Control Freak in the White House
George Bush as President, debater, and ethicist.
October 12, 2004
At two points in the second debate George Bush revealed himself as a control freak.
1) Control freaks when not in charge are very twitchy persons. About midway through the debate, Candidate Bush violated a fundamental rule when he interrupted moderator Charles Gibson in midsentence. (He was challenging what he thought Gibson was going to say, not what Gibson intended to say.) Gibson’s response was a model of courteous good humor as he tried to get the most powerful man in the world to listen to him.
When control freaks define themselves as the President does - "I decide"- they are fish out of water when the power of decision is taken from them. Fish out of water are very twitchy indeed.
The President defined himself to Time by those two words a few weeks ago, and has referred to it with some pride more than once in the debates. So the episode with Charles Gibson does not stand alone, attributable to the unique circumstances of a presidential debate; it reveals how the President sees himself in his daily responsibilities. When you are used to everyone deferring to your decision, who is a television newsman—even a senior one--to say otherwise?
That brings us to the second revealing moment in the debate. Senator Kerry had just explained his vote against the ban on partial birth abortions (in his opinion, the ban as proposed did not give due consideration to exceptional cases), and concluded by saying, "It's never quite as simple as the president wants you to believe." Candidate Bush responded with a put-down: "Well, it's pretty simple when they say: Are you for a ban on partial birth abortion? Yes or no?"
It is a great gift to think through a complex issue and reduce it to its simplest terms, but Candidate Bush reduced a complex issue by ignoring its complexity. That’s no gift. That’s a trick. Ethical decision stands on a stronger foundation than whether you agree with it, yes or no.
So the President decides. Who thinks?
About the Author:
Barnabas just aced the control freak test at www.queendom.com/cgi-bin/tests/test.cgi. It takes one to know one. The difference between Barnabas and George Bush is that Barnabas realizes his affliction disqualifies him for the presidency.
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