January 3, 2003

The Mind of Bush

Georgey Porgy's statement when interviewed at his Crawford ranch was, "This government will continue to lead the world toward more peace. And we hope to resolve all the situations in which we find ourselves in a peaceful way. That's my commitment." (See The Guardian.)

How far can he stretch it? What reality is left? Does anyone believe this stuff? Is he losing his mind?

According to the Guardian, "Asked by a reporter about an 'inevitable' attack on Iraq, he snapped back: 'I'm the person who gets to decide, and not you.' That response suggested more than a degree of uncertainty and not a little inner tension."

One might expect that Bush, like Reagan, with his "What Me Worry?" attitude might slip through the colossal pressure of being president without the gravity of the situation ever soaking in. But Bush might be feeling pressures within his own personality.

The December 30 issue of US News ran a Q&A with Bush, which is a great opportunity to explore the mind of the world's most powerful man. The Q&A form, with its relatively candid sampling of the spontaneously produced language of the man, provides one of the best opportunities for those of us out in the real world to get a glimpse into his mind.

Reading Bush's words is eerily similar to reading Nixon's biography, or the letters of Ted Bundy in Ann Rule's The Killer Beside Me. It's fascinating to see the self image of a megalomaniac who sees himself so differently from the way he appears to others.

The interviewer kicks off by asking Bush about what he referred to when he said he had "big ideas." Bush's answer, again, sounds like he might be not George Bush at all, but Mahatma Ghandi.

"I think the biggest idea in the international arena is to achieve the peace," he says, "and that the United States of America will work with friends and allies to achieve the peace."

Then George launches into his many war plans, fronts and theaters -- all in the context of achieving peace. After a while the interviewer refers "your dad" and a time when the reporter asked him "almost exactly the same day going into that period, if war happened, what would it be like. And his words, I always remember, were: 'In, out, do it, do it right, get gone.'"

This elicits a laugh from Junior, perhaps a nervous spasm because there is an embarassing irony in that, if Daddy Bush had "done it right," what is Baby Bush doing taking the US back into another war over there against the same former US ally? But we needn't bother with details like that, like a few thousands more lives lost. It would detract from the holiday mood. Certainly the US News Reporter doesn't bother himself or George over that kind of thing.

Here George tries to tell us another blatant lie, but gets all mixed up. "It's very important for the American people to know my sentiments about military engagement, that I will use our military as a last resort and our first resort, and I understand the consequences of military action."

What is he trying to say here?

Next the reporter lobs George a loving opportunity to expound on his geopolitical ambitions and to cloak them in some garb of noble aims: "In this broader notion," the reporter says, "is this a time, though, for the United States to sort of correct some historic problems in different regions? You mentioned North Korea. In the Mideast, we talked about Iraq, but what about the broader Mideast question? Are we at the point where we - you feel that whatever happens next year with Iraq, this is sort of a building block for a broader- "

Now we've gone from regime change to correcting historic problems.

George's answer: "Oh absolutely..." Does he ever! And don't expect any end to this war (peace) soon (ever?). "You know, when you've got kids off in Afghanistan, the remote regions of Afghanistan, hunting in caves for al Qaeda killers, you're asking a lot of people," says George. "And we'll continue asking them to make that sacrifice."

George goes through a litany of all the things he will use his "capital" for. That's George's Grand Political Theory, the political theory of capital. It's all about how one spends it. He obviously has nearly a bottomless pit of it, at least he thinks so. And he's got big plans for all of us.

He's almost Christlike (who would have known?): "I'll also be continuing to expend capital in calling upon the American people to love their neighbor like they'd like to be loved themselves. One of my true passions is the - is the kind of - is working to implement the DeTocquevillian vision, what he saw, of the greatness of Americans, to grab that and strengthen that and encourage that, which is neighbor helping neighbor."

And anyone who fears that Bush is planning to "replace the federal government" -- well, don't worry. You have his assurances: "We will never replace the federal government. I don't intend to try to replace the federal government."

Next Bush assures us that he and his fellow Republicans are not bigots. "And, you know, some in our society hear the word 'Republican' and say, 'he is a Republican, therefore he is not for my civil rights.' There's nothing farther from the truth. Nothing farther from the truth from my policies - witness the new education bill, which I think is - it will advance civil rights greatly - but from my heart. And I had a record of being a President that encourages the great American Dream to be available for everyone."

Then he launches into a speech that should make the hairs rise, as exciting as the "Hall of Presidents" at Disney World, with its animatronic presidential robots. "I've got Lincoln's picture on the wall here, because I am reminded that I must work to unite the country, which Lincoln understood, to achieve great goals. And one of the great goals I mentioned to you was peace. Another great goal is this notion of a compassionate America. And in that means an education system that works, it means taking care of those who can't help themselves. But most importantly, it makes sure that people, as they're coming up, realize that through good choice and good decisions they have an opportunity to realize the great - the greatness -- of the greatest country on the face of the earth."

And here, ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to have to excuse myself and have a good cry.

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