Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bush on 60 Minutes: truly an OW-er

Last night, George W. Bush spoke with CBS anchor Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes. In the uncharacteristically frank interview, Bush addressed criticism of his handling of Iraq; he also expressed his defiance of said criticism, pledging to commit more troops and resources to the mission. More than any other document in recent memory, the 60 Minutes segment gives us Bush at his most adamant and unwavering--an embattled leader facing the toughest trial of his (and the nation's) existence.

Alas, I haven't yet seen it. Sure, I have it on videotape; but after seeing the teasers and online analyses, I can't quite bring myself to push "play." If the secondhand quotes are any indicator, then 60 Minutes with Bush is an eternity.

Thank you! I'm here all week, folks.

While Bush continues to profess his resolve, pieces such as Sunday's interview increasingly reflect the futility of such resolve. The president's remarks suggest not only a staggering ignorance of separation of powers, but also how his need to be right overtakes any sense of rationality. And while those qualities may be news for the small fraction of Americans who are still not paying attention, it doesn't make for compelling viewing for the rest of us.

Few experiences are as metaphorically painful as watching Bush wax philosophical about the need for further escalation in Iraq; acknowledging past mistakes while denying the need for a new gameplan; calling himself a "war president," as if such a label renders him infallible; insisting that Iraqis should be grateful for the nightmare their country has become; and, despite the already overflowing plate of American military hegemony, talking up conflict with Iran. In TV terms, this is a rerun of a popular episode of a brainless show; you've seen it so many times that you know all the words, but there's no reason ever to see it again. In another sense, Bush's appearance is along the lines of Celebrity Boxing or The Surreal Life; the glory boy fallen from grace who'll do anything to show people that he's still alive.

Indeed, Bush seems intent on proving a lot more than his continued existence. His drive to send more troops to Iraq--regardless of Congressional rebukes--comes off more as an attempt to assert his own power than an attempt to resolve any military issues. Whether or not that is deliberate defiance is hard to say; however, it's worth noting that Bush claims to not use e-mail and says he can act even if Congress denies him the funds to do so. In isolating himself from naysayers, Bush has built himself a forcefield of delusion. In his quest to repel negativity, he has also repelled reality.

Hopefully, the 60 Minutes interview showcases the futility that is the Bush doctrine. And, hopefully, Bush will have seen it in full. Watching his internal ideological struggle may just be the spark Dubya needs to finally affect positive change.

Alas, Bush would probably find it as hard to watch as we did.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Well, I actually did watch at least most of the interview, and "surreal" certainly is descriptive. Out to lunch would also be appropriate, as would the old saw "denial isn't just a river in Egypt."

Ever wonder what someone looks like after they refuse to admit they've jumped headlong into an Olympic sized swimming pool of shit, which they insisted at first was rich, creamy chocolate? Press the play button...