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From Hero to Nero: Heck of a Job Bushie
Oct 10 2006 by NM Puff
Q. The title implies President Bush is comparable to the Roman Emperor Nero, who, as legend has it, fiddled while Rome burned.
A. 'Nero' is a metaphor for someone who squanders opportunity, whose basic psychological makeup causes him to retreat intellectually from his direct environment, and is therefore in many ways detached.
Q. Most observers of Bush have come to the same conclusion. What makes your book different?
A. I look at the implications of Bush's personality arc as he's affected the United States since the 9/11 disaster.
Q. Could you be more specific?
A. Yes, look at his relationship with his father, George H.W. Bush. A primary motivation of the younger Bush has been to separate himself from, and simultaneously outdo his father. You see it in Iraq, tax policy and adopting Christ as his 'mentor' to the seeming exclusion of his father. Examples, I believe, of both cult behavior in one case and a seeming unresolved Oedipal concern on the other. The policy implications? An ends-justify-the-means approach, if you will.
Q. Many presidents have goaded the public into war. Again, what makes this president different?
A. Read the book for the full answer. However, here are some clues: The first is what I call the 'unlived life'. That's a person who for a variety of reasons - maybe depth of person or depth of experience - views a colorless world...a black-and-white one-dimensional view.
The second is the implication of getting a free pass. For this I believe both Yale and Harvard, among others, should be scolded for currying favor to the children of alumni. As I outline in the book, "in the case of George Bush this was like giving a loaded gun to a three year old."
Third is the fallacy of linear thinking, which has caused this president to 'double down' his bets when confronted with a failure, like trumpeting Iran as a defense against failure in Iraq. Which is a sure way to go broke.
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