Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rachel Maddow Mocks the Idea of Bush as a Motivational Speaker

AlterNet. Posted October 23, 2009.

Bush will be speaking along with Dr. Earl Mindell, whom the tour calls the ultimate authority on vitamins, fitness and nutrition. Career reinvention can be humiliating.

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Rachel Maddow Mocks the Idea of Bush as a Motivational Speaker

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The following is an excerpt of a transcript from a recent episode of the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. It has been edited for length and clarity. Click here for the original.

Rachel Maddow: On the same day we got the news about the post-electoral career paths of the two biggest names in Republican politics. Come December, the erstwhile future of the party, former half-term Alaska governor and vice president candidate Sarah Palin will be speaking in front of a sold-out crowd at the College of the Ozarks in Missouri. It's a private Christian school that is now most famous for hosting Sarah Palin, as well for its official policy on lifestyle/sexuality.

Posted at, the college policy prohibits sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assaults and also homosexual conduct--because, you know, it's all basically the same thing.

But the bigger Republican scheduling surprise of the day comes to us from the Bush family, with news that both former President George W. Bush and former first lady, Laura Bush, will be doing stints as motivational speakers, headlining multiple events for this couple, Tamara and Peter Lowe. They are described on their own Web site as the dynamic duo who create and produce the Get Motivated Seminar. It's also described them as having been married for 20 years. To add punch to that statement about their marriage, they have posted a picture of themselves online kissing at

The event at which George W. Bush will be speaking is described online as a "motivational mega-show that packs more inspirational firepower than a stick of dynamite!" Because dynamite is very inspirational....

The former president will be speaking at the motivational tour for two of their dates in Texas, one in October and one in December. For the December event, look who he appears to be replacing. If you go to the Corpus Christi event for December 1st, you'll see that among those speakers listed there is Dr. Earl Mindell--described as the ultimate authority on vitamins, fitness and nutrition.

Then if you go to the San Antonio date, the next day, December 2nd, you'll see in Dr. Earl Mindell's place, it's George W. Bush. He has replaced the vitamin guy.

Laura Bush will be speaking for the same series, but she'll be speaking in separate cities from the former president. She's described on the motivational Web site as having been, quote, "recognized by Gallop Polls as one of the most popular and beloved first ladies in American history." They spelled Gallup wrong, which makes me sort of sad. As you explore the Web site a bit further, you will find a list of frequently asked questions for potential attendees of these motivational events including this one that caught my eye just because it was unexpected.

Quote, "I'm being pressured to attend. I don't think I need to be fixed." The answer posted on the Web site to this frequently asked question is, quote, "Neither do we. The get motivated seminar is designed for anyone who's interested in continuing to grow and achieve new levels of success. This is the perfect opportunity obtain even more of what you want in your life and less of what you don't."

Unless, of course, what you don't want is to be pressured to go to a motivational seminar. One other frequently asked question that they answer on their "Get Motivated" Web site is this, "Can I get the same information from reading books?"

The "Get Motivated" answer is, "Not even if you read a billion books." And this is really just the beginning of the George W. Bush legacy speaking tour. Who knows what kind of sales conferences and corporate team building excursions he might one day book. The future looks very bright.

Joining us now is Wayne Slater, senior political writer with the "Dallas Morning News" and co-author of the book, "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential." Wayne, it's nice to see again. Thanks for joining us. ... I'm going to disclose my feelings about this if they are not already clear. This seems like a strange signal to send for the president's first big American multi-occasion speaking gigs. What signal do you think he's trying to send?

Wayne Slater: Look, this is the granddaddy of the sales motivation seminars. This is Babbitt meets the Super Bowl. I mean, this is about everybody you've ever thought you wanted to see, if you were sort of a middle-level salesman trying to sell stuff to people who don't want to buy what you're selling.

It's like - I think part of what George W. Bush is doing and you were alerted to it, this is really an introduction to the George W. Bush legacy project of which we are going to see a lot. Karl Rove is putting together a book. It's finished. It actually will be out early next year, explaining the Bush years.

Bush himself is going to prepare a book. There's a library being built, of course, in Dallas. This is part of the legacy tour. George Bush, who left office, as you may remember, with a couple unpopular wars and an economy going down the tubes, is going to be on the stage with winners, not losers. They are all winners up there.

Maddow: But he's going on stage at an event. I mean, spent so much time on this Web site today. Some of the things they promise people are going to learn at this event are how to irate customers into lifelong fans, the eight keys to communication and captivating public speaking. How to get your ideas accepted, acted upon and accomplished. It's seems like an odd thing for a very recent president to be aligning himself with.

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Rachel Maddow is the host of the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

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