JANUARY 26, 2001—Sometimes Dubya just can’t win for losin’. As if a White House with no Ws on the keyboards wasn’t galling enough, the Internet karma goddess—or perhaps the ghost of a disgruntled voting-rights activist—has struck a GOP company, the Spaulding Group, which sells Bush paraphernalia on the Internet.
Word spread quickly this week by e-mail: “Go to Google and do a search for ‘dumb motherfucker.'” It’s worth it: The first item the search engine returns is for the GeorgeWBushStore.com, where “all materials have been sanctioned by Bush for President, Inc.” You can order a Limited Edition Maker’s Mark victory cigar; a “W Stands for Winner” T-shirt (white only); a Bush-Cheney khaki-denim cap (perfect for boating in Florida when your daughter’s in the hospital); and a golf-cart-sized Bush-Cheney steel coffee tumbler.
When the story broke this week on Salon and Wired News, the e-store’s manager, Brien Shea, said the site had never contained the words “dumb motherfucker” and that the site hadn’t been hacked. Google execs said the mistake stemmed from the way it ranks pages; in this case, a link from HugeDisk Men’s Magazine was to blame.
The link has reportedly been taken down, and Google promised to fix the glitch. But for now, this little bit of Internet anarchy lives, acknowleged on the front page of GeorgeWBushStore.com. “If you have arrived at this site through inappropriate references via a search engine, please be assured that we did not utilize this language in our site, our HTML, nor in our internet promotion of this site,” the message reads. “What happened was the result of a malicious act and we are pursuing remedies through the efforts of our staff and attorneys.”