January 6, 2009

The Smaller Than Life President

From The New York Times:
A President Forgotten but Not Gone -- by Frank Rich [excerpted]
"You start to pity him until you remember how vast the wreckage is. It stretches from the Middle East to Wall Street to Main Street and even into the heavens, which have been a safe haven for toxins under his passive stewardship. The discrepancy between the grandeur of the failure and the stature of the man is a puzzlement. We are still trying to compute it. . . .

"Almost poignantly, he keeps trying to hawk his goods in these final days, like a salesman who hasn't been told by the home office that his product has been discontinued. Though no one is listening, he has given more exit interviews than either Clinton or Reagan did.

"[An] elaborate example of legacy spin can be downloaded from the White House Web site: a booklet recounting “highlights” of the administration’s “accomplishments and results.” With big type, much white space, children’s-book-like trivia boxes titled “Did You Know?” and lots of color photos of the Bushes posing with blacks and troops . . . .

"This document is the literary correlative to 'Mission Accomplished.' Bush kept America safe (provided his presidency began Sept. 12, 2001). He gave America record economic growth (provided his presidency ended December 2007). He vanquished all the leading Qaeda terrorists (if you don't count the leaders bin Laden and al-Zawahri). He gave Afghanistan a thriving 'market economy' (if you count its skyrocketing opium trade) and a 'democratically elected president' (presiding over one of the world's most corrupt governments). He supported elections in Pakistan (after propping up Pervez Musharraf past the point of no return). He 'led the world in providing food aid and natural disaster relief' (if you leave out Brownie and Katrina).

"The man who emerges [from all those exit interviews] is a narcissist with no self-awareness whatsoever. It's that arrogance that allowed him to tune out even the most calamitous of realities, freeing him to compound them without missing a step. The president who famously couldn't name a single mistake of his presidency at a press conference in 2004 still can't.

"He can, however, blame everyone else."


Mauigirl said...

This was a good article by Rich.

Wanted to stop by and wish you a belated Happy New Year! I hope President-Elect Obama will be able to accomplish all he needs to do in the coming year!

two crows said...

hi, Mauigirl--
hope your coming year is peaceful and happy, too.

I join you in your hope-- and may Congress not play gridlock government.

What I can't believe are the people who are already faulting Obama because he hasn't fixed anything yet.
I've taken to screaming at my computer, "HE'S NOT PRESIDENT YET!!!"

I'm going to go lie down, now. I'm getting a migraine.