and skill. Many a wannabe ranch hand—like me—never acquired it. Yet regrettably, in recent times “cowboy” has come to denote rashness, a shoot-from-the-hip readiness to use force without regard to consequences—in short, a total reversal of the word’s original and true meaning.
...‘Cowboy’ no longer refers to a specific person or line of work but a style or way of doing things… The real cowboy has somehow been lost in all the reckless rhetoric that uses his name in vain. It may be too late to save his reputation from the sneers of the pundits and politicians, but let us at least try to present some of the truth about who he is and what he does.”
All Texans revere the historic cowboy of western mythology that exists even to the present day - the hard-working range-rider who saddles up with integrity. The rest of the world now holds a different view of what cowboys are all about. Barack Obama stampeded into Bush's old stomping grounds, roping in 57% of the vote in Dallas County - a county that has not voted for a democratic president since 1964). Bush is now off his high horse of political office and any day will leave his Crawford ranch and settle into his new Dallas home in the Preston Hollow neighbhorhood, where he had lived 14 years ago before he became governor of Texas.
This week I'm observing real cowboys (not lost in the reckless rhetoric) at the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo.
Update: Well, the dudes at Davos are calling for an end to cowboy capitalism: "The chairman of Lloyds of London, Lord Peter Levene, (the company has avoided trouble) called for banks to be boring again. “Boring is good,” quoth Lord Levene. The message to cowboy capitalists was clear, and it resounds in Davos: your free-ranging days are over"