Maureen Dowd : Oedipal Déjà Vu

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

…..In Old Europe, they’ve moved on, assuming that the American president has done all the damage that he can do.  The blazing hostility toward W. has faded to indifference and a sort of fatigued perplexity about how les imbeciles de regime cowboy got into office, and how America could have put the world through all this craziness.  Even as the Supreme Court slapped him back for the third time on the suffocation of civil liberties at Guantánamo, President Bush gave the keynote speech of his European farewell tour extolling the virtues of liberty.  He celebrated European unity at the very instant it was falling apart, thanks to an Irish donnybrook.  Paris responded with a yawn.  (Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to say.)  A Bush organizer asked people sitting in the back of the hall to move to the front, so the empty seats would not be visible on TV.  The image of the U.S. abroad has improved slightly, according to a new Pew poll, but only in anticipation of seeing the back of this president…..“Your Eminence,” he told the pope, “you’re looking good.”

…..On the illicit rush to war, W. ne regrette rien.  He reiterated a rhetorical sop to those who yearn for a scintilla of remorse, telling The Times of London that his gunslinging talk made him seem like a “guy really anxious for war,” and that phrases like “dead or alive” and “bring them on” “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace.”  The Bushes have a hard time with the connective tissue between words and actions.  In this case, the words, while dime-store Western, were not the problem.  The actions were the problem.  W. was really anxious for war.  He felt that if he could change Middle East history, he could jump out of his father’s shadow forever.  A Democratic lawmaker who saw the president in the Oval Office recently and urged him to bring the troops home from Iraq quickly recounted that W. got a stony look and replied that 41 had abandoned the Iraqis and thousands got slaughtered.  “I will never do that to them,” 43 said.  Sounds like Oedipal déjà vu all over again.

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