Maureen Dowd : The Transition From Monosyllabic Gunslinger To Intellectual Diplomat
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
…..When Brit Hume did a joint interview last week with Bush father and son, dubbed “41st guy” and “43rd guy” by W., the Fox anchor asked whether it was true that “there wasn’t a lot of give and take” between them, except on family matters. “See,” the Oedipally oddball W. replied, “the interesting thing is that a president has got plenty of advisers, but what a president never has is someone who gave him unconditional love.” He talks about his father, the commander in chief who went to war with Saddam before he did, like a puppy. “You rarely have people,” he said, “who can pick up the phone and say, ‘I love you, son,’ or, ‘Hang in there, son.’ ” Maybe he wouldn’t have needed so many Hang-in-there-sons if he had actually consulted his dad before he ignorantly and fraudulently rammed into the Middle East…..The exiting and entering presidents are opposite poles — one the parody of a monosyllabic Western gunslinger who disdains nuance, and one a complex, polysyllabic professor sort who will make a decision only after he has held it up to the light and examined it from all sides…..
It’s astonishing that, as banks continue to fail and Americans continue to lose jobs and homes, W. was obtuse enough to go on TV and give a canned ode to can-do-ism. “Good and evil are present in this world,” he reiterated, “and between the two of them there can be no compromise.” He gives the good-and-evil view of things a bad name. Good and evil are not like the Redskins and the Cowboys. Good and evil intermingle in the same breath, let alone the same society. A moral analysis cannot be a simplistic analysis. “You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made,” he said Thursday night. “But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.” Actually, no. His decisions have been, for the most part, disastrous. If he’d paid as much attention to facts as fitness, 9/11, Iraq, the drowning of New Orleans, the deterioration in Afghanistan and the financial deregulation orgy could have been prevented. Bush fancied himself the Decider; Obama fancies himself the Convener…..W., Cheney and Rummy loved making enemies, under the mistaken assumption that the more people hated America, the more the Bushies were standing up for principle. But is Obama neurotically reluctant to make enemies, and overly concerned with winning over those who have smacked him, from Hillary and Bill to conservative columnists? Right now, though, it’s a huge relief to be getting an inquisitive, complicated mind in the White House…..We’re trading a dogmatic president for one who’s shopping for a dog. It feels good.