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Wayne Lutz

Mr. Lutz is the editor, publisher and chief writer of The Tocquevillian magazine. He also writes and maintains a fitness website, and has been widely published in print media and on the web, mostly on health and fitness topics and on men's issues.

He is a member of the NRA, the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Heritage Foundation, and Judicial Watch. In his spare time he helps old ladies cross the street and is kind to children and puppies - habits which, admittedly, belie his unusual appearance.

Mr. Lutz is available to conservative organizations for speaking engagements, and may be reached at eic @

    The Cowboy In Us All

    by Wayne Lutz

    November 30, 2002

    Al Gore said it. Maureen Dowd said it, too. The Germans say it sternly and the French say it with hauteur. The Arabs say it, the Australians say it and even the Romanians say it. And Canadians. Oh, Canada! but do they ever say it.

    That American President, that George W. Bush, is a <sniff> cowboy.

    And the media, they say it with glee-filled contempt:

    "Latest cowboy president shoots from hip" - SeattlePost Intelligencer.

    "... critics maintain that Bush's 'cowboy rhetoric' is...

    "... complaints that Mr. Bush was a cowboy in charge of a rogue superpower..." - Straits Times, Singapore.

    "Bush doing pretty well for a 'half-literate cowboy' - The Free Lance-Star, VA.

    "Truth be told, however, our 'cowboy' had some powerful help: Senate Majority Leader Tom..."

    "When President Bush was the new guy at international summits, a lot of world leaders thought he was a clueless cowboy..." - USA Today

    "...Weiner said the alliance statement endorsing the UN position on Iraq showed that Bush was a summit success. 'He can still be a bit of a cowboy, but he's learning...' " - Prague Post, Czech Republic

    "Bush, at NATO Meeting, Firms Up His Posse" - New York Times.

    "...Despite the fact that Bush chose to go to the UN on Iraq, he is still seen as a cowboy..."

    And that's only today's news.

    It is telling that, to the Liberal Mind, the application of the "cowboy" brand is an act of derision. To shrill liberal columnistas, smugly superior Europeans, frightened Canadians and Al Gore (a class by himself) a "cowboy" is a being to be looked down upon and shunned, a being to which the more enlightened can feel superior, a being to be treated as a play-acting child. It is telling - especially in light of the Republican Cowboy sweep in the recent mid-term rodeo.

    Liberal pundits, pollsters and politicos have all weighed in on why the Democrats were so decisively thrown from the saddle. Those Democrats who are at least trying to be honest with themselves blame the lack of a clear "message." The more conventional liberals blame everything but themselves: Bush's war rhetoric, stupid voters, an apathetic "base."

    Republicans opine that the Democrats just don't understand that post 911 America is most concerned with her security, and that Americans trust the Republicans with this vital issue. That may well be part of it, but there is something much deeper at work here. In the midst of all the analysis, President Bush's approval numbers continue to soar to sustained heights never before seen. That unavoidable fact leaves those who call Bush a "cowboy" scratching their heads. Either they don't understand why, or in their efforts to delude themselves to lessen the pain, they come up with the wrong answers. But the answer is right in front of them, indeed they've said it themselves, ad nauseam:

    President Bush is a cowboy.

    The American people, the heartland, the mainstream, understand instinctively what the elite intellectual classes - especially the Europeans and Canadians - could never understand. We see the cowboy in George W. Bush, and it resonates. It resonates because it stirs the cowboy in us.

    America, you see, is a nation of cowboys, hard as that may be for the elitists to swallow. Mainstream America embodies the traditional cowboy virtues of honesty, integrity, courage, and self-reliance - precisely the qualities that built America and made it the greatest nation the world has ever known. The heart of the American cowboy is as big as the Colorado sky in its generosity and compassion and as hard as a North Dakota winter in its resolve. Americans are heirs to a tradition of courage and perseverance in the face of a challenge, and products of the high ideals of freedom and progress that galvanized us to tame a continent.

    The Texas Cowboy Gazette said it well: "In fulfilling a destiny, the Texas Cowboy bridged cultural, national, ideological and gender differences, and evaluated each individual on their own merit and accomplishment. This is not to say ignorance, prejudice and differences did not arise; rather, the culture was born of the free spirit, encouraged and accommodated the individual free spirit. Each person was accountable and responsible for his or her own actions."

    It is this spirit of respect for individual merit, unheedful of background or breeding, which sets us apart from the rest of the world and makes us great. That cowboy quality in Americans stands in stark contrast to the emphasis on class distinctions made by Europeans and modern American Liberals.

    In his essay "The Real Cowboy," Dr. Richard W. Slatta, Professor of History, North Carolina State University, recalls the words of William G. "Billy" Johnson, who worked the range during the 1880s. Billy wrote that "cowpunchers were square shooters, upright, and honest men. I never heard of a cowpuncher insulting a woman. If they were not up to par they were soon run out of the country."

    Square shooter, upright and honest is what people recognize in George W. Bush, because that's the cowboy in him.

    "Other sources from the 1880s likewise reveal positive appraisals of cowboy character," notes Dr. Slatta. "The Texas Live Stock Journal (October 21, 1882) wrote glowingly of the cowboy's courage, chivalry, and loyalty. 'We deem it hardly necessary to say in the next place that the cowboy is a fearless animal. A man wanting in courage would be as much out of place in a cow-camp, as a fish would be on dry land. Indeed the life he is daily compelled to lead calls for the existence of the highest degree of cool calculating courage. As a natural consequence of this courage, he is not quarrelsome or a bully.'"

    Cool, calculating courage - not bullying. This is what we've witnessed in George W. Bush, because that's the cowboy in him.

    "As another necessary consequence to possessing true manly courage, the cowboy is as chivalrous as the famed knights of old. Rough he may be, and it may be that he is not a master in ball room etiquette, but no set of men have loftier reverence for women and no set of men would risk more in the defense of their person or their honor."

    In defense of their person or their honor, and, by extension, the nation that a man has sworn to protect. Risking his political life in the prosecution of a just war. That's the cowboy in George W. Bush.

    President Bush is a cowboy all right, as we are repeatedly reminded. The spirit of the American cowboy that is in him stirs hope, inspires confidence and renews pride in the heart of a nation at war in defense of freedom. The rest of the world watches and bemoans the unprecedented support that the Cowboy has from the American people, unable to comprehend what they are seeing: the cowboy in us all.

    © 2002 Tocqevillian Magazine