Understanding G.W. Bush

October 19th, 2004 – 8:31 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

The always brilliant Teresa Nielsen Hayden has posted one heck of an analysis of G.W. Bush, based on a combination of her own thoughts and the recent scary look at Bush written by Ron Suskind.

It’s not cute, and it’s not funny, and it’s not religion. George Bush is running national policy on faith—but it’s not faith in God. It’s become something far stranger and more idolatrous.

What he’s put his faith in is George W. Bush, which is not the same thing as saying he believes in himself. He can’t believe in himself; he knows he doesn’t know anything. But instead of seeking more information and better counsel, he’s abandoned the frustrations of dealing with the factual, external universe. He’s now basing everything on the instincts of George W. Bush. That’s where the smirk comes from.

He’s certain he’s right. So was every dotcom investor. So is every blackjack player in Las Vegas.

Pause, then. Some of you already think this must be hyperbole, and that Bush can’t explicitly, literally, concretely have given up on external data and the reasoned analysis thereof.

Unfortunately, that’s what Suskind is saying.

Meanwhile, some of you may be hearing “faith” and “God”, and thinking Bush can’t be a bad guy if he’s using that as his basis for action. However, what you’re imagining is not what’s going on.

I’m not going to discuss my doubts about Bush’s spiritual life, though I have them. There’s a deeper problem. A whole bunch of times now, Bush has been absolutely certain of his decisions, overflowing with faith—and dead wrong. So whatever it is he’s put his faith in, it’s something that’s telling him things that aren’t true.

As I’m sure you’re aware, God doesn’t do that.

It’s long read, but very worth your time (as is Ron Suskind’s original New York Times Magazine piece) if you’re at all interested in understanding how Bush’s behavior can be so consistently bizarre and out of touch with what the rest of us percieve as reality.

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