The Bush Monologues: The Subtext of Decision Points

True believers and cynics alike seem to be snapping up George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points.  No doubt the choir to whom he’s preaching will swallow whole every self-justifying anecdote.  No doubt the Bush loathers will find every fact a damned lie.  The contents are being scrutinized for insights into the character and Weltanschauung of this man who, through an improbable confluence of historical accident and a ruthless wielding of power, forever changed the American landscape.  Of course, Bush would like to act as his own apologist and be the spinmeister of his own legacy.  However, three of his more sensational confessions reveal, I believe, something of the allegiances to which he held fealty, to the detriment of the nation and the people he had sworn to serve.

The Lowest Moment

I would think that Bush must have had a plethora of low moments from which to choose: the outing of Valerie Plame, the resignation of Alberto Gonzalez, the 9/11 attacks, his end of term approval rating — the list could go on and on and on.  But no.  For Bush, the nadir came with the comment by Kanye West, after the Hurricane Katrina fiasco, that Bush ‘didn’t like black people.’  Oh, ouch!  Bush’s most persistent impersonation was that of Mister Aw-shucks.  Mister Aw-shucks likes everybody, especially Murricans but ‘ceptin’ bad guys.  Maybe Mister Aw-shucks likes them have-mores just a smidgen more than the rest of us but, hey, he’s a uniter, a good ol’ boy from Texas who, like his pal Brownie, is just trying to do a heck of a job. 

The Biggest Regret

Bush writes that he considers his unsuccessful campaign to privatize social security the biggest regret of his time in office. As per above, one might have assumed he’d chose from one of a number of other regretful occurances, among them the disgraceful revelations of Abu Graib, the false premises of the Iraq War, the staggering war profiteering of Halliburton, the utter incompetence of the response to Hurricane Katrina — again, the list is sizeable. Well, according to Bush’s response to a reporter’s question, he couldn’t think of any mistakes he made in office, not a one, so not overhauling social security doesn’t count as a failure per se but rather reflects a boneheaded public that for some inexplicable reason he couldn’t persuade to see the free-market light.

Jar-Jar Bush

This could be the most bizarre disclosure of the book: the incident of the stillborn fetus in a bottle that was shown to, and apparently traumatized, the young Dubyah.  I certainly don’t intend to mock any miscarriage — they are tragic and sorrowful occurances.  However, I’m puzzled by the thought of a mother, having undergone such a painful experience, choosing to share the evidence with a young man.  Yes, he was with her when she miscarried, and drove her afterwards to the hospital, but why the need for a show and tell? And I’m utterly clueless as to how what must have been an alarming and upsetting sight, at the very least, transformed the adult into an anti-choice (and of course pro-death-penalty, irony intended) demagogue. 

What I take from these various revelations is that Bush’s heart and mind was always firmly in the camp of power and privilege.  I find it profoundly more telling what did not fill him with regret, what did not bring him lowdown.  Even the fetus incident, and how it supposedly shaped his adult convictions, seems to be more about me-and-mine than any compassionate understanding that others’ needs and circumstances might differ. 

The world of Bush, as revealed in the subtext of this memoir, is one of us and them us being his cronies, the like-minded ideologues, the assumption that whatever enriches the haves-already must be just plain right.  His world is one in which those who don’t embrace the program — the poor, the protesters, the bleeding hearts, and of course the ubitiquitous bad guys — can be viewed and treated as less than human, or at least not as fully human as his peers.  In that world, why not sacrifice social security on the alter of abstract fiscal policy — his pals aren’t going to need it.  Why not treat the poor and misbegotten of New Orleans as irrelevant, at least until the media used it to give his administration a black eye?  Why not blow an emotional response to a family tragedy into a policy that at heart says: I feel, therefore it is?

I believe, sadly, that George W. Bush buys his own spin, and has persuaded himself that self-serving interpretation is as close to truth as one needs to get.  Many incidents upon which he expounds as justifications for various actions, such as his description of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder offering support for the invasion of Iraq, have been denounced as outright fabrications.  But the world of power and priviledge is also one of insulation, and no doubt George Bush, who never put much stock into reading anyway, will respond to his critics and detractors with ‘aw shucks.’  Parse that to mean what it always has: who cares.


Margarette C.
Margarette C.5 years ago

Hey Martha E if you read some of George's book you might learn something about him. But no, you prefer to listen to the listen to the liberal media! Good luck with that!!!!!!!!!

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Forgot to mention, that I would also not contribute ONE PENNY to him by buying his book.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

I don't need to read his excuses -- he made them every day he was president. What a low point for our country -- a stolen election in the United States of America, and to make matters worse, by a pip-squeak frat boy. Who blithely sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths.

Sean Connors
Sean Connors5 years ago

Please remember THIS MAN IS NOTHING LIKE WHAT HE SEEMS! Judge him by his actions, not his appearance! He presided over the greatest Transfer of Wealth in History, all legally and decimated the Middle Class. When he left office we had troops on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, covertly in Iran, Pakistan, Uzbhekistan, and covertly in Yemen, He started these wars under "False Pretenses" using lies and innuendo to assuage the American people, following an admittedly horrendous attack on New York and the Pentagon. I claim that if Al Gore had won the election that attack would never have occurred. Remember, those of you who pay attention, George H.W. Bush ran the CIA indirectly, or directly for 21 years, and was friends with the Bin Ladin Family. He personally recruited Osama "the Zealot" to fight the Russians and promised that the Americans would not build bases in Saudi Arabia (the Holy Land). During the 1st Gulf War guess what! Bases! They tried to blow up the World Trade Center in '93. Then Bush gets elected in 2000 and whammo, Osama has plan A all set and hits us were it hurts. Unfortunately this is a boon to Bush! instead of people seeing him for the Evil Moneyed Oil Man Shyster he really is, they see "the Patriot" slicing up the Bill of Rights "for our own Protection". The Fox is in the Henhouse!! What is his Legacy? He is a Big Money American Judas! When elected to serve the country, our President is supposed to strive for the Ideals of protecting our future! Hardly!

Martin R.
Martin R.5 years ago

The venting, hyperbole, excuses, justifications, good man, boogey man that everyone is sharing ignores one key point. He doesn't care. And therein lies the saddest most telling indictment of him not just as an ex president but as a human being.

patricia m lasek
patricia lasek5 years ago

I still can't believe people actually bought his book.

Jason R.
Past Member 5 years ago

Oh yeah. I left out, the prick that LET 9/11 happen? A great man?
You listen to too much Hannity, Mick. Turn off fox!!! Neither of you are "great americans".

Kathleen D.
Kathleen D.5 years ago

Jason; thank you but you were far too kind to Mick so I would like to pick up where you left off with a message also to Margarette. Mick and Margarette; are you two living in world all your own. Mick; you actually call this murderer a great man!Did you have a loved one lose their life fighting Bush's war? Or perhaps someone close come home only to battle the demons of PTSS or be relegated to oxygen as life support for the rest of their lives? How about those who have lost their limbs and wait for a prosthetic device/s?

Perhaps Mick, you are a dry drunk like Bush and are at the "My Pet Goat" reading level and are trying to make yourself feel better by comparing yourself to Bush in calling him a "great man". Remember how journalists were ordered not to take photos of soldiers being flown home in flag draped caskets. One photographer was fired for taking photos and then releasing them to the press. Bush didn't want the world seeing the tragic consequences his bogus war had produced. How about the, more than a million innocent Iraqi civilians (men, women and children) who were killed, raped, tortured, because of this horrible man's lies.

Have you no shame Mick? And you Margarette; show real humanity by saving the Pollyanna words for a true Pollyanna moment. Not for Bush!

Remember his black tie function, fundraiser dinner, in which he made a joke of WMD's? You people who defend him are pathetic.

Jason R.
Past Member 5 years ago

The Facist bush continues his bad acting job.

Really, Mick Collins? A great man? The prick that sent our economy into a downward spiral that RUINED millions of americans lives? The prick that concocted lies to send our kids to their senseless deaths? The prick that succeeded in completing every step to corporate fascism?

A university study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid.
They must have asked you.

Mick Collins
Mick C.5 years ago

Great book by a great man!