What Is Political Economy Here at Berkeley? (Audio)
Building Socialism Blogging: The Baikal-Amur Mainline Railroad

The Decadent Perversity of George W. Bush

I really think that in ten years the Republican Party may be dead because of this man. The Republicans survived Nixon because they turned on them. But they haven't turned on Bush--they are still marching like lemmings over the cliff (which lemmings don't do, being considerably smarter and more public-spirited than Republicans).

Sidney Blumenthal:

Sidney Blumenthal: Bush's stairway to paradise: Hoping that history will somehow vindicate him, the president has entered a phase of decadent perversity: There has never been a moment when we were not winning in Iraq. Victory has followed victory, from "Mission Accomplished" to the purple fingers of the Iraqi election to, most recently, President Bush's meeting at Camp Cupcake in Anbar province with Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the Sunni leader of the group Anbar Awakening (who was assassinated a week later). Turning point has followed turning point, from Bush's proclamation two years ago of his "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" to his announcement last week of his "Return on Success." "We're kicking ass," he briefed the Australian deputy prime minister on Sept. 6 about his latest visit to Iraq. In his quasi-farewell address to the nation on Sept. 13, Bush assigned any possible shortcomings to Gen. David Petraeus and bequeathed his policy "beyond my presidency" to his successor....

In his semiretirement, Bush engaged in appeals to history, which he now says on nearly every occasion will absolve him. Early on and riding high, he expressed contempt for history. "History, we'll all be dead," he sneered to Bob Woodward in an interview for "Bush at War," a panegyric to Bush the triumphant after the Afghanistan invasion and before Iraq. Now Bush cites history as justification for everything he does. "You can't possibly figure out the history of the Bush presidency -- until I'm dead."... Frederick Kagan, the neoconservative instigator of "the surge," refers to it as "Gettysburg," a leap of historical imagination that transforms Bush into the Great Emancipator.... Bush has become as certain of his exalted place in history as he is of his policy's rightness....

Draper's biography... lacks any serious discussion of... Cheney... neoconservatives, Karl Rove's attempt to create a one-party state... torture... splits within the senior military, the scapegoating of the CIA.... Draper's unusual access enabled him to collect valuable anecdotes as well as to put a microphone in front of a president who, when interrupted by an aide, told him not to worry because the interview was "worthless.."...

[Bush] is constantly worried about weakness and passivity. "If you're weak internally? This job will run you all over town." He fears being controlled and talks about it relentlessly, feeling he's being watched.... He is sensitive about asserting his supremacy over others, but especially his father....

Bush is a classic insecure authoritarian who imposes humiliating tests of obedience on others in order to prove his superiority and their inferiority.... When Colin Powell was several minutes late to a Cabinet meeting, Bush ordered that the door to the Cabinet Room be locked.... [W]hen Matthew Dowd and Rove explained to him that he was not likely to win in a Reagan-like landslide, as Bush had imagined, he lashed out... and shouted, "You don't know what the hell you're talking about."

Those around him have learned how to manipulate him through the art of flattery. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld played Bush like a Stradivarius, exploiting his grandiosity. "Rumsfeld would later tell his lieutenants that if you wanted the president's support for an initiative, it was always best to frame it as a 'Big New Thing.'"... Every morning, Josh Bolten, the chief of staff, greets Bush with the same words: "Thank you for the privilege of serving today."...

The elder Bush assumed that the Bush family trust and its trustees -- James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Prince Bandar -- would take the erstwhile wastrel and guide him on the path of wisdom.... [George W.] Bush was entrusted to the care of the trustees.... [H]e was ill-prepared and ignorant, but they never expected him to be assertive....

The elder Bush knew that Rumsfeld despised him and that Cheney was close to Rumsfeld, just as he knew his son's grievous limitations. But the obvious didn't occur to him.... The elder Bush committed a monumental error, empowering a regent to the prince who would betray the father.... Cheney... was extremely convincing in playing possum. The elder Bush has many reasons for self-reproach, but perhaps none greater than being outsmarted by a courtier he thought was his trustee...

Comments