Thursday, December 23, 2004

The virtues of narcissism, at least for a president

On this fine day, Christmas Eve eve (one more shopping day left!), Timothy Noah, who writes "Chatterbox" for Slate, offers a good explanation for Bush's Bushisms and his inability to answer questions by the press. What I find most interesting is that Noah finally calls out what allows Bush to not only ignore questions about how realistic is his big reforms are(read: HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR ALL THIS?) but deflect the questions because he doesn't want to "debate" himself in public (how about in private then?)

Noah writes, assuming the role of Bush:

"What 'I' get to do, as president, is make promises that I know perfectly well can never be kept, and then to make Congress break those promises for me. I don't have to change 'the principles I believe in' because I know more responsible people in the government will violate them and take the blame.

"Those 'principles,' then, are really nothing more than the narcissism of a spoiled child. Why a Congress controlled by Bush's own party is willing to put up with this infantile buck-passing is anybody's guess. But it's time for the rest of us to recognize that when Bush says he can privatize Social Security cost-free, he's just putting his vanity on display. He only believes it because he can rely on his political allies not to."

You know who's really happy about all this smugness? The Chinese government because they own the American government's debt, all the billions and trillions dollars worth of it.


At 11:43 AM, Blogger Duke of DeLand said...

Come on Dawn,
You are much brighter than to fall for the ploy of worrying about Bush's program for anything.....before he illuminates it!

I would NEVER offer up comments and explanations which could be used for limiting my discourse on a topic....particularly when I have not yet defined and polished the presentation.....

NOR would YOU!

Bush is going to offer up some truly astounding proposals.....He will not allow the Liberal Left to take potshots prior to his deliniation of the entire thing.

I agree....

If you, as a valid, card-carrying, member of the USA team can find fault with that, then you are on a "snipe hunt".....and if, my dear, you don't know what that is, just call on ole Duke to explain.....

I've seen lots of seasons, and run a few campaigns as well....

Duke of DeLand

At 5:12 PM, Blogger AlAsaad said...

Dubya (sorry, we in Kansas, especially those of us in the media, have always called him "dubya") follows an old Republican dictum that seems to work for them:
Tell them that ..."everyone will get everything they want and it won't cost nobody nothing":
The same basic Republican Party promise he made to we Americans about the war (I called the coming war "Junior's revenge" way back in October, 2001):
"We're gonna fight, we're gonna win and there won't be any causalities".
Add to that the poor position we find ourselves in vis-à-vis China and the Euro is letting Airbus eat BOEING'S commercial jetliner lunch.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Mathew said...

........and to think, he was on the cover of the time magazine as Person of Year.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Joe Caggiano said...

Do you really expect ANY president to lay out specific plans in a news conference. Any specific answer would not be fair to Congress as they will lay a claim to the small but very important details (ones we will find out once it is law). Something must be done on this issue. Dems, he's leading here. Bush will set about a plan that cannot at this point be specific. Oppose him if you wish but look into the issue further for your own arguments in the future. Yes the rich may even end up paying and then be means tested out as the years go by. Makes you wanna be rich huh!
When did Bush EVER say there would not be any casualties. Give me a break.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

I think the point Noah was making in his article was that Bush HAS laid out plans. Sure they're not detailed, and I would contend that this is because he doesn't understand the detail rather than because he's showing respect to Congress. No shame in that, I know I couldn't understand all the details, it would take a team of economists for that.

The difficulty arises in that the little he has said is impossible: he's promised things that can't possibly happen i.e. an expensive reform package (to social security) whilst reducing both taxes and the deficit. Noah was actually being generous to Bush. Many would say he simply doesn't understand that these policy plans contradict each other, but Noah is arguing instead that he does understand this, he's just being cynical about it. He's making promises that he knows Congress can't keep, and therefore Congress looks bad, not the administration.

I'm not sure this theory holds water myself. I don't see why a Republican Congress would go along with this state of affairs, as it makes them look bad.

To think, though, that either Congress or the White House are going to pull some rabbit out of a hat and make all these things work is a little naive. It isn't the "details" that need to be worked out, the problem is a lot more fundamental than that. Somewhere along the line, promises that the administration made during the election (knowing full well that they couldn't be kept) will have to be broken, either on social security, taxes, or the deficit. This story is about Bush being aware of this, and manoeuvering himself such that it is Congress that has to break the promises, not him.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger sam said...

Hitler and Stalin also won Time's good ol'"man of the year" award...I think it goes to who has the most effect on the world, for good or worse, with bush clearly falling in the ladder.

About bush's reckless fiscal responsibilities and privatization of SS, I think it's good for the democratic party....more and more independent voters are starting to realize that the Republican Party can't reduce spending or government. In most cases, racking up huge debts and creating more, less-efficient government. So let bush go on his SS folly and show America how insane these neo-con fucks actually are.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger John Maki said...

Keep on leaning to the left dudes. It's just as well
that the liberal left politically correct types fade
into insignificance. No matter what GWB says, you
disagree and denigrate. We're tired of your whining.
Looking forward to the next 40 years where conservative
Christians will lead the way in our land.

God bless, and Merry Christmas

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


merry fucking christmas

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

Let's keep the discourse out of the gutter guys, it's Christmas.

I can understand the frustration though: I too get tired of people saying that I'm attacking Bush because I'm "biased" or "leaning to the left", rather than because I have an objective position, and from it can see the harm he's doing (as WELL as the good he's doing).

Not all criticism of Bush stems from partisanship or liberal bias; and if someone is consistently liberal and disagrees with Bush consistently, is there anything wrong with that anyway? It doesn't make their points any less valid. You accuse liberals of whining, but the only people I hear whining are some conservatives who complain of a "liberal bias" in the media. I'm afraid that if the White House and both houses of Congress, as well as the governerships of most States, are Republican, then that suggests that, if there is any liberal media bias, it's not very effective!

Anyway, my point is, if you disagree with what someone says, rebuff them with an argument based on the facts surrounding the issue at hand, not on some general attack you heard Rush Limbaugh make a few weeks ago.

As for the "person of the year" thing, it doesn't go to the "best" person (that's far too subjective). It goes to the most newsworthy. However, Time lost credence in 2001 when they didn't give it to Bin Laden, who was blatantly obviously the top newsmaker of that year (it went to Giuliani, who was only in the news because of Bin Laden...). I guess they were afraid of having Osama's picture on the front cover with "person of the year" underneath it, but this seems like something of a cop-out when you consider they did give it to Hitler and Stalin in the past. Anyway, since then, the thing's become meaningless.

Merry Christmas from me too guys.

p.s. good luck on the conservative Christian ruling for 40 years thing. Seems like it'll be hard to achieve that - but I would almost vote for it myself if only it would stop some conservatives "whining" about liberal bias everywhere they look...

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Pontificate4U said...

That this country continues to be divided among partisan lines is a sad testament to the utter selfishness that predominates American society. One would hope that the American people could rise above petty squabbling to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number of people but current trends seem anathema to that very aspiration.

We needn’t look far to discern intractable problems embedded deep within our own communities that affect conservatives, democrats and independents equally. What perhaps amazes me most is sizable gulf dividing all colors of the political spectrum regarding environmental preservation. Is there any clearer example of a problem whose remedy will certainly require the concerted efforts of all people regardless of political affiliation? I can't imagine what could be more pertinent to our continued existence on this planet.

It's so easy to overlook the gradual yet devastating deterioration of our natural environment because it doesn't appear germane when contrasted with the sexier vitriol issuing from mainstream media outlets. This is just one example among hundreds that I could cite wherein America continues on its steady, precipitous path into oblivion for no other reason than having discordant views of abortion, gay marriage, religious expression, etc. Not to imply that these aren't all important issues to a wide variety of Americans but in the greater scheme of things do they really outweigh the death of 40,000 children daily worldwide from famine and disease. Does gay marriage really belong in the spotlight when there are countless numbers of homeless right here in America? Isn't AIDS in Africa far more pressing an issue than the constitutionality of a Christmas nativity scene in public?

The point is this: America is a country of contrast (forgive that familiar platitude) just the way our forefathers intended, however I doubt they intended for America to be bogged down in semantics and hair-splitting while Rome burned. I think we can safely disagree on a flat or national sales tax, but we can hardly afford to ignore the looming problems of poverty, hunger, war et al no matter what our inflated, all too easily bruised egos demand of us.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

You go to Walmart! Buy stuff you don't need. Debt not gonna pay itself. Go Now!

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Pontificate4U said...

Hugo, spoken like a true simpleton. Thanks for making such a compelling case! Outstanding man!

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Monkey said...


Do any of you guys speak English? I'm as anti-government as anybody, but I don't get it. Help me out here. By "narcissim", do you mean egocentric? What about cost free Social Security privatization -- who ever said it was cost free? Not Bush. Believe me, I'd love to trash that notion, but it ain't there.

Also, why is it that the Chinese own our debt? Have they been issuing savings bonds? Fortune Cookies? Did I miss out?

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