Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pardon me while I Dowdle a bit on this blog

Mark Schmitt over at The Decemberist has a really interesting post analyzing Bush and his CIA follies. In it, Mr. Schmitt channels Maureen Dowd and attempts to look inside Bush's head about the decisions he's been making regarding that department:

We all take it for granted that Bush’s feelings about his father had something to do with the compulsion to invade Iraq. It could have been the genuine loyalty of a loving son -- Bush supposedly said of Saddam, "he tried to kill my father," sufficient proof that Saddam was evil. Or it could be a lot more complicated, such as a desire to prove to his withholding father, after decades as the inadequate older son, that he could accomplish something, something that had eluded the father himself. Or perhaps to stick it to the father for his perceived loss of nerve in not finishing the job. It’s all fodder for the psychobiographer in every one of us.

But why wouldn’t a similar analysis apply equally, or moreso, to the CIA? The elder Bush was director of the CIA when W was in his late twenties, roughly the period when he had the legendary confrontation with his father over his drinking and general loser-ness, and challenged the father to fight him, "mano a mano." The CIA building is named after his father. And I believe there is some reason to think that the elder Bush’s connection to the Agency predates his appointment as director (without buying the LaRouchite theory that places Bush 41 on the grassy knoll in Dallas). The CIA is a presence in the Bush family life in much the way that Yale is, another institution toward which Bush 43 holds a weird hostility -- and, of course, those two institutions are themselves linked.

I don’t have a very specific theory here, but it seems natural to wonder whether this almost inexplicable hostility to the CIA as an institution has some deeper roots in Bush’s complex relationship to his father.

Good stuff. I've been thinking about what's going on (I know - not much) in Bush's head today as well, albeit from a different angle. Bush 43 has positioned much of his presidency as correcting the mistakes of his father. His invasion of Iraq was probably done because he felt it was his father's mistake to not finish the job. His devotion to tax cuts for the wealthy is also a refutation of his father's more moderate fiscal policies (that actually contributed to getting the nation into a healthy economic state and paved the way for Clinton's policies that made the economy red hot and fairer). Bush 43 felt Bush 41 was too wishy washy and not decisive enough. Bush 43 felt that Bush 41 wasn't in touch with the average person so he goes out of his way to prove that his is in touch with average Americans. Bush 43 felt that Bush 41 was not tough enough in the handling of diplomacy.

So, I wonder, how does Bush 43 feel right about now? He's hung tight to virtually everything he felt his father screwed up. He's been tough on dangerous states, invaded Iraq, provided huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while giving very little to the rest, beat a Congress into line, played nice with average Americans and won a second term. Yet, in that second term Bush 43 has seen the collapse of his war in Iraq into civil war, has average Americans experiencing a stagnant economy, has passed legislation that even Republican governors are decrying, has one of the most corrupt Congress' and possibly Executive branches in history, and has Americans giving him lower poll numbers than his father ever experienced for his efforts. In other words, he tried everything that he felt that his father screwed up and now he's a far bigger failure. How would you feel under such circumstances? Would you be desperate knowing that you had a mere 2 years to turn it around? If so, what would you do to turn it around?

Don't worry - I don't kid myself into thinking that Bush is someone so in touch with his soul that he actually ponders these issues. After all, he's the decider and he believes he is right regardless of fact. He believes things will turn around and that the good Lord is just testing him. Still, I don't think that he's completely out of touch with the polls. What do you think?

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