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Bush leagues

January 04, 2009|Zachary Pincus-Roth

His squint, Texas drawl, malapropisms, work habits and political failures have rendered George W. Bush a delicious target in all corners of pop culture. Now that the president is on his way back to his ranch, and before these renderings recede into the mists of ancient history, it's time to honor the best portrayals. Here are some notables facing off against each other:

-- Zachary Pincus-Roth


James Adomian


Ferguson frequently interviews Adomian-as-Bush, who addresses the host with nicknames like "Fergerdoodle" and "Craigs Over Easy."

Pro: Adomian also starred as a pot-smoking Bush in "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay."

Con: Runs the "Bush is dumb" theme into the ground.

Quote: "I promise the American people that I will not leave office until I unlock every song in Guitar Hero 3."

Jon Stewart


Stewart sometimes punctuates his Bush commentary by hunching over, squinting his eyes and giving it his best.

Pro: Stewart's is an everyman impersonation, an off-the-cuff estimate of Bush's ever-elusive reasoning.

Con: Stewart mocked his own mimicry skills the day after last year's election when he mused, "Oh, Bush impression, I'll miss you the most" and introduced an Obama impression that was the same thing.

Quote: "He-he-he."



Will Ferrell


Description: Ferrell's is the gold standard of Bush impersonations, begun on "SNL" during the 2000 campaign, refined at fundraisers and on the Web, and now coming to Broadway in "You're Welcome America" beginning Jan. 20.

Pro: Ferrell's interpretation hinted at the man-child persona that would serve the actor so well on the big screen.

Con: Ferrell left "SNL" in the lurch, as neither Chris Parnell, Will Forte, Darrell Hammond nor Jason Sudeikis performed Bush as memorably.

Quote: "Strategery."

Frank Caliendo


Description: Caliendo served as the show's resident Bush and continued his impression on TBS' "Frank TV," which recently completed its second season.

Pro: Caliendo admits he's about 70 pounds heavier than the president, but he does the voice dead-on.

Con: Those Dish Network commercials.

Quote: "As the king of America -- land of the free, home of the Whopper -- I have made mistakes as president. I've said some words wrong. Sometimes I get halfway through a sentence and I . . . "



Comedy Central


Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame created this parody in which George (Timothy Bottoms, right) and Laura (Carrie Quinn Dolin) are characters in a classic multi-camera sitcom.

Pro: It nails the 1970s cliches, including a ditsy secretary, snarky maid and overly excited laugh track.

Con: It lacked the 1970s prices, as costs reportedly caused its cancellation after eight episodes.

Quote: Bush's catchphrase: "One of these days, Laura, I'm gonna punch you in the face!"

Comedy Central


In Donick Cary's animated show -- also for Comedy Central -- George H.W. Bush is the president and son Lil' Bush goes to Beltway Elementary.

Pro: An amusing concept, complete with friends like Lil' Cheney and Lil' Condi.

Con: On the show, George Senior is fretting about an Iraq war that in real life was started by his son, who on the show is in grade school. Huh?

Quote: "I don't negotiate with administrator-ists."



Josh Brolin

'W.' (2008)

Brolin charts the prodigal son's journey in a film directed with uncharacteristic moderation by the liberal conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone.

Pro: As Times critic Kenneth Turan wrote in his review, "Perhaps the crucial reason 'W.' succeeds as much as it does is the surprisingly empathetic work of Josh Brolin."

Con: The film divided critics and will likely be considered a respectable but minor work in the Stone canon.

Quote: "In history we'll all be dead."

Timothy Bottoms

'DC 9/11: Time of Crisis' (2003)

Bottoms plays a take-charge Bush in Showtime's docudrama that depicts Sept. 11 from the president's perspective, written by the outspoken conservative Lionel Chetwynd.

Pro: Bottoms shows his Bush versatility; he also played the president in "That's My Bush!" and in "The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course."

Con: Some found the film too pro-Bush.

Quote: "If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell 'em to come over and get me."



JibJab videos (2004)

Santa Monica-based JibJab's animations of Bush and John Kerry insulting each other to the tunes of "This Land Is Your Land" and "Dixie" became viral sensations during the 2004 election.

Pro: 50 million views for "This Land."

Con: An unfortunate legacy: friends forwarding you annoying Web videos.

Quote: Bush to Kerry: "I'm a Texas tiger / You're a liberal wiener / I'm a great crusader / You're a Herman Munster / This land will surely vote for me."

Shoe-throwing games (2008)

Thanks to the boredom of computer nerds everywhere, an Iraqi journalist's hurling of a loafer at Bush resulted in a barrage of websites where gamers can reenact the incident.

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