The on-line American Popular Culture discusses Bush and the cowboy myth this way: In an address to the nation, on March 17, 2003, George W. Bush declared, “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave
Eric Baard, writing for the Village Voice in 2004 offered a piece called "George W. Bush A'int No Cowboy." Here is an excerpt:
George W. Bush is a fake cowboy. From media accounts, you'd reckon that the president was a buckaroo to the bones. He plays up the image, big-time, with $300 designer cowboy boots, a $1,000 cowboy hat, and his 1,600-acre Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas. He guns his rhetoric with frontier lingo, saying that he'll "ride herd" over ornery Middle Eastern governments and "smoke out" enemies in wild mountain passes. He branded Saddam Hussein's Iraq "an outlaw regime" and took the vanquished dictator's pistol as a trophy. As for Osama bin Laden, Bush declared, "I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.' " Britain's liberal newspaper The Guardian noted that "such language feeds the image overseas of Mr. Bush as a hopelessly inarticulate, trigger-happy cowboy." But liberals from both coasts and Europeans who derisively call Bush a "cowboy" foolishly insult not Bush, but one of America's prime ennobling myths. Instead of ridiculing the myth exploited by George W. Bush, they may want to measure him against it.
"The idea of the American cowboy is the direct lineal descendant of the chivalric knight," observes Bonnie Wheeler, a medievalist in cowboy country. "The only serious difference is that your status doesn't depend on your social class." Editor of Arthuriana, the journal of Arthurian studies, Wheeler teaches at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "Our president," she says, "is neither a knight nor a cowboy. He doesn't believe in taking care of the little guy, nor does he have the restraint or dignity of the cowboy."
Painting Bush as a latter-day cowboy is an idea that has been used by both Bush critics and fans alike. American Popular Culture notes that:
After September 11, 2001... and in the months leading up to the war with Iraq, commentators began to portray Bush as a sheriff in the Old West who would go it alone without a posse if need be in order to defeat what he saw as lawlessness and evil. Europeans, who would not join the posse to defeat the outlaw, were compared to timid saloonkeepers and shopkeepers, afraid to confront evil and afraid of the sheriff who might shoot up the town while getting his man. Eventually, the sheriff realized he had to ride out without a big posse. Tony Blair became Tonto to Bush's Lone Ranger and rode along to cover his boss's back.
Many columnists and public figures outside and within the
used the cowboy myth to create a very negative image of George W. Bush as a blood-thirsty, trigger-happy loner. The love of the cowboy in the U.S. , however, became a potent means of coalescing support for George W. Bush as a fast-acting, straight-shooting, brave president. The cowboy myth produced positive associations for segments of the U.S. public that held conservative views while the myth produced negative associations for segments of the public with more liberal views. U.S.