Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Problem(s) With Bush

Once again Steve Chapman has managed to write a column in today's Tribune that says exactly the right things.

It's ostensibly about why the President will never fire Don Rumsfeld, but it's larger context is how those reasons reflect everything that's wrong with his presidency in its entirety.
If you want to know what went wrong in the presidency of George W. Bush, you could find plenty of candidates. There is its ineptitude, as when it ignored warnings about Al Qaeda until Sept. 11, 2001, or when it ignored warnings about Hurricane Katrina until New Orleans was under water.

There is its Soprano-style approach to critics and even in-house skeptics--from Joseph Wilson, whose wife was outed as a CIA agent after he questioned the case for war, to Lawrence Lindsey, the economic adviser canned for admitting the war might cost $200 billion, an estimate that turned out to be laughably low.

There is its peerless gift for self-delusion, as when the vice president said our troops in Iraq would be greeted as liberators and the insurgency--in May 2005--was in its "last throes." There is its brazen dishonesty, which is on exhibit every time the president and his budget directors claim to be practicing fiscal restraint, even as spending grows faster than Las Vegas.

All these traits flow from the same source: a self-congratulatory narcissism that is utterly impervious to events in the real world. The defining moment for this president was his "Mission Accomplished" pageant, where he jumped at the chance to strut in the glory of victory, not noticing that the victory was already beginning to unravel.

That was a triumph of arrogance, which my dictionary defines as "an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions." And if you want a human embodiment of that trait, you can hardly do better than Rumsfeld, who was happy to take credit for the initial success of the invasion but pretends that anything that may have gone wrong is way beyond his control.
The problem doesn't lie with Rumsfeld so much as with those above him. Worse, firing him would establish the principle that those entrusted with power are accountable for their failures. And if we followed that policy, who knows where it might lead?

These are almost to a one the set of problems that I have with the man as President. The arrogance of an entitled upbringing combined with a bewildered and bewildering ineptitude, all topped off by a supremely annoying messianic streak.

He has said on many occasions that he was placed in the presidency by God. But does anyone really want to believe that? That of 100 million or so possibilities (35+ year-old, U.S.-born citizens) this arrogant greenhorn was actually chosen for the job by God himself?

I, for one, think he could do better.


At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even former president Hillary Clinton would look better in the Oval Office than Dubyu. I NEVER thought I'd be saying that...


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