Monday, October 24, 2005

The Arrogance of Power

Anyone who read Anthony Summers' masterful biography of Richard Nixon will find this very familiar:
WASHINGTON - Facing the darkest days of his presidency, President Bush is frustrated, sometimes angry and even bitter, his associates say....

Bush usually reserves his celebrated temper for senior aides because he knows they can take it. Lately, however, some junior staffers have also faced the boss' wrath.

"This is not some manager at McDonald's chewing out the help," said a source with close ties to the White House when told about these outbursts. "This is the President of the United States, and it's not a pleasant sight."...

Presidential advisers and friends say Bush is a mass of contradictions: cheerful and serene, peevish and melancholy, occasionally lapsing into what he once derided as the "blame game." They describe him as beset but unbowed, convinced that history will vindicate the major decisions of his presidency even if they damage him and his party in the 2006 and 2008 elections....

A second senior Bush loyalist disagreed, saying Bush knows "some of these things are self-inflicted," like the Miers nomination, where Bush jettisoned contrary advice from his advisers and appointed his longtime personal lawyer.
Wow. Bush decided to nominate Miers on his own? That's got to be the worst presidential decision since Clinton unzipped his pants.

Of course, in one sense Bush may be right. Nixon was rehabilitated by the end of his life - Clinton gave a eulogy full of praise at Nixon's funeral, despite the damage he'd done to the nation before being fired. Similarly, it's all too likely that Bush's "excesses" will be forgotten when he's buried. Of course, barring illness or injury, I'll be my father's age when Dubya's body finally desecrates some piece of earth.

The funny thing is that Bush's temper, his peevishness, his total failure to deal with any kind of dissent was made obvious when he debated Kerry. Remember "I know Osama attacked us! I know that!"? If only people actually judged politicians on their character, the way they always claim to. Okay, so it's not actually that funny.

No comments: