micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Sunday, February 15, 2004
Why Rumplestiltskin envies Team Bush
Jeff Jarvis writes:
Fred Wilson lists 11 character traits that make CEOs fail.Looking at the list, I suspect there is a chance that there just might be a possibility that it is Bush, but first it should be noted that Wilson says the list is from a book entitled Why CEOs Fail.
O.K. here are the traits:
Bush has been known to not answer questions that have been asked of him but just go over the themes he wants to cover thereby indicating that he doesn't feel his decisions should be questioned (arrogance). Bush wants other countries to follow his orders or, to put it another way, he wants everything to revolve around him (melodrama). Before the invasion of Iraq Bush couldn't decide whether Saddam's regime was an imminent threat or not and, in a highly related manner, Bush has said that it was known that Saddam's now deposed regime had weapons of mass destruction but, at another time, only that Saddam could develop them at some point (Volatility). Bush took a fair amount of time to respond to the ostensibly imminent threat of Iraq and wasn't too forceful about finding and neutralizing the weapons of mass destruction that could kill us all once the invasion had begun (Excessive Caution). Bush always focuses on the negatives in terms of the dangers face by the U.S. (Habitual Distrust).
Perhaps what I termed to be an example of "Arrogance" on the part of Bush is really just "Aloofness." The fact that Bush doesn't think he should be held accountable for his administration's changing story is example that fits this definition of "Mischievousness." Bush may not be "Eccentric" but that is probably just because he appears to be a boring person aside from his exercise of power. His rampant dishonesty -"the terrorists" is perhaps the most striking example of this- shows that he fits this definition of "Passive Resistance." The son of H.W. wants to defeat terrorism. Talk about "Perfectionism"! The guy is either extremely manipulative or doesn't understand the absurdity of such a goal. As far as "Eagerness to Please," in his State of the Union addy Bush said "the American people are using their money far better than government" before talking about all the government spending he wants to do. Everyone was supposed to be made happy by this.
So will Bush fail?
My guess is not, either because these metrics don't apply to presidents and/or my responses were as much sarcastic as not. (Take your pick.) I don't fear Bush will "fail." I fear that he will succeed in the most significant arena of his presidency.
Maybe it is just my pessimism but I suspect that Bush will be reelected easily if he puts the focus on his "record," by which I mean the "war on terror" with its very popular narrative. The "war on terror" should be the primary issue in this election and, ironically enough, it most likely will be.
And even if Bush does lose to Kerry, or whoever the Dems nominate, it appears almost certain that the "war on terror" will continue. Bush will still have succeeded with flying colors on the primary project of his administration.
The Bush Administration reminds me of Rumplestiltskin -a character I always had a hard time as seeing morally inferior to the miller's daughter because taking someone's baby as a payment seems no worse than agreeing to give one's baby away for services to be rendered- dancing around the fire, confident of victory. But unlike Rumplestiltskin they can, in the aggregate, admit the secret -that the "war on terror" represents the manipulation of the public as much as anything else- that could in theory cause them to lose. They can do this because just about nobody amongst those of Respectable Opinion will make the critique and point out the truth. There may be spies combing the cyberwoods, but they won't be taken seriously.
The above grafs reflect one of the two things that worry me most about my criticism of the "war on terror." Am I becoming a crank? A paranoid obsessed conspiracy theorist? I don't think so but such people are often not the best judge of their own state.
I also want to avoid personalizing this criticism. Yes I think Bush, Rummy, Powell, Wolfie, Rice and the rest are despicable people but the "war on terror" is best understood not so much as a new physical project but as a new ideological project that aims to give an all-encompassing justification to the interventions Uncle Sam would otherwise have had to come up with a new explanation for in order to participate in. They are products of a system, not those who control the system. (I should point out that I don't believe there actually is anybody in "control." One of the primary deficiencies of much of even the best of Marxist thought is the reliance on the existence of a "ruling class" to explain why something happens, when in fact they should be talking about the dynamics of real existing economic/political systems, which are based, with only very few exceptions, a combination of authoritarianism, central planning, democracy and free markets.)
You'll notice I didn't list "the ability to effect change" in the above section. I've given up on that.