The Baker/Hamilton Iraq Study Group report was only slightly less anticipated than the Starr report about Bill Clinton's sexual peccadilloes. Anticipated by all except the President, that is. This was Chucklehead's worst nightmare come true. Yet again, he has proven to be so completely inept at his life's undertakings that his father's old wizened aides have had to leap into the breach to save Georgie's sorry ass from himself. Only this time, he is sixty years old and at the end of his career road. I am certain that the thing George Bush detests most in life is to be lectured by his father and he has said as much in the past. They don't even talk shop, and his father won his war. This life-long characteristic of the prodigal son, Dubya, attempting to better his more accomplished Dad has become pathological to the most casual observer of psychology. What a tragedy, though, that this Oedipal drama must be played out on the international stage while stability in the world and our soldiers' lives are at stake.
Bush, Sr. went to Yale and played baseball, Dubya was a cheerleader who later owned the whole damn team; Sr. was a war hero, Junior supported the Vietnam War by wearing his Texas National Guard flight jacket on the campuses of those hotbeds of protest, Yale and Harvard; Sr. did well in the oil business, Junior had to be a wildcatter too and have his failed Arbusto Oil company purchased by Harkin Oil, his father's old associates; Sr. was elected, Junior was re-elected. This was because Junior had something not even Senior could abide; Karl Rove. Bush 41 fired Rove for dirty tricks before Rove discovered Junior's magical charisma and decided to make him president. No one knew Rove would upset Poppy's applecart again.
But the most telling and bizarre father-son episode I have seen was earlier this week, when Bush 41 broke down in wracking sobs while delivering a speech at an outgoing ceremony for Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Recalling Jeb's loss to Lawton Chiles in 1994 and vaguely referring to dirty tricks, Bush was overcome with tears and emotion at how honorably Jeb had handled defeat without complaining. Last week, Bush had to defend his son, Dubya, merely as an "honest man" to the foreign press. His emotional display in Florida causes me to believe that he wasn't as distraught over Jeb losing the governorship in '94, as he was that it upset the Bush legacy pecking order and the wrong son went and got himself elected president. And now Poppy has to cover that bounced check. "But Esau was an hairy man." I'd cry, too.
Dubya had himself quite a week, choosing to leave the country, Nixon style, rather than face the withering criticism of his failed Iraq policy. From Latvia to Indonesia and Vietnam, where he posed under a giant relief of Ho Chi Minh in a snappy native costume, he looked particularly ill at ease for someone who likes to play dress-up so much. He has dressed as a cowboy, a construction worker, a jock fighter pilot, and the President. Why should dressing in a silk, yellow gown with blue stars on it disturb him? A fashion reporter asked Bush, "Who are you wearing?" and he said, "Ringling Brothers." All he lacked was a big, round, red nose and a couple of bicycle horns to look like Clarabelle. He has become the Global Village Idiot and reflects that perception upon this country wherever he goes.
Then it was on to Jordan for dinner for two with King Abdullah at a table with three place settings. Can you imagine Lambchop refusing to talk to Shari Lewis? Or Jerry Mahoney not speaking to Paul Winchell? Such was the snub of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to Bush after the inner White House Steven Hadley memo calling Maliki a moron was intentionally leaked to the press. Bush had to settle for breakfast with Nuri, instead, because Maliki's strings are not merely pulled by Bush, but Moktada al-Sadr as well. Those Iraqis are just so ungrateful. I wonder if anyone mentioned "light at the end of the tunnel?."
Now the Baker-Hamilton report has repudiated the Bush plan in Iraq and calls for a troop drawdown by 2008. People everywhere hoped this study could serve as political cover for Bush to finally agree to changes in his imperial plans. So how does he react to the tough questioning of the British press about the report? He gets mad. He has the surliness of an drunk who hasn't yet treated the underlying causes of his alcoholism. Bush's performance since the release of the Iraq Study Group report has been that of a a petulant pissant. He is now cornered, and that is when he is most dangerous. His usual response is to lash out at his detractors, regardless of the damage it causes, and if that includes Uncle Jimmy Baker and the last, best hope for a graceful exit from Iraq, then so be it. Bush already plans to dump this mess into the lap of his successor if America survives him. And if you are counting on Bush to express appreciation to his father for throwing him a lifeline that could salvage his presidency, just remember, Bush "answers to a higher father." Dubya's "voices" told him to stay in Iraq until "victory is achieved." How will we know when that transpires, or if he is recommitting troops to their third and fourth tours in Iraq just to piss off Daddy?