surely – as if he were their original author” (Podhoretz 2002, In Praise of the Bush
I will analyze President Bush’s use of cowboy ethics as demonstrated by his
forward-leaning foreign policy action plan. My work will not extend to other tactical
means by which Bush may implement cowboy imagery, such as personal attire and
mannerism.4 These additional tactics are important in defining Bush’s cowboyism; in
many ways, they shape his public image. However, I have necessarily limited myself to
evaluating Bush’s rhetoric and actions concerning U.S. foreign policy5 in this paper, as it
is impossible in a study of this size to thoroughly research these additional factors. While
Bush’s cowboyisms may contribute to the public perception of him as a cowboy, I
believe that the president is not just playing dress-up. On the contrary, there are also
strong, more meaningful correlations between his foreign policy plan and cowboy ethics.
These correlations are what I will examine in the following chapter.
4 I include as part of this mental image, Bush’s affinity for boots, Stetsons and large belt buckles. (Straub 2002, Latest ‘Cowboy President’ Shoots from Hip). Additionally, Bush is known to “walk Texan.” “He throws out his knees and holds his arms bent and away from his body in the classic pose of the cowboy or sheriff who may have to reach for his pistol at any moment,” wrote syndicated columnist Mary McGrory (McGrory 2002, B5).
5 Even when structured into a coherent ideology, the relationship between rhetoric and action is difficult to establish at a general level (Dobson and Marsh 2001, 16). Some scholars see ideology and action as a casual relationship. For this paper, however, I will analyze the ideology behind the Bush Doctrine as both a tool for justifying action and as one of a number of important variables in the explanation of the Bush administration’s U.S. foreign policy behavior.