Go Tell It to Dr. Paidtogiveashit

Sidney Blumenthal has yet another great piece in Salon, extricating some more details from Robert Draper's new Bush biography, Dead Certain, such as all the president's men having learned to manipulate him with flattery. Particularly gag-inducing is the revelation that chief of staff Josh Bolten greets Bush every morning with: "Thank you for the privilege of serving today." But worse is Blumenthal's summary of how the fucktastrophe that is the Bush administration came to be in the first place.

The elder Bush assumed that the Bush family trust and its trustees—James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Prince Bandar—would take the erstwhile wastrel and guide him on the path of wisdom. In this conception, the country was not entrusted to the younger Bush's care so much as Bush was entrusted to the care of the trustees. He was the beneficiary of the trust. But to the surprise of those trustees, he slipped the bonds of the trust and cut off the family trustees. They knew he was ill-prepared and ignorant, but they never expected him to be assertive. They wrongly assumed that Cheney would act for them as a trustee.

Cheney had worked with and for them for decades and seemed to agree with them, if not on every detail then on the more important matter of attitude, particularly the question of who should govern. The elder Bush had helped arrange for Cheney to become the CEO of Halliburton, making him a very rich man at last. But Bush, Baker, Scowcroft et al. didn't realize that Cheney's apparent concurrence was to advance himself and his views, which were not theirs. When absolute power was conferred on him, the habits of deference lapsed, no longer necessary. ("Thank you for the privilege of serving today.") Cheney was always more Rumsfeld oriented than Bush oriented. The elder Bush knew that Rumsfeld despised him and that Cheney was close to Rumsfeld, just as he knew his son's grievous limitations. But the obvious didn't occur to him—that Cheney would seize control of the lax son for his own purposes. The elder Bush committed a monumental error, empowering a regent to the prince who would betray the father. The myopia of the old WASP aristocracy allowed him to see Cheney as a member of his club. Cheney, for his part, was extremely convincing in playing possum. The elder Bush has many reasons for self-reproach, but perhaps none greater than being outsmarted by a courtier he thought was his trustee.

Is there a more ridiculous, dysfunctional lot of blindly selfish swine than the Bush family? Only these assholes would use the presidency as both salve and weapon, playing out some fucked-up family melodrama that belongs in the nicely appointed office of a bored but highly paid therapist. H.W. "knew his son's grievous limitations" but figured it would be cool if he were president, anyway. After all, there was no better way to heal the wounds of his own truncated presidency—cut short by a hillbilly Democrat from Arkansas, of all people!—than to see his own progeny take back the White House. And W., stinking of something to prove, takes the gift handed to him by his father and rams it down Daddy's throat with reckless abandon, damn the consequences. What a pair.

There ain't enough tears in the world to sufficiently
weep for what you and yours done to us, old man.

[H/T Creature.]

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