September 5, 2002

Revenge of the Wimps

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times' boldest editorial writer, takes a solidly unmale look at how The Wimp Factor is playing into Bush's sick war plans.

Don't dare call a Bush a wimp. He may lead the world into global warfare just to prove the point that nobody calls his dad a wimp.

Dowd: "When Newsweek published its 'Fighting the "Wimp Factor"' cover about Bush senior when he was running for president in 1987, he was so angry he refused to talk to the magazine again until he had a meeting with the editors and the publisher, Katharine Graham. Mr. Bush even knew the precise number of times the word 'wimp' appeared in the article.

"In his memoir, Bush Junior wrote: 'My blood pressure still goes up when I remember the cover.'"

More accurately Bush said his blood pressure went up, and Karen Hughes transcribed that line when she was writing Bush's "memoir." In any case, the wimp stuff really got under the Bush's skin, both daddy and son. Junior is not a complicated man, but his one true career, as president, was fueled from the beginning by the overwhelming urge to avenge his father's loss and shame at the hands of Bill Clinton in 1992.

To a large degree he has accomplished that goal by becoming president, even if he didn't win an election to do it. But there is one gaping hole in his aspiration. His father was accused of being a wimp for letting Saddam off so easy when he had the country on the run. And Junior means to right that wrong as much as any Hatfield ever wanted to destroy every McCoy.

Bush is pursuing this goal relentlessly. After all, he shares his father's deficiency with "the vision thing," and this righting the wrongs of his father's presidency is about as far as his vision goes. Now he is encountering a huge wave of resistance to his war plans. He has backed up a bit, to reconsider his approach. But he has not for a moment given up.

So as Bernard White on WBAI says, "pay close attention."

-- By David Cogswell

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