06/05/2004: Nixon Redux?
Though the person who forwarded this on to me had another good comparison--President Queeg--this article reminds me way too much of the Nixon years for comfort: Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House Aides
President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind.Interesting....I don't recall anywhere in the gospels where Jesus teaches that a Christian should fuck over his enemies.
In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as “enemies of the state.”
Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.
“It reminds me of the Nixon days,” says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That’s the mood over there.”
In interviews with a number of White House staffers who were willing to talk off the record, a picture of an administration under siege has emerged, led by a man who declares his decisions to be “God’s will” and then tells aides to “fuck over” anyone they consider to be an opponent of the administration.
“We’re at war, there’s no doubt about it. What I don’t know anymore is just who the enemy might be,” says one troubled White House aide. “We seem to spend more time trying to destroy John Kerry than al Qaeda and our enemies list just keeps growing and growing.”
The President's abrupt dismissal of CIA Directory George Tenet Wednesday night is, aides say, an example of how he works.
"Tenet wanted to quit last year but the President got his back up and wouldn't hear of it," says an aide. "That would have been the opportune time to make a change, not in the middle of an election campaign but when the director challenged the President during the meeting Wednesday, the President cut him off by saying 'that's it George. I cannot abide disloyalty. I want your resignation and I want it now."
Tenet was allowed to resign "voluntarily" and Bush informed his shocked staff of the decision Thursday morning. One aide says the President actually described the decision as "God's will."
God may also be the reason Attorney General John Ashcroft, the administration’s lightning rod because of his questionable actions that critics argue threatens freedoms granted by the Constitution, remains part of the power elite. West Wing staffers call Bush and Ashcroft “the Blues Brothers” because “they’re on a mission from God.”
Of course, what makes this situation (if true) extremely scary isn't just the Nixonian paranoia--it's the insistance that Bush is the living embodiment of God's will. As Susan B. Anthony is said to have noted, the problem with people who claim to know God's will is that they wind up asserting that God's will is basically what they want to do anyway.
Len on 06.05.04 @ 02:11 PM CST