New York Magazine Puts Bush on the Couch

Earlier this month, New York Magazine published a series of essays under the collective title, “Bush’s Mind: Analyzing the President.” In 17 essays by experts in politcs and psychology, the magazine offers what it calls a “psychopolitical survey” of the inner George W. Bush:

A Decadent Aristocrat, by By Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression:

Bush, like his mother, has an almost inhuman ability to identify his own advantage without the slightest regard to its cost to others.

Bush, like his mother, has an almost inhuman ability to identify his own advantage without the slightest regard to its cost to others. One reads in Lincoln’s diaries of how his heart bled for every soldier who died in the war he felt obliged to wage; one reads in Bush’s face and in his speeches an inability to conceive of other people as fully human, including the soldiers who die at his behest, a quality that renders him less than fully human himself. This heartlessness, unlike his achievement of the presidency, is the very hallmark of decadent aristocracy. It is worth noting, however, that most aristocracy is not so far decayed; the queen of England, despite her less cuddly manner, is clearly more compassionate than W.

Bush’s upbringing in wealth and privilege is key to understanding him, and yet the public is blind to it. They take his mangled hocum and NASCAR Dad persona at face value. Conversely, Traditional Media types tend to bow and scrape in front of their betters, and I believe Bush’s high station in life is a factor in the nearly hands-off coverage he’s gotten in the Capitol.

First and foremostly, George W. Bush is the spoiled and pampered scion of an American dynasty that goes back to Pres. Pierce. His position in life, and his attitude about it, explains everything about the ease with which he has failed upward, all the way to the top.

Simplicity Himself, by By Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic:

Bush mocks us before we can mock him. He mocks us with his palpable disdain for the news media, the Congress and, most of all, our votes in November 2006.

Where Nixon was a barrel of laughs, the Bush presidency simply isn’t very funny. There are no masterful Bush impersonators. Nixon’s comedic appeal resided in his dark interior life. When he spoke in public, you knew that you weren’t getting the full Nixon. Back in the private quarters of the White House, he was famously brooding over his enemies, sipping scotch, and talking to the portraits on the wall. The fact that the leader of the Free World was neurotic, paranoid, and palpably creepy made him a genuinely excellent premise for jokes. Bush has none of these qualities. Even as his entire presidency has tanked, he shows no signs of acquiring psychological complexities. He remains the “simple,” “resolute” man that his hagiographers once venerated.

Mockery and satire are safety valves as old as society itself that enable the people to humanize their leaders. But Bush mocks us before we can mock him. He mocks us with his palpable disdain for the news media, the Congress and, most of all, our votes in November 2006. As any eight-year-old can tell you, mocking mockery is ceases to be fun after a few tries.

Dad, the Bottle, Vietnam, by By Jonathan Alter, Newsweek columnist:

I see Bush’s behavior as the result of three major forces: the dad, the bottle, and the Vietnam War. For most of his life, Bush tried and failed to follow in his absent father’s footsteps. His father was a war hero; Bush a no-show Guardsman dodging Vietnam. His father did well in the oil business; Bush struck dry holes. His father got elected to Congress; Bush was defeated in 1978. A collection of Bush Sr.’s letters contains far more to Jeb than George W. Finally, in 1994, Bush was elected governor of Texas, but George and Bar were so upset that their anointed son, Jeb, lost the election that night for the governorship of Florida that they barely seemed to notice. You don’t have to be Freud to see that Bush has snubbed his father’s closest advisers (who turned out to be right) and hired men who held his father in contempt, like Don Rumsfeld (who turned out to be wrong).

If Bush were a Democrat, the Liberal Media would not rest until they knew whether or not the “former” alcoholic president was drinking again.

His Smile, by By Deepak Chopra, president, Alliance for a New Humanity:

One of the most unnerving things about George Bush is his smile. As the situation in Iraq has grown more calamitous, the smile hasn’t disappeared. It’s become markedly patronizing, saying, “I’m right on this. The rest of you just don’t understand.” A pitying smile … It’s been pointed out that until he became president, Bush didn’t smirk. It’s grown into a disturbing tic, expressing a mixture of contradictory traits: smugness, disdain, self-consciousness, doubt … People who read contempt in it are rightfully offended. They think of Bush’s most unpleasant attribute: his sense of entitlement.

Having accomplished little in his life, he nevertheless expected the highest rewards. He wanted victory to come easily, as his birthright. When it did come in 2000 — to the astonishment even of his family — the smirk said, “I told you so.” His smile turns into a go-to-hell smirk whenever Bush hears a hostile question. He’s shielding himself from impudence while reining in his own simmering anger. He’s smirking to put you on warning. In a moment he might blow his top. Bush’s smile also tells us, almost guilelessly, that he isn’t suffering inside.

H/t: DBM/KBM

23 Comments

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  • February 26, 2007 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

    IMPEACH & JAIL the BUSH FAMILY, CHENEY & FRIENDS

    NOW

    see the – Bush Family – Cheney TREASON TRIAL

    BEFORE IT HAPPENS at… ok 2 copy & Pass it On

    http://www.RogerART.com

    ALL TOGETHER NOW… JAIL EM ALL
    .

  • Kate
    February 26, 2007 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Bush doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself.

    I believe he has serious delusions of grandeur, that he sees himself as the American Messiah. It’s very disturbing that nobody can seem to find a way to rein him in.

  • hobojo
    February 26, 2007 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

    The little bastard did not fool me for a minute a glowing admirer of himself buy him for what he is worth and sell him for true worth 100% profit.A disgrace to humanity.Hypocrite and coward.Babs little pervert.

  • julie
    February 26, 2007 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    if Americans can’t find a way to rein him in, perhaps they aren’t working hard enough on it. Maybe George’s personality traits and actions don’t seem sick or outrageous enough to many Americans to much think about it. Maybe against the psyche of the national character, his personality traits kind of fit it.

  • jeff
    February 26, 2007 - 7:25 pm | Permalink

    The “dry drunk,” as they are called have a fight or flight mentality because they have never been able to connect with their true selves. The fact that George W. has never gotten treatment for his addiction is just more explanation for why he makes the choices he does. It’s now time for a nation to quarantine the man and not allow him to do harm to anyone else.

  • carolyn
    February 26, 2007 - 8:07 pm | Permalink

    He is a sociopath. How do I know? My first husband was one. They are incapaable of normal human emotion. He should not be in charge of anything.

  • Nick
    February 26, 2007 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Wait until he bombs Iran in order to bring on the Apocalypse and the Rapture. If Shrub thinks he is still hearing from god, I wish he would stop listening.

  • Stephen
    February 26, 2007 - 11:39 pm | Permalink

    What do we do when our highest elected representatives are criminal sociopaths that specialize in “the big lie” and shamelessly use our tax dollars, our military, our reputation and our future to ensure their corporate dominance? What does it say about us as a nation when we impeach a president and speak of him with shame or outrage for lying about illicit sex and shrug our shoulders now? Are we really so twisted or is corporate “Foxlike” media part of the problem, too? If these guys were not our President and staff they would have been indicted under the Ricco staute and hauled off stage in chains with their assets seized to pay the bill. How can we not stand now and continue to hold our heads up or even pretend to believe in “American ideals and standards”. Why is there a paucity of outrage?

  • Robert
    February 27, 2007 - 12:13 am | Permalink

    I’m no fan of W myself. But let’s stop waisting our time discussing this relic that is not even running for re-election and focus on finding out which one of the new ones is going to be our savior.

  • Jack
    February 27, 2007 - 12:56 am | Permalink

    To think that we, taxpayers, have to protect this misbegotten ex-President at his Texas-ranch once he’s out of Office (unless he stages another coup to stay in on the pretext that war – with Iran – makes his continuing in office necessary!)…There wont be enough Treasury agents to protect him from the justifiable wrath of a people lied to and misled with such soothing contempt! He’s made Nero look like an amateur!

  • Cogito
    February 27, 2007 - 5:50 am | Permalink

    Bush has committed multiple consitutional violations and merits impeachment and removal from office. Indeed, if he escapes constitutional opprobrium the future presidents will look back at his administration as precedent for them to further ignore and subvert the Constitution. Unless Bush is removed from office our Constitution and democracy are at grave risk.

  • Ivey Evans
    February 27, 2007 - 6:10 am | Permalink

    We voted a democratic congress in
    to stop this man, and they act like lettle puppits on a string,
    scared to death of him. They are
    no better, got the power and are not useing it, just setting there
    taking our taxes and paychecks to
    living it up to.

  • February 27, 2007 - 6:40 am | Permalink

    I like the way you think, Cogito.

  • cwazycajun
    February 27, 2007 - 6:41 am | Permalink

    bush is a arrogant ignorant greedy inept vapid incompetent smarmy little bastard and his boss dickless cheney is even worse

  • Robert Vick
    February 27, 2007 - 7:26 am | Permalink

    There is no savior, except with in ourselves and the system! He was voted into office by the public and we deserve what we wanted?? I think that a Constitutional convention would help solve many problems facing our Democracy, but i believe, saddly, that Congress whould never agree on one, and most political figures would not either, as it could change too many things! I also belive we are over-represented!!!!!

  • Steve
    February 27, 2007 - 7:46 am | Permalink

    I have run out of words to describe how miserable a presidency this has been. I have had it. I give. That’s what you wanted George, and you got it. The fact that you are still in office, shows without a doubt, we have all given up. Good job. It’s the only thing you have accomplished.

  • MO
    February 27, 2007 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    So, if our only “saviors” are our elected officials and they will not do what we really NEED them to do – impeach and indict Bush and Cheney” what can we do?
    We can march in the streets forever but that would have no affect on this. Tony Snow has said that most amerikans support Bush. Even if they don’t what does it matter to them?

  • Christina
    February 27, 2007 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    If we escape from the Bonnie&Clyde Clintons, we may find ourselves stuck indefinitely with a GWBush “dictatorship”. He is obviously aching for a far more catastrophic 9/11 attack so he can declare Marshal Law, suspend the Constitution, and put Tommy Franks in charge of our streets. Don’t put such sneak attack past the Bushes. I certainly will not sleep at ease until he is well out of the W.H.. God Help America.

  • February 27, 2007 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve often said (and still say) I wouldn’t put it past this guy to suspend elections on the pretext of national security and to that end, I fully expect we’ll be bombing Iran.

    All cynicism should be put aside so that our energies can be channeled into putting the country back on the right track, but instead, many of Americans still think nothing will change so they cannot be bothered.

    We do indeed have the government we deserve.

  • Sandra Brown
    February 28, 2007 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I wish he would grow up on someone else’s time. His pompous flight-suit, aircraft-carrier, “mission-accomplished” theater piece was pathetic–THAT’S what deserves to be mocked.

  • Bob
    February 28, 2007 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The suspension of democracy and the preemptive strike against Iran are very real possibilities and should scare the hell out of every freedom loving American. When Jr. Bush starts spouting freedom it only means his freedom to tyrannize the world. Don’t forgot, his staff was able to engineer 2 unpopular pseudo-elections. Make your voice heard now or King George may keep you silent.

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