I would like to propose a very strange thought: that the country might be better off for this recent election, not because the Democrats won, but because George Bush is better suited to being a compromiser than a leader.
Clearly, he is a principled man. But he is not a strong man. His certitude is brittle; he is simultaneously angry and anxious to be liked. The fingerprints of a boy trying to be a man are all over his manner and actions, and I say this with a generous, not a vindictive, heart. He was simply given the keys to too big a car, and he couldn’t drive it without help.
Before this election, the help he sought was from Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rove. Now I think he is facing a hard reality: those people have made him disliked and disrespected. In the darkness of his own night, he has to be looking at those election results and saying, “Those people out there hate me.” And he does not want to be hated. It takes a very odd man, like Donald Rumsfeld, to gain nourishment from being hated. I don’t think GW is one of those men.
He wants to be liked, and he wants to be led. He wants to be embraced as a good man. This election forced him to look outside the limits of his own circle and see that, to the extent that a man is what he does, he is seen as a bad man. This is not something with which he wants to live.
The real wager is if he stiffens his brittle spine once more, and under the shadowy influence of Dick Cheney, chooses to become delusional and go down in some kind of Shakespearean flames. Or if he decides the group from whom he needs approval is the congress that the people elected in repudiation of his politics and/or person, and seeks a personal redemption by trying to make them his friends.
It will be an inner struggle worth watching.
I, personally, root for the man. I was rooting for him to fall, because his naive arrogance was costing lives and squandering our country’s moral capital. I never doubted his sincerity; I simply doubted his insight and policies. Now he has taken that fall. The real drama, for the next two years, is to see whose hand he reaches for to help him stand up.
2 thoughts on “A Strange Thought on the Election”
Your observation that Bush is a boy wanting to be a man is what I too, believe. When he whines and fusses he is so much a child having a tantrum. I’m not sure he is strong enough to stand up and take responsibility for his actions. It seems easier for him to blame and then dismiss Rumsfeld (and thank God he did) or give God the responsibility for going to war (“Did you consult your father before deciding to go to war?” “My Heavenly Father.”) than to say “I made the decision and I made many mistakes.”
Perhaps Bush will now try to stand on his own, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m not sure he’s aware or astute enough to realize the country is apparently tired of him and his party. I think he will continue to think it is the fault of others in his party.
He once said “I don’t care how history judges me because we’ll all be dead.” I think he will go down in flames.
I have to admit that you characterized Mr. Bush better than I could have done it. He is just a boy in an adult boy. I have often believed that the fact he changes his mind so often about some important issues leads to the idea you have stated. He tries to be a president, he tries to be a man, but he hasnâ€™t grown up. Thatâ€™s what happens when your daddy was a president and took good care that you should follow on his steps.
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