Bush Being Bush

I was struck by this part of Bush’s speech yesterday at the UN (President Bush addresses United Nations General Assembly):

The Security Council has approved a resolution that would transform the African Union force into a blue-helmeted force that is larger and more robust. To increase its strength and effectiveness, NATO nations should provide logistics and other support. The regime in Khartoum is stopping the deployment of this force. If the Sudanese government does not approve this peacekeeping force quickly, the United Nations must act. Your lives and the credibility of the United Nations is at stake.

Say what you will about Bush’s qualifications (or lack of them) for being President, he does have one thing that makes him truly remarkable. Call it “balls,” call it “chutzpah,” call it “a pathological refusal to acknowledge his own failings,” but whatever you call it, he’s got it in spades, and for him (Bush) to be willing to lecture them (the UN) on this particular subject (the need to maintain their credibility) is as clear an example of it as anything I’ve seen.

Bush’s whole presidency, his whole adult life, is a monument to the power of his faith in himself. And it’s not just faith, but a zealously held and aggressively asserted faith, a faith characterized by bluster and a willingness to get in the other guy’s face and loudly assert that he is so right, and who are you to question it?

That UN speech is just one example I saw today. There was also a Max Boot op-ed piece in the LA Times: The stubbornly hopeful president.

True to the pro-Bush leanings that got him into the small group of reporters meeting with Bush, Boot does his best to put a positive spin on what he saw. But he can’t help conveying a certain sense of wonder at just how disconnected from reality Bush has become:

His steadfastness in the face of adversity is admirable. So is his contempt for the conventional wisdom of the day. But there is a certain fatalism that can come from focusing so much on the long term. (Bush spoke repeatedly of how the world would look 50 years from now.) There is a danger that you will not make the necessary short-term adjustments to achieve results here and now.

Finishing up the trio of items that led me to post this morning was this one from BAGnewsNotes: Losing it?

Up to now, I’ve felt that Bush had the psychological strength to contain the anger and arrogance that underlies much of his behavior. Observing his press conference in the Rose Garden on Friday, however, I’m not so sure anymore. Bush pulled off the Presidency perfectly well when things were going his way and people deferred to him (or cowered). (I’m speaking mentally, not politically.)

With the teflon all but gone, however, he’s starting to come apart whenever challenged. You can hear it in his tone, and you can see it in his body language. Besides Friday, it was quite evident, for example, in the recent “walk and talk” interviews Bush gave to Brian Williams in New Orleans and to Charles Gibson in Atlanta.

As Bush heads into the lame-duck part of his presidency, confronted more and more by his failures and the evaporation of his political capital, his confidence in himself will continue to be challenged. From what I can see, though, this is one challenge (perhaps the only one) that he’ll have no trouble surmounting.

8 Responses to “Bush Being Bush”

  1. treehugger Says:

    “The stench of the devil”… ahh, that was awesome!

  2. leftbehind Says:

    I don’t think that smell at the podium was sulfer, and hope Pres. Chavez did a quick “drawers check” before leaving the auditorium. If Bush had made that “the devil was here” comment, the press would have ripped him a new one for demonizing his enemies and use of offensive religious iconography in a public policy venue.

  3. treehugger Says:

    Yeah, becuase the US is better than that.

    Chavez is a joke, but that was still probably the best thing I’ve seen on television in years. I wonder what Bush thinks when comments are made like that, in a venue such as that, and half of the world’s leaders either applaud or chuckle. Do you think he is starting to realize what he has done? What his legacy will be?

    I think so, his arrogance seems to be diminishing everyday.

  4. leftbehind Says:

    The “world’s leaders” always love a cheap shot – especially when they don’t have to pony up and make it themselves. The chuckles of the European Peanut Gallery bear little weight as long as so many western governments are content to remain bitches for the Bush administration.

    It’s funny how all the world hates George Bush, but nobody has really done anything of any substance to stop him or even slow him down. Europe hates the Bush Administration’s stand on interrogation, but are we even sure how many of Bush’s secret prisons for terror suspects now exist in Europe, established and maintained with the cooperation of various European governments?

    Germany was one of the most vocal critics of the Iraq War, but still the German government permitted the US to use German territory in order to prepare and wage the war and provided 3.000 German Soldiers to guard the US-Bases in Germany in place of the GI’s who had gone to war in Iraq. The military bases in Germany have always been of central meaning for the wars of the US in Africa, Asia and the Balkans. Had the German government denied the US the use of these bases, as well as the overflight rights over German territory, as it was obliged to do by national and international law, it would have created enormous problems for the US troops and would have delayed the beginning of the war for many months. About 70.000 US troops are stationed in Germany and there are large air bases see and inland ports over which the US do a major part of their troop transportation and support. The German Bundeswehr also supported the US troops directly in the warfare with German officers doing duty on the AWACS planes near Iraq, with ABC units in Kuwait, and with escorts for US warships at Cape Horn in Africa. Right now the Bundeswehr is helping out by training Iraqi auxiliary troops. Guess THEY showed W, huh?

    Then there’s the UN, which did nothing to even slow the Bush war effort outside of flaccid rhetoric. Resolution 1441 was not the explicit support of war that Bush wanted, but it was vague enough (“serious consequences”) to give Bush the wiggle room he needed to justify his invasion to his allies, while simultaneously allowing the UN to slip out from under actually endorsing the war without being so harsh on the Bush Administration as to preclude future ass kissing when the need should arise. Now that the invasion is complete, the war has become a mess and no WMD’s have materialized, where are the stern condemnations from the UN a lot of us were justified in expecting? Why is the UN not giving a unified voice to the anti-US / anti-Bush sentiment that runs so high in so much of the world? Where is the backlash – the substantial, organized, multinational backlash against what the Bush administration has done in Iraq? France, for instance, made a reputation as the great thorn in Bush’s side during the lead up to the invasion but, seriously, what did they really do to stop that invasion? What are they doing now to constructively utilize the moral highground which is rightfully theirs?

    I’m sure the Chavez speech was a real knee-slapper in Paris, and wherever fine anti-Bush rhetoric is sold, but sissies everywhere only yuck it up until the bully steps back on the street and they have to get back with the program.

  5. leftbehind Says:

    Kofi Anon’s happy ass in the picture above says it all

  6. treehugger Says:


  7. trg34221 Says:

    Either you can have George Bush’s America “In Iraq, we are helping the long suffering people of that country to build a decent and democratic society”.

    Or Dirty Harry’s America, “Being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and could blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya–punk?”

    It would behoove this country’s critics to try harder to understand both impulses. What we know is the left wing extremists side only has 20 percent support this group believe’s the Bush administration knew/participated in 911!

  8. treehugger Says:

    OMG you’re killing me here, lol, “In Iraq, we are….” lamo!!

    Don’t read the newspaper much, eh? Becaue if you did, you would know that Iraq is in worse shape than it ever has been. That’s right, Iraq is now more dangerous that it ever was under that brutal dictator and slimeball. More murders, more kidknappings, more torture, more bombs, more violence – pure and simple.

    Kind of like Dirty Harry’s Iraq.

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