Dead President Walking?
I was listening to Air America Radio this afternoon while driving around on errands, and a clip was played from a recent speech by George Bush.
It wasn't remarked on by the radio host, but I was struck by how dead Bush's voice was. He was clearly reading words off a paper given to him. His voice was flat and effectless. He paused, inappropriately, numerous times, as if having to re-focus on the words he was reading.
It was the voice of a man tired. Exhausted. On the point of collapse. A man who has lost hope. A walking dead man.
Earlier in the week, Bush had given his "angry" speech, accusing Democrats of partisan politics in their investigation of the DoJ/US-attorneys-firings scandal. I put "angry" in quotes, because my reaction to that speech was that it wasn't an angry man making an angry speech, it was a man acting, or trying to act, like an angry man. It was blustering, not anger; it was bad acting, and horribly, horribly unconvincing.
And it didn't work. The investigation continues; subpoenas for White House insiders are looking more and more certain. Damaging emails, and more evidence of systemic White House dishonesty, keep coming forth. Bush's administration seems, finally, to be beginning an accelerating slide to public disgrace and repudiation.
It's always been pretty clear that one of the main psychological dynamics driving George Bush has been the drive to out-do his father.
And it's pretty clear now that he's failed in that drive. He won't be remembered as a great President. He won't be regarded as a great warrior, or a great diplomat, or a great leader.
That's been clear to a LOT of people, for a LONG time. And now, maybe, it's become clear to George Bush too.
People have an amazing capacity for denial, for rationalization, for self-justification. Alcoholics, drug addicts, abusers, all can deny the wreckage they've made of their lives and the lives of people around them, for years and for decades. A lot of them go to their graves never admitting their own weaknesses and failings.
But maybe George Bush is reaching his own personal "tipping point". Maybe it's finally become undeniable, UN-deniable, that he is a failure as a President, as a leader, as a human being. Maybe he's looked into mirrors one too many times, and is finally starting to see a true image of the man he's become, and the legacy and reputation he will leave behind him.
It's not a pretty sight. It's the face of failure.
Everything he wanted, he will not have. Everything he hoped for -- fame, adulation, success -- he will not get. And he is only now truly beginning to realize this, only now beginning to KNOW this, to know it within his mind, and his heart, and his soul. The denial no longer works, the rationalizations no longer work, the self-justifications no longer work.
This is a very uncertain period. If my speculations above are anywhere close to reality, there are several ways events might proceed from here, all of them with a certain amount of danger attached. But if my reading of Bush's voice during that speech is accurate...
...then I think we may actually see a President leaving office via suicide -- Bush reportedly keeps Saddam Hussein's gun in his Oval Office desk -- in the next few weeks or months.