George W Bush & the poncho that came for him became an inaugural meme

Let’s face it, probably the happiest person at the inauguration of the 45th President of the Untied States was former president George. W. Bush. Aside from the unfortunate ill-health of his parents, he likely sat back as the events happened and watched his own approval ratings rise. As Aziz Ansari suggested in his SNL monologue, who ever thought we’d be sentimental for W?

Anyway, one of the pitfalls of retirement is that you fall out of practice with many ordinary daily things. Apparently for W that included “dealing with rain-gear” last Friday. And I get it, swaths of plastic can be hard! A sea of dark colored umbrellas on the balcony of The Capital building might have appeared funereal, a metaphor I imagine the current administration would like to avoid. So those in the expensive seats were issued either clear umbrellas or plastic ponchos. W got a poncho instead of a bubble umbrella. That’s when things fell apart for him:

I kind of thought that “don’t put a plastic bag over your head” rule stuck with you well after your toddler years but good to know reminders are key. In the absence of his mother, W had his second mom, former Vice President Dick Cheney, to whisper in his ear what to do. And, as it often happened when they were in the White House, this resulted in W embarrassed and Cheney smirking behind him.

The memes, of course, wrote themselves. The internet was all over this:

And then Photoshop got involved and it was glorious:

I know this is a good display of Bush’s inability but honestly, it doesn’t look unplanned. Mind you, Bush was pulling these mugs from the start:

We know W was smitten with Michelle Obama and I think he was very impressed with Pres. O.’s time in office. His relationship with the Clintons greatly improved due to the relationship between his father and Bill Clinton. I desperately want to believe that this was his passive aggressive way on weighing in on the current president taking the oath. Maybe that’s too much credit, but that’s what I want to believe. Plus, don’t tell me Pres. Obama doesn’t know full well what’s going on behind him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mrs. O and W had a bet going to see who could make him laugh.

This was my favorite caption:

Watch it as it unfolds (<-- see? Puns in the Time of Orange.) Trigger warning - our current president is in this video

I stole the ‘… in Time of Orange’ joke from CB, btw.

I love the side Mrs. O brings out in him:

This photo makes me smile:

Photo credit: Twitter, Imgur, Getty Images and Fame/Flynet

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89 Responses to “George W Bush & the poncho that came for him became an inaugural meme”

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  1. Pip says:

    Dear old Dubya. Who’d have thought we’d see the day where he represents the cuddly, harmless face of the GOP ….

    • Megan says:

      I see a deeply immoral man sitting in that seat with the devil behind him. Bush started an illegal war that created a power vacuum into which a truly evil entity steeped. More than 1,000,000 people are dead because Bush wanted to avenge a slight to his father.

      And then there is his failure to act on climate change …

      • Pip says:

        Yes, I’m well aware of all that, having witnessed every nauseating second of his bromance with Tony Blair from this side of the Atlantic.

        However your new bloke is something else entirely – imagine how sinister someone has to be to make us go all warm & fuzzy over Dubya.

        I know which one I’d rather be stuck in an elevator with.

      • Megan says:

        I’m terrified of the things Trump may do, but I am horrified by the things Bush has done.

        Trump may prove to be far worse, but his potential crimes should never be used to lesson or normalize Bush’s crimes.

      • Pip says:

        Very true.

        However my contempt for Dubya was never quite as visceral as my fear & loathing of this new one. I literally can’t formulate coherent sentences about him yet – he renders me speechless which is never good.

      • ichsi says:

        I laughed at some of the memes and Ansari’s monologue but yes, this is the man who has started/facilitated so much of what is going wrong in the world rn. He might seem a dumb funny hick in pics but he’s a dumb funny hick who caused irreversible damage.

      • lightpurple says:

        @ichsi, and the hick bit is an act. His family roots are in Maine and Connecticut. His grandfather was a US Senator. He attended one of the country’s most prestigious boarding schools for high school in Massachusetts, an Ivy league in Connecticut and Harvard Business School and spent every summer in Maine. He is east coast old money Republican elite and the whole Texas hick bit is an act.

      • Emily says:

        Megan, I 1000% agree with you. Which is why on inauguration day…I hated myself a lot for laughing at it.

      • lizzie says:

        i agree. i was thinking these pictures are more of “a war criminal and his idiot fortunate son”

      • V4Real says:

        @Lightpurple but let’s not forget that W was a C- Harvard student and his entry into all those fancy schools were bought and paid for by White privilege.

        Trump is probably an intelligent man but I find him quite ignorant and stupid. Not fit to be President

      • sanders says:

        Agree 1000% with Megan. Once a war criminal, always a war criminal.

      • Agapanthus says:

        Yep. And please let us not forget Cheney and Rumsfeld who pulled his strings in every way possible.

      • Elisa the I. says:

        Well said, Megan. Couldn’t agree more.

      • angie0717 says:

        It’s Joe Biden seated behind W! Poor Joe. He ain’t no Dick Cheney!

      • Amity says:

        Exactly. Let’s not try to turn a mass murderer into a lovable oaf. The man is scum.

    • Radley says:

      I’ve felt for a long time that Dubya was the misguided rube with Daddy issues who got in way over his head. I don’t think he was qualified for the office of President in that he didn’t bring the intellectual heft or moral certitude needed. But I never felt like he was the evil one in his administration. Dick Cheney on the other hand. That is one genuinely sinister mofo.

      Trump is like Dubya exposed to nuclear waste in some kind of comic book villain way. LOL He’s 100x worse because he really is evil and incredibly arrogant. He’s also a misguided rube with Daddy issues. He just doesn’t know it.

      Boy the Republicans are working with some gems, right? Bad to worse. Yikes!

    • Sarah says:

      God, he’s an idiot.
      It is heartening to see that he and Hillary are friendly and that even the Bushes didn’t want the Orange Tweeting Toddler.

      • Amity says:

        Of course they’re friendly. They represent the interests of the same people and I don’t mean the American public.

  2. Rob says:

    But I bet that he is happy that Trump is now the most hated president ever, and it’s not him anymore.

  3. lightpurple says:

    I love that when W does these things, Laura completely ignores him. The headfirst fall off the Segway in Maine, the pretzel-choking incident, the fall down the stairs at the Beijing Olympics, and now this. Laura is always right there and goes on with whatever she is doing without acknowledging him flailing about.

    • Erinn says:

      I assume she’s used to it and has become kind of numb to it all.

      I know he was one of the most hated presidents ever – but retirement era dubbya really entertains me.

    • Embee says:

      Maybe she ignores him because he’s so clumsy it’s embarassing. After all these clumsy things she might not notice or just hoping if she ignores him, he’ll finally go away

    • Olenna says:

      For whatever reason, she dealt with his abuse of alcohol for years, so it might just be conditioned behavior.

      The memes are hilarious.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      I know Americans and many of us hate him (rightly so) but his memes made me laugh so much in a day where I didn’t even think I would be able to manage a smile.

  4. Aang says:

    Adorable instead of infuriating, who would have ever thought?

    • BeBeA says:

      I know right, I totally did not vote for this man, and I disliked him as a president, but I love his goofy personality. He gained cool points when i saw the way he interacted with Michelle Obama. Lol

      • Kitten says:

        As I’ve said before, I always disliked him and his awful presidency but I never had trouble understanding his appeal to the Right. Trump, on the other hand, has zero redeemable qualities.

  5. RussianBlueCat says:

    Barack is probably thinking:” I knew Joe and W were up to something when I saw them talking earlier!”

  6. maria says:

    He must have been so annoyed – rain and Trump, ugh.

  7. MinnFinn says:

    The photographs are misleading. In the video of him putting on the poncho (starting at 13 seconds) he doesn’t struggle.

  8. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    Duya was always the unintentional comedian. Bless

  9. Talie says:

    He is totally dyeing his hair too.

  10. Esmom says:

    The Busch Gardens shot made me inadvertently shriek with laughter. Too funny.

    I think W has been becoming increasingly addled. Remember his inappropriate prayer service — or was it a memorial service? — performance?

    And it definitely looks like Obama knows what W was up to behind him. Lol. Thank goodness for a few bits of humor during an otherwise extremely dark and disturbing event.

  11. Wait&See says:

    The “First time I’ll ever agree with George W.” Twitter clip is great. He so didn’t want to be there lol.

  12. Shambles says:

    My favorite caption was, “It’s good to see that George W Bush is still George W Bush.”

    I actually find him a little bit adorable and I don’t know how to deal with that.

    • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

      He has a dotty grandpa vibe about him now but its hard to forget what kind of president he was and the damage that he and Tony Blair did :(

  13. Ollie says:

    Suddendly the Bush years look so much better… 2016 really changed history

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      And isn’t THAT just the most depressing thing ever? Bush caused so much harm, he was such a terrible president Bush and pretty much laid the groundwork for the anger that drove people to vote orange. And now we look back on that time almost wistfully …. it’s just depressing.

  14. Trixie says:

    These photos are the best.

    It is interesting that the one person Trump’s win helped the most was George W Bush, because now everyone has a much softer view of him in light of Trump.

  15. Jess says:

    George W obviously wasn’t a great president, but I truly don’t remember thinking he was an awful person. Like I think he would be ok to chat with at a BBQ and I’d find him interesting, maybe a little stupid but funny. Social media wasn’t as big back then, or maybe I just wasn’t on it yet, but people didn’t hate him the way they hate Obama right? I mean the pure hatred people feel for him is crazy to me, and the facts of his presidency don’t support the hatred in my opinion. Trump is completely different so I won’t go there, ugh.

    • Trixie says:

      Facebook launched in 2003. Twitter launched in 2006. So yeah, social media wasn’t even around let alone big during W’s terms.

    • lightpurple says:

      He ignored a warning that Osama Bin Laden planned to hijack airplanes and fly them into landmarks. He started two unnecessary wars that killed tens of thousands. He knew in advance that New Orleans federally-approved hurricane emergency plan would be inadequate in the face of Katrina and not only did not tell local officials but violated the statutory provisions that required FEMA to show up within a specified time after the storm AND declined foreign aid that could have been there before FEMA, including a French hospital ship that was in the Caribbean, and then lied claiming that nobody offered help.

      • Embee says:

        I definitely hated him as a president! He was a nightmare

      • Esmom says:

        All this. Yet I think because he didn’t rant like a baby about crowd size and lie about the vast majority of things we can witness firsthand to be true that people are more willing to give him a pass. Also, he had the “old money” pedigree that Trump has always wished he had, which sort of camouflaged his crasser edges.

        In any case, during his presidency my friends and I used to debate about whether he was evil or dumb and I think we arrived at some combination of the two.

      • Christin says:

        He was a stubborn, not very bright person. I’ll never alter that assessment, no matter what comparisons there are. And his two terms ended with a huge mess for the next administration to (successfully) clean up. Unemployment, banking bailouts, housing crisis — how soon we forget, I guess.

      • lightpurple says:

        He was dumb. Cheney was pure evil incarnate.

      • Jeesie says:

        He’s not dumb. He’s not exceptionally smart, and in an ideal world where intelligence and experience factor in more than money and connections, he wouldn’t have been fit to be President, but it bothers me when people act like he was just some stupid rube who didn’t know any better.

        Yes Cheney and co. are pure evil, but GWB was more than smart enough to know that and understand the consequences of what they were putting forward. He made active and informed choices all the way through his Presidency, and as a result hundreds of thousands died for no reason. And he’s never shown any kind of remorse or guilt over that, in fact he often acted like it was no big deal. Even when talking about US military casualties theres a casualness there that’s disturbing. Between that and his reputation for relentlessly bullying people beneath him, the man comes off like a sociopath. The fact that he filled the White House with more obvious sociopaths isn’t exactly a reason to give him a pass.

    • Megan says:

      I can’t imagine chatting at at BBQ with someone who authorized the use of torture. But maybe that is just me.

      • Tata says:

        Yes. Thank you Megan. How do people forget? That was a horrifying time and my history professor who was a former veteran was furious and lectured us that day on the history of torture and Geneva Conventions that had been forgotten.
        Same with Gitmo.

        Bush laid the ground work for trump to continue his evil.

    • Jeesie says:

      People hated him the world over, and with good reason. He’s a war criminal responsible for hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian deaths.

  16. OSTONE says:

    Gosh in light of what we have today, I’ve got to say I miss Dubya.

  17. Chantal says:

    My two favorite people together are Michelle and W. They should write a sitcom base on them. I just love their relationship and Laura’s indulgent smile at her husband. He is the school clown.

  18. Insomniac says:

    That last picture of his face with the poncho cracked me up. To me it looks like he’s saying “Remember when I was the most unpopular Republican president? Hey Barack, pass the popcorn!”

  19. Merritt says:

    I never thought I would feel nostalgia for George W. Bush’s time in office. Yet here we are. At least in his case I can say some nice things about him. Even if they are generic things about how he genuinely loves his family. That can’t even be said about Baby Fists.

  20. Cerys says:

    It’s a sign of how bad the current situation is that I can think back to Dubya with something resembling nostalgic affection. The recent memes were good. His struggles with the poncho were a welcome distraction from the despot’s speech.

  21. Jayna says:

    The difference with Trump and Bush, for me, is this: I despised Bush’s policies, dragging us into war. I didn’t think he was an evil person. I felt he was a zealot. He truly believed in what he was doing and felt he was on some mission, which is dangerous in and of itself, the zealotry he displayed. Plus, he had Darth Vader as his vice-president, who was very prominent in running the country. But I always felt he was a loving husband and loving father and loving son. I only truly hated Bush by the last few years of his presidency, because I was furious he was re-elected. After he left and stayed quiet, I went back to despising his presidency and what he did, but I didn’t hate him as a person.

    Donald Trump is a disgusting human being on every level, every single level. His narcissism knows no bounds. His rhetoric has incited the racists an bigots to come out of the shadows feeling emboldened to be more vocal, like his election gave them permission. I don’t recognize our country anymore in many ways. I hope that feeling goes away.

    Aziz Ansari’s opening monologue was fantastic on SNL and really touched on so many truths.

  22. Giddy says:

    Look how delighted he is to see Michelle! I really think he adores her. In fact, in that picture everyone is grinning at her, except Darth Vader Cheney who looks like he is ducking. I’m suddenly praying that Trump and Cheney never get close.

    • Llamas says:

      I heard dick Cheney was the orchestrator of everything and W was his puppet.

      These pictures are everything though. I appreciate how he’s just disappeared to go painting. It’s kind of nice how all the presidents and their families have an ex presidents club.

      • lucy2 says:

        Not a puppet! Not a puppet! You’re the puppet!
        Sorry, just a natural reaction when I see the word puppet now. But I do mostly agree re Cheney, though Bush let it happen.

      • Kitten says:

        His paintings really aren’t half-bad either.

  23. crazydaisy says:

    Seeing Hillary and Georgie W all friends and buddy buddy doesn’t make me smile. Because, as I recall, Bush in office was not cute. To me, this pic sums up why HRC had no cred, and could not lead the Dems to victory. Political establishment blood runs deep and cold. My primary vote was with Sanders, but the country was not ready. It seems to have taken a Trump presidency, and the well-earned fear it generates, to enliven the progressive political revolution we so desperately need in this country. Saturday’s marches worldwide marked an important and resounding beginning. The struggle continues.

  24. lucy2 says:

    I love how the whole time, Obama is in front of him trying to be zen like “Good Lord, this idiot again.”
    I think there’s some level of respect/understanding in the POTUS club – they’re the only ones who know what it’s truly like to have that responsibility, and they all seem able to get along OK now. I don’t think Trump will be welcomed to that little group though. Especially once he’s impeached and booted out of office in disgrace.

  25. Cheryl says:

    There is a difference. W did some horrible things, but I don’t think he is an evil person. He’s dumb as a box of rocks, but I think he does have the capacity to genuinely care about others, even if it is horribly misguided.

    I truly believe Trump is evil, and unable to really give a shit for anyone but himself.

  26. Miss M says:

    I don’t miss him in office at all. But I loved the memes!

  27. Chef Grace says:

    Seeing who just became the new prez, even evil old Dubya wants to put a plastic bag over his head.

  28. LinaLamont says:

    NEVER would’ve thought I’d find Bush benign compared to anyone and wish he were back in office instead of Comrade Trumpsky

    “There’s a deeper story here, beyond a single briefing, no matter how memorable. Saturday made clearer than ever that President Trump intends to make the American media his foremost enemy.”

    “Trump wants a flat-out war with the nation’s media for one well-calculated reason: Because he believes it will continue to serve his political purposes, as it has for months.”

    Both quotes from following article:

    • teacakes says:


      That means subscribe to the newspapers wherever possible – both local and national, they need the paying $$$ to be able to keep functioning and not be entirely hobbled by advertiser pressure. Donald the Dick intends to kill off the traditional media by depriving them of access, setting them against each other, painting them as liars and getting them hated by his public – but without the press, you’ll have even more of a banana republic with no one to check the “alternative facts” i.e. LIES.

  29. anniefannie says:

    I came around on GB when Obama spoke about him at the opening of his library. I was baffled when he spoke of him so warmly but open to thinking we might not see behind the public personna. While I’m abhorrent of Bush’s presidential years and like others feel he was hugely misguided and trying to live up to big Poppa I don’t think he was pure evil… our current occupant

  30. MellyMel says:

    These pictures are giving me life right now! I can’t stop laughing at his goofy facial expressions! :) Also never thought I’d wish to have him back in office instead of President Snow…now that’s sad!

  31. Malificent says:

    It warms the cockles of my heart to see the bipartisan camaraderie between the ex-presidents and their families. They’ve all been in the same foxhole — and I think they come out wiser, and realizing that ideology and good intentions only get you so far as president. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will be the case for 45. I don’t see any likelihood for personal growth in the next four years (or six months, as the case may be).

  32. Isabelle says:

    Sure never liked Bush policies, he sent this country into a place we are still recovering from but man, he still cracks me up and like his quirky personality. His like for Michelle is also endearing. He lights up like a Christmas tree when he sees her.

  33. Fiorella says:

    I think maybe it was Sarah palin who disgusted me so much that it squeezed away my hatred for this guy. Then after her all the similar ones… They’re all a blur now. But I really couldn’t stand him at some point (for what he did, even if it was cheneys idea.)

  34. Amelie says:

    My favorite part about these pictures apart from Bush’s inability to grasp the concept of a poncho is Obama’s unchanging stoic expression in the pictures. He has the same stone face in all of them which I can’t blame him for having since that’s probably the only way he was able to get through that ceremony without grimacing or rolling his eyes at this farce.

    Also you can’t see in these pictures but Michelle and Jill were both sharing the same bubble umbrella (which is what Bush should have taken). #friendshipgoals

  35. mayamae says:

    I think Condoleezza Rice was his second mom.

    Cheney pretty much hates Dubya now because he refused to pardon Scooter Libby. It was the only time Dubya found his spine, and I loved it.

    I think the bumbling moron IS Dubya. It’s not an act. He’s been a perpetual class clown his entire life. Remember his second debate when he giggled and said, wanna buy some wood? I believe he’s very kind and generous with his own, but lacking in any empathy for the have nots. But then he was raised by Barbara – They are lucky Katrina destroyed their lives because they’ve never had it better than in Texas. Hope they leave soon – cold hearted, blue-blood bragger of having only kissed one man her entire life (because there were hundreds just banging on her door).

  36. Guesto says:

    Nope, afraid not. and a bit worried that a comical poncho is all it takes for people to forget the serious fucking evil this ‘harmless, gormless grandpa’ is responsible for.

    And no, it’s not good enough that, in context, he’s light relief. And no, don’t ever use Michelle Obama’s grace as a reason to think that she’s privately on board with someone so foreign to everything that matters to her. Her grace is about Laura Bush, not him. In the same way that her hand at the back of the terrified Melania on inauguration day was about her grace, not Melania’s.

  37. elle says:

    Dick Cheney is giving me the creeps. He looks like Death in an old western.

  38. Tara says:

    I never thought we’d sink lower than W. But here we all are. I do think Cheney was the real bad guy, and W the fall guy. Apt and hilarious observation, Kaiser, that Cheney’s smirk at W’s struggle encapsulated their reign.

    Really did enjoy the memes and can’t believe I feel nostalgic for W, even warm feelings. He obviously has a sense of humor.

  39. Dolphin7 says:

    I’m on the fence about W. Disliked his presidency, hated that he got us in Iraq, etc. But I do feel Cheney was really the mastermind and W was the stooge. But yeah after Trump he looks a million times better. I enjoy retirement W a lot more than President W. And yes I totally think him and Biden planned this. The Obamas have always spoken well about the Bushes, so I will choose to believe W is a good man at heart. I do like watching him around Michelle, he really likes her you can tell. Everyone loves Michelle she’s the best!!! Ugh now I’m all kinds of sads again that they are out of there😫