20 January 2007

Mad king

Novelist Jane Smiley speculates on the psychology of the President and the people who put him in power.
... what I think happened is that when the Bush/Scowcroft/Baker faction decided to use Little George as their presidential poster boy to expand their Middle-East-based wealth and power, they didn't reckon with Cheney and Rumsfeld. They thought their boy would be personable and easy to control.

The key moment was when Cheney went looking for a vice-presidential candidate and found himself. Once they had given him the opening and he had publicly used it to aggrandize himself and his agenda, B/S/B realized that for the sake of party solidarity, they had to live with it. When Baker engineered the coup that was Florida (and I do think one of the “perks” Bush offered as a candidate was that Florida was guaranteed ahead of time by Jeb and K. Harris), I think that B/S/B and C/R found themselves in an uneasy alliance—goals were the same, but temperaments were different. Right there at the pivot was Little George.

It's pretty clear that Little George requires a constant stream of flattery and cajolery to keep him going, and this was to be supplied by Harriet Miers, Karen Hughes, and Condi Rice.

This is consistent with a speculation I've voiced myself.
I think that Bush was originally chosen by the kingmakers of the conservative movement as an empty suit with name recognition that they could use to get their team into place in government, but once Bush was President, those same kingmakers, being conservatives, felt compelled to respect Bush's authority.
Smiley's take on this almost makes it sound like one of Shakespeare's histories about the Plantagenets. And she goes on to say that in the struggle between the courtiers, they have further empowered the king ... and driven him mad in the process.

She makes it sound plausible. I pray that she is wrong.

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