Margie Burns: 'George Walker Gollum'
Posted on Wednesday, March 02 @ 10:10:45 EST
By Margie Burns, MargieBurns.com
I've been mulling over those tapes of George W. Bush talking about Al Gore and other topics for about a week now, after hearing an excerpt played on one of the networks. In the tape, Bush sounds off on the topic of drug use, not so much against doing it as against admitting it. Then he rationalizes. It's a fascinating glimpse into what might be called private dishonesty, from before Bush got into the White House.
The back story is that, during the presidential campaign, Al Gore had dealt with the issue of marijuana the way a sane man would. That is, he offhandedly acknowledged having tried it, said nothing that could be construed as recommending it, and went on to more important matters. The steadiness worked, at least partly because Gore's personal life has genuinely been free from private disorders, and not even the rightwing noise machine could convincingly accuse Gore of being a crackhead.
Enter George Bush, the envious. Listening to Bush resentfully mimic Gore on tape, quoting him as saying, "it wasn't a big part of my life," frankly I wondered how even Bush could attack such a reasonable and proportioned - and accurate - statement. But envy always finds a way.
Clearly, from his perspective he had to find a way, because Gore - whom the noise machine was trying to paint as the dishonest one - had straightforwardly answered a question that Bush himself had ducked, for obvious reasons, for years.
So what's a lad to do? Why, he did it (refuse to answer) for the children, of course. "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions," he says with the smarmy, self-righteous resentment that is by now his hallmark. "You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried." He then goes on to repeat the idea at fuller length, implying incidentally that he did try drugs and also that children will find him, or that, worthy of imitation. The press has pointed out the former; not the latter.
The argument on its own terms is ridiculous, of course: as any parent who has put genuine time into child-rearing knows, you can find a way to admit past misjudgments without making them attractive. I smoked cigarettes for five years when I was young (started in college, quit in grad school) and have told my own offspring so, adding that it was the stupidest thing I've ever done. This damaging admission did not set off any rush among the under-aged to buy cigarettes, in my household. I also admitted trying some marijuana, decades back (not in college). Again, no spike in the local market.
It is probably unrealistic to hold a political candidate to the same standards as a parent that I try to sustain. And realistically, no male candidate is held to those standards, particularly in the GOP, which is pretty open about how the candidate's wife is supposed to do the heavy lifting at home. That's not how they put it, but that's what it amounts to.
(GWBush resents his wife's popularity, too.)
But Bush was being untruthful anyway. He didn't refuse to answer the drug questions because of somebody's kids; he refused to answer the drug questions because he didn't want to answer them. It is easy enough to see why he didn't want to: any attempt to palliate the truth might have set the press to digging, and then the rumors that he had in fact been arrested for possession, in Houston, would get out into the mainstream. So he came up with a line to rationalize his position.
What's fascinating is that he does this even in private. Even talking to a friend, someone who was giving him no challenge, not arguing with him, he keeps talking to himself, chewing over his line of thought, repeating the central idea as if to persuade himself. No wonder Bush couldn't handle those debates with John Kerry, or handle them without electronic assistance: he's been taking exactly this tack with himself for more than four years in the White House, cocooned with people subordinate to him or close to him, or both, brooking no serious challenge to any position he holds dear.
And as with all dried-out but not genuinely sobered individuals, one position he holds most dear is that, whoever suffers as a result of his actions, it must not be he. GWBush's entire treatment of America is much like the way an addict treats his wife.
It's plenty scary enough, in a sense. A note for you J. R. R. Tolkien/Lord of the Rings fans out there, however: comparisons of Bush to the Dark Lord are overblown. We're not there yet. A better comparison would be to Gollum, caught in a position beyond his capabilities, perpetually conflicted between Slinker and Stinker.
The Middle East is mine, yes it is my Precious. Yes yes we wants it. We must fight mean elderly people not rich who wants some money too. And they can't stop us, nasty hurting AARP and mean reporters won't stop us, no they won't. My family gave me foreign policcy; it's mine, and they can't steal it from me, no they can't the nasty public and the mean Internetss.
Reprinted from MargieBurns.com: