From George Washington’s coonhound named Drunkard to Andrew Jackson’s fighting cocks, presidential pets have always been a fixture of American politics, or at least American political media. With the country atwitter over the Obamas’ new puppy, Sunny, we couldn’t help but reminisce about the other pooches that have pawed around the White House.
Enter George W. Bush, Barney, and Miss Beazley. There’s no use beating around the you-know-what: the videos that Bush 43 made with his dogs might be the most ridiculous pieces of filmmaking ever. Whereas the latest White House release is a short, tasteful, glossy production of Sunny playing with Bo, the FFDOTUS (First First Dog of the United States), the Bush holiday videos—there are at least 10 of them, with names like Barney Reloaded and A Very Beazley Christmas—are low-budget, über-cheesy, almost vaudevillian mini movies featuring a star-studded cast of characters.
Remember those janky home videos you made in middle school? That’s what these are, times a thousand and featuring the most powerful man in the world. Some highlights include: President Bush chastising Barney for wanting to be part of his cabinet; Barney playing cards with Press Secretary Ari Fleischer; senior adviser Karl Rove randomly pelted by Christmas tree ornaments. The one notable absence? Dick Cheney, of course.
To think that this was going on during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars … but on the bright side, Bush and his buddies are no different from you and your middle-school friends.