Earth, Meet Dubya! Dubya, Earth!

Would you buy an environmental policy from this man?

Aug 1, 2000
Outside Magazine

CHIEF STILL TALKS ABOUT IT: In the early 1990s, at the hidden, private-membership Rainbo Club, a 1,207-acre lakeside retreat protected by an electronic security gate, Dubya—George W. Bush, the hyperactive governor of Texas—had silently slipped a fishing line into the water. And he was by himself. Right afterward, Dubya called his good-old-boy running buddy Robert "Chief" McCleskey to tell him he'd been fishing. Chief was startled to think of a calm George W. Bush in the cavernous quiet of Rainbo Lake, surrendering himself to the act of finding the dark bass. "It surprised me," says McCleskey, laughing during a break at his office in Midland, where the two men grew up and where he works as Bush's personal accountant. "It required...patience."

It certainly wasn't that Dubya was having a nature moment—he doesn't allow himself to have many "moments" because that kind of thinking veers perilously close to what Dubya's old man derides as touchy-feely "psychobabble," and because dreamy contemplation might lead to the thing he loathes almost more than anything else: ambiguity. But something happened. Chief knows it. In solitude, Dubya was learning, almost, to sit still and absorb it all. His usual encounters with the Big Outdoors had consisted of hanging out on his father's throaty powerboat and trolling for blues in the Atlantic off the family compound in Maine; charging the back nine just the way his grandfather, the old Connecticut senator, used to do it with President Ike at the Burning Tree Club outside Washington; or knocking off seven-and-a-half-minute miles during his daily three-mile run along the Colorado River back in Austin, the capital. "He never slows down," says Elton Bomer, another of Bush's Texas pals (and the Texas secretary of state). "He's usually fishing full-speed. The only time he relaxes is when he jogs."


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