We know that today’s inauguration has largely been about the joy of swearing in our first African-American president, but it seems a lot of people get even warmer, fuzzier feelings about the downfall of George W. Bush. In DuPont Circle yesterday, we happened upon several hundred such Bush-haters gathered around a two-story-tall inflatable doll of a Pinocchio-nosed Bush with a sign reading “Give Bush the Boot.” The doll was under siege, the target of tossed shoes. “That felt so much better than I thought it would!” said one girl, who immediately reached for another shoe. “I could watch this all day,” said another.
There were various methods of attack: Some tied laces together and try to get the shoes to hook on the outgoing president’s nose. Others threw the shoes too hard and sent passersby scattering, arms covering their heads. A group of effete French youths threw with all their might but couldn’t even get the shoes near the doll.
Every once in a while a man wearing a sweatshirt reading “Arrest Bush” would come over and encourage the crowd to toss in unison, which created a lovely arc of flying footwear. That man was Jose J. Rodriguez, coordinator of ArrestBush2009.com, a website that had been designed specifically for the inaugural events. The group had been using the inflatable Bush doll for years, but they recently realized they could turn the Iraqi shoe attack into a sort of game — and thus “shoe Bush” was born. Over 1,000 smelly pairs of shoes were donated to the “cause.”