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Climb Aboard The Bush Bus!

Walking past the AFL-CIO building on the way to work yesterday, I couldn't help but notice a gaggle of union-supporters and other passers-by crowded around a massive tour bus plastered with pictures of President Bush. Organized by Americans United for Change (AUC), the "Bush Legacy Bus" turned out to be an enormous bio-fuel-powered mobile museum set to tour the country for the next several months and showcase an exhibit on the missteps and abuses of the Bush administration. The 45-foot, 28-ton glorified rock n' roll tour-bus, I was told by press-secretary Julie Blust, would be road-tripping to 150 cities throughout the country, setting up shop mostly outside of Republican congressional offices, in order to remind Americans just how far the administration has taken the country off course (as if, with the president's approval rating at 29 percent, this were necessary).

I was encouraged by a pimply teenage supporter to hop on the bus and take an "interactive tour" through the administration's worst moments. At the back of the vehicle, a faux gasoline pump emblazoned with the emblem "G.O.P.--Grand Oil Party" stood nearby a glass display-case containing the Gortex boots and dog-tags of slain soldier Patrick McCaffrey. On the opposing wall, "The 3 R's of No Child Left Behind: Rhetoric, Retreat, Renege" was scrawled in remedial handwriting. From another side, maudlin piano music (clashing mightily with the bus's arena-rock aesthetic) wafted from a video-screen showing harrowed Katrina survivors in the Superdome.

According to AUC President Brad Woodhouse, the "Bush Bus" was actually the AUC's best idea for how to ensure that the administration would not quietly fade into history in its twilight months. Among other projects considered were a "Worst President Ever" statue in Crawford, Texas, a "Bush is a Bust" museum in Houston, and a miniature golf-course in Waco dedicated to the administration's fiascos. (The landmarks would have made a nice complement to plans for the George W. Bush Sewage Plant in San Francisco.)

Why did the "Bush Bus" ultimately win? According to Blust, the museum-on-wheels would be seen by many more than a stationary exhibit and, as she put it, would prove quite the spectacle. Can't argue with that: Perhaps only the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile could strike a larger profile cruising down the highway than the red-white-and-blue caravan, its exterior plastered with colossal images of Bush and a list of his greatest offences in large letters--"foreclosures, record gas prices, global warming, eavesdropping..."

I asked Blust if the "Legacy Tour" project was intended to emulate the great rock n' roll bus odysseys of yore (perhaps pegged to the Grateful Dead's recent endorsement of Obama). "It's not really a rock n' roll tour," she said, a bit flustered. "[But] we'll try to do as many drugs as possible. Wreck some hotel rooms."

--James Martin