Lately I've been thinking about the character traits of George W. Bush that have led to his utter incapacity to cope with the reality of the situation in Iraq. It is certainly important that he is a bully and a punk and a spoiled brat and an alcoholic and a drug addict, but there's more to it than that.
George W. Bush's life is a series of dismal failures in which he never once had to suffer the consequences. He was a failure as a student, but he went on to Yale and Harvard. He was a failure as an athlete, so he became a cheerleader — the very model of masculine prowess for a boy from west Texas. He was a failure as a fighter pilot, but never even suffered the consequences of going AWOL. He was a failure as a political candidate in Midland, and even moreso as a businessman, but his daddy's friends bailed him out. He was a lousy governor by any measure, but he was wildly popular and easily won re-election, even though he ran the state into the ground. He even tried to take credit for Texas' Patients' Bill of Rights, even though he refused to sign it. He lost the 2000 election, both in the popular vote and in the electoral college, but won the Presidency thanks to partisan maneuvers by his lackeys, Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, and five Supreme Court justices. In 2004, he managed to intimidate the so-called "legitimate press" into waiting until after the election to give any significant coverage of serious scandals that go to the heart of his administration. He has never been successful by his own efforts, nor has he ever paid the price of his own magnificent failures.
The strategy that has served Bush well throughout his life is simple:
- Life is a poker game.
- Always bet big. Go for the gusto, baby!
- Never show fear.
- Never concede even the tiniest setback. If you lose a hand, find some way to pretend that you actually won.
- If that doesn't work, have someone bail you out with several times the chips you just lost.
He's bet big, and he refuses to admit that even so much as a minor course correction might be called for. We are making America and the world safer by building a free and stable Iraq. Clearly he believes that if he closes his eyes and says the magic words over and over again, he will open his eyes to see that his wish has come true. If that doesn't work out, Daddy, or some of Daddy's friends, or that nice Tony Blair, or Laura, or somebody will come along and set everything right — at least set everything right for Dubya.
We know for a fact, by his own admission, that George W. Bush is an alcoholic and that he has used illegal drugs. We have persistent rumors that he has used other illegal drugs. We also know from his own admission that he has never done any sort of formal detox program, nor 12-step program, nor any other organized addiction recovery program of any kind. He just woke up one day and let Jesus take away the addictions. Well, what if the addictions are still there? Dubya certainly acts like a gambling addict in the way he plays the game of politics. He also looks and acts a lot like someone whose addiction to alcohol and other drugs is anything but dormant. How much alcohol has George W. Bush consumed since January 20, 2001? How much cocaine? How much of what other illegal drugs? How much of various psychoactive prescription drugs? I believe that the American people have a right to know. That's not to say that the President has no right to privacy, but rather that the people have a right to know if chemicals of any sort are impairing (or enhancing) his ability to perform his duties.
It is an axiom of 12-step programs that an addict has to "hit bottom" before he can begin the road to recovery. Various people have continuously insulated Dubya from hitting that bottom, with the result that he has never even begun his addiction recovery. Now he has succeeded in creating such a colossal mess that there's no one who can wave the magic wand to make it all bright and shiny again. Not even Turd Blossom can help now, especially since T.B. has some problems of his own to worry about.
I wouldn't be at all happy about cleaning up Dubya's puke after a night of binge drinking. I'm even less happy at the thought of how many years it will take to undo the damage that his Presidency has done to our nation.