Informit article: The wild west

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After 9/11, former US president George W. Bush famously proclaimed that Osama bin Laden was a ‘wanted’ man who would eventually be brought to justice, ‘dead or alive’. In the western United States, especially in places like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, Bush’s words resonated with the public in ways that transcended mere theatrical bravado. When Bush was first elected, it may be remembered, the lawn of the White House was transformed into a chuck wagon barbeque, replete with fiddling hillbillies, cowboys in ten-gallon hats, even rope-twirling rodeo girls who could put Dale Evans to shame. Along the ‘blue state’ coasts, the US public was mostly aghast at this gaudy display of cowboy haute couture at the very throne of the nation’s power. Some claimed the president was little more than a ‘fake’ cowboy who cynically manipulated ‘red state’ sentimentality. Those who knew him better understood that the erstwhile Texas Ranger was in his true element that night.

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