Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Drunk on Power and Piety

If less were at stake, George Bush's personal journey would evoke sorrow and pity--a ruined life being "redeemed" by self-deception.

His statement to Martha Raddatz of ABC about addiction is like watching a man walk unknowingly toward a cliff and taking a whole nation with him.

"I had too much to drink one night, and the next day I didn't have any," Bush said. "The next day I decided to quit and I haven't had a drink since 1986."

"And you did it just cold turkey?" asked Raddatz.

"I'm a better man for it," Bush said.

For two decades, the 40-year-old who made that decision with no self-knowledge has replaced one addiction for another, giving up alcohol for power and piety without understanding what drove him to either and the distortion of reality that comes with both.

It doesn't take psychological training to see the signs--the stubbornness, the inappropriately cheerful response to disaster, the refusal to listen to any questioning of his behavior--that would be clear in an addict from any other walk of life.

His father's speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, came close to calling it in the Wall Street Journal, of all places:

“Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn't Mr. Bush? Every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president since polling began. He's in a good mood...

“Americans...like the president to be the cool-eyed realist, the tough customer who understands harsh realities. With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He's the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually it's weird."

"Alcohol," the President said yesterday," can compete with your affections. It sure did in my case, affections with your family, or affections for exercise. It was the competition that I decided just wasn't worth it."

George Bush was restored to his family, he exercises regularly and he has no clue about what addictive behavior can do when it takes over the most powerful position in the world.

2 comments:

jfreeland said...

Powerful thoughts.

Don said...

This must have been another weak attempt at levity by Bush. He could not have been serious. I do not find him or anything about him at all funny.