May 31, 2001
A BuzzFlash Interview with Jim Hatfield, Author of "Fortunate Son."
[BuzzFlash Note: Jim Hatfield passed away on July 18, 2001, of an apparent overdose of prescription drugs. No one will ever know the truth of what happened. We were glad to have known Jim. His work exposed the truth of George W. Bush's fabricated past. For information on sending contributions to the fund for Jim's Daughter, Haley, visit the Soft Skull site at http://www.softskull.com/jimhatfield.html.]
A few days ago we posted an interview with Sander Hicks, from SoftSkull Press, publisher of "Fortunate Son," the expose that the Bush propaganda machine got banned for a while. Next month, "Fortunate Son" will be republished in a Second Edition. BuzzFlash.com obtained an exclusive interview with Jim Hatfield, author of "Fortunate Son," which we are posting below.
"Fortunate Son" covers the seedy and hypocritical past of America's Anointed President-Select. You get a full accounting of the dark underside of the front man for Bush Incorporated.
HERE IS THE BUZZFLASH.COM INTERVIEW WITH JIM HATFIELD:
BuzzFlash: Why was the Bush Campaign so scared of "Fortunate Son" being published?
Hatfield: For the obvious reason--everything contained between its covers is the truth. Pure and simple. Here it is a year-and-a-half later and no one has ever disproved anything in "Fortunate Son." The biography has withstood the test of time and, trust me, there has been an army of conservatives who would have given up their first born to destroy this book. But they had to settle with trying to destroy me instead. But to their absolute utter dismay, I'm still standing. My e-mail signature is from writer Langston Hughes and it fits me like a glove: "I've been insulted, eliminated, locked in, locked out, and left holding the bag. But I am still here."
BuzzFlash: What are the five most important reasons that someone should read your book?
Hatfield: 1. You'll get an intimate, detailed biography of George W. Bush, the person.
2. A reader will discover what a truly "fortunate son" he has been. If his name had been George Smith he would never have gone to Yale or Harvard with such abysmal grades, avoided Vietnam at the height of the war in 1968, he would have never made money in oil businesses that continually drilled dry holes or been able to buy into a major league baseball franchise (and become its Managing General Partner) and eventually become a multimillionaire, or campaign for Texas governor and defeat a charismatic incumbent, and, of course, raise more money than anyone in the history of this country to run for--and eventually win--the U.S. presidency.
3. You'll get an in-depth look at his record in governor in the Lone Star State and come to the disheartening realization that he didn't lie about one thing: He made a campaign promise "to do for America what I have done for Texas." And he sure as hell is trying his best to honor that pledge with tax breaks for the rich that will eventually consume the surplus, turn the country into a toxic waste dump, push a conservative agenda through the legislature, and screw the poor and middle class.
4. A reader of "Fortunate Son" will get a very detailed account--a blueprint--of how he planned to run and win the White House long before he even announced his intentions to be reelected as governor.
5. Finally, you'll realize that he is nothing but a high-paid gigolo, beholden to his corporate sugar daddies who gave him enormous amounts of money to look after their best interests while he was governor. I name names and provide the dollar amounts in the book. Now you see these same executives and lobbyists greasing his palm at party fund-raisers. The man is shameless. Those are the five most important reasons why someone should read "Fortunate Son."
BuzzFlash: Do you consider the Karl Rove propaganda machine to be effective? As a victim of his hatchet jobs, do you give the devil his due?
Hatfield: In "Fortunate Son" I detail how Rove adroitly engineered Bush's move from the Governor's Mansion to the White House. He is the ultimate dirty trickster. He's the one who initiated the "whisper campaign" against John McCain and tried to make him look like the Manchurian Candidate when the senator started kicking Bush's ass in the primaries.
Now word is leaking out that he pushed Cheney to have the illegal fund-raiser at the vice-president's residence recently and he was also behind the politics of personal destruction against Jeffords. Both have now exploded in his face. With the Democrats in the driver's seat of the Senate, they may push for an investigation into Bush-Cheney fund-raising irregularities and trying to punish Jeffords for voting against Bush's tax cut plan drove him out of the GOP and, in the process, has severely hobbled the president.
As to the second part of your question of whether I was "a victim of his hatchet jobs," well, quite frankly, I'm between a rock and a hard place. I have always believed that an author or journalist should keep his word if he told his confidential sources that they would always remain anonymous in exchange for the information they provided. Everybody and their mamma has tried to get me to name the three confidential sources who alleged in the afterword to "Fortunate Son" that Bush was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972. However, through some tough financial and emotional times for my family and me during the past year and a half, I've never reneged on my promise to those three persons. Television newsmagazines, tabloids, Larry Flynt, and a host of others have offered to pay me, but the answer has always been the same: "Thanks, but no thanks." I know that Sander Hicks, my publisher, has stated in interviews and in the introduction to the new, updated second edition of "Fortunate Son" that Rove was one of my sources, but I cannot personally deny or confirm. A man's word is his bond and that's about all I have left these days.
BuzzFlash: What political strategies that you found in Bush's tenure as Governor of Texas are being repeated in his "Presidency"?
Hatfield: Two stand out like redwoods among mere sprouts: The art of personal politics and choosing a short list of issues to focus on and see that they become law. When Bush arrived in the Texas Capitol in January 1995, his official calendar during the first three months in office showed that he had met one-on-one with at least fifty House members, including twenty-one Democrats, and with almost half the Senate. Additionally, Bush held private breakfasts and luncheons at the Governor's Mansion with legislators. He has done the same thing in the past 4 months since he became president, except he hasn't tried to work with the Democrats. I don't know why he even bothered to go through the motions of looking like he wanted to end gridlock in Washington.
He has attempted and, for the most part, been fairly successful at ramming his conservative agenda down the Democrats' throats, as if he had some mandate from the people. Will someone please tell this village idiot that he lost the popular vote? But just like he did in Texas, he has chosen less than half a dozen proposals that he wants to see Congress pass: an enormous tax cut scheme for the rich, his rape-the-earth energy plan, and the costly Son of Star Wars missile defense system. And just like he did in Texas, Bush has spent a great deal of time traveling around the countryside, trying to sell people on his short list of proposals and demand that they put the heat on their representatives to vote his way.
BuzzFlash: What five adjectives would you use to describe Bush?
Hatfield: Fortunate, larcenous, lazy, petty, deceitful, insensitive, stupid, manipulative, phony, racist...oh, I'm sorry, you told me to only list five.
BuzzFlash: Are you planning any further Bush exposes?
Hatfield: I don't believe I wrote a "Bush expose."
My wife, Nancy, taught me that a biography must be more than dates, facts and quotes. It must convey the person's heart, soul, and thoughts. To truly do justice to a biographical subject, you have to write about that person's horns and halos. Bush just happened have a lot more horns than halos, so the conservatives claimed that I set out to write a hatchet job on the guy. I just told the truth, just like I did with my biographies of 20th-century pop culture icons and stars of screen and stage, Patrick Stewart and Ewan McGregor.
BuzzFlash: Do you expect the White House to unleash a counterattack against you and your book?
Hatfield: You betcha! It's Bush and his gang's modus operandi. Usually when a hard-hitting biography of someone is published, the subject ignores it and refuses to comment on the book because discussing or refuting it or even calling the author horse hockey, only draws more attention to the book--the opposite of what the biographical subject wants. When "Fortunate Son" was first published in October 1999, there was an orchestrated plan to discredit me on a daily basis publicly, while the Bush lawyers were privately pressuring Saint Martin's Press to take the unusual step of recalling all copies.
While George W. was calling the cocaine arrest allegation "science fiction" and "ridiculous" (but never denying it), his father gave Fox News an exclusive interview and bold-faced lied. He claimed his lawyers had been in contact with me and was threatening to sue (neither I nor my attorney ever heard from any legal representative of the Bush family). The elder Bush also said I alleged in the book that he "bribed a judge" to insure his son's cocaine arrest was expunged. Using my sources' own words, I detail how he used his political influence with a judge friend in Houston to make sure George W. got community service and the record expunged.
The Bush campaign also drafted former Harris County (Houston) District Attorney Carol S. Vance to issue a statement debunking the allegations that the charges against Bush were expunged by a GOP judge, claiming that they could not be true because no Republicans served as judges in the county at the time. Vance's statement does not prove that what I asserted was false. Actually, it validates my procedural process of corroboration when dealing with anonymous sources. Two of the three stated it was simply a "state judge" who expunged Bush's cocaine arrest, while only one of them said, "Republican."
By late 1999, all 59 state district judges were Republicans, whereas in 1972 they were all Democrats. Was it a simple mistake on the part of one of my sources, or purposely planned to discredit me at a later date, as my publisher, Sander Hicks, believes (as do quite a few others). And then, of course, the final nail in the coffin during that week in October 1999 was the eventual front page story in the Dallas Morning News that I had a checkered past. Suddenly the media was more obsessed with the life of the biographer than the subject of an even-balanced but unflinching biography of a man that eventually became president.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee once said, "When you're too weak to defend, you must attack." And that's exactly what the Bush campaign did. This time it will be the White House. Actually, they've thrown everything at me but the kitchen sink, both personally and professionally. Also, like I said earlier, not one single statement in "Fortunate Son" has been disproved during the past year and a half. What truly worries me and wakes me up in a cold sweat during the middle of the night, is what one of my confidential sources for the cocaine arrest told me when it was announced that Soft Skull Press was going to re-publish the book less than 3 months after St. Martin's Press recalled it: "Jim, we're not done discrediting you. The wheels are already in motion for more of the same." Then he went on to say if I "valued the lives" of my wife and baby daughter (whom he called by their first names), "then you'll cancel this publishing deal right now, today." It makes you wonder why the Bushes so desperately want this book suppressed. What's contained in its 400+ pages that scares the hell out of them?
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"Fortunate Son" by Jim Hatfield is available as BuzzFlash Premium at http://www.buzzflash.com/premiums/Fortunate_Son.html and on the Soft Skull Web site: http://www.softskull.com.
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