‘Smaller Than Life’

January 3, 2009

bush One major gripe I’ve got against the New York TimesFrank Rich: He doesn’t publish enough.
Rich weaves theater into politics and for the most part, at least this past year, has threaded together the best observations on the DC goings-on — He continually nails Decider George.

This evening another good, insightful ditty, commenting the outgoing president is in reality “smaller than life,” even in utter failure, and US peoples have way-already lost whatever attention (not talking nothing about affection) they had in the little moron.
And he without the least bit of self-awareness or remorse.

(Illustration found here).

Such is the ugliness of Decider George’s departure — near 80 percent of US peoples in a recent poll are happy to see the sonofabitch gone — and in the near-total-obvious disdain by everybody, Rich writes, “You start to pity him until you remember how vast the wreckage is.”
And indeed, how is that done exactly:

  • The one indisputable talent of his White House was its ability to create and sell propaganda both to the public and the press.
    Now that bag of tricks is empty as well.
    Bush’s first and last photo-ops in Iraq could serve as bookends to his entire tenure.
    On Thanksgiving weekend 2003, even as the Iraqi insurgency was spiraling, his secret trip to the war zone was a P.R. slam-dunk.
    The photo of the beaming commander in chief bearing a supersized decorative turkey for the troops was designed to make every front page and newscast in the country, and it did.
    Five years later, in what was intended as a farewell victory lap to show off Iraq’s improved post-surge security, Bush was reduced to ducking shoes.

The real deal is the difference in the demented mixing of real and imaginary and bullshit, bald-faced lies.

  • But the brazenness of Bush’s alternative-reality history is itself revelatory.
    The audacity of its hype helps clear up the mystery of how someone so slight could inflict so much damage.
    So do his many print and television exit interviews.
    The man who emerges is a narcissist with no self-awareness whatsoever.
    It’s that arrogance that allowed him to tune out even the most calamitous of realities, freeing him to compound them without missing a step.
    The president who famously couldn’t name a single mistake of his presidency at a press conference in 2004 still can’t.

Read Rich’s great piece here.


This on Sunday from McClatchy:

  • While scholars estimate that it takes at least a generation before a president’s legacy can be analyzed objectively, many already are unflinching in their assessment of Bush.
    The 43rd president presided over a “free-for-all in which powerful insiders . . . have played roles as policy entrepreneurs,” said Karen Hult, a presidential expert at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
    “We can certainly talk about his remarkably sloppy decision-making process. That did have consequences,” added George Edwards, a presidential scholar at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

    Todd Gitlin, a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, saw the policies as having harsh implications that are likely to reverberate for years: “Bush’s catastrophic occupation of Iraq has set America’s world position back with such scope and intensity as to require a divine intervention if it is ever to be wiped off the books,” he said.

    Bush told “Brownie” — Michael Brown, then director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency — that he was doing a “heckuva job” in New Orleans.
    However, the dramatic accounts of poor people, most of them black, displaced from their homes and sleeping in squalid conditions in the city’s hurricane-damaged Superdome, “showed the president’s downright incompetence,” Whitney said. (Gleaves Whitney, the director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies in Grand Rapids, Mich.).

So there you are.

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