Oh, what a tangled web

December 06, 2006 by barbara

by barbara

I debated whether to watch the video clip making the rounds of George H.W. Bush dissolving in tears the other day. You can check it out yourself here, if you like. Bush the elder was addressing a gathering at Jeb Bush's final leadership forum before he steps down as governor of Florida. And in the midst of his remarks about his son's fine qualities, Poppy lost it. More than once, in fact. I did watch the clip. Such high potential for schadenfreude and attendant snarking. Takes very little to set me off these days, in case you hadn't noticed. But the video blindsided me because it made me sad. Read on.

In all probability, George H.W.'s meltdown had little to do with Jeb. No, I'm guessing that the Bush family is being rent asunder by Boy George's failed presidency, dismal approval ratings and the very public nature of his failures. Think about the most shameful things you or your kid have ever done. Imagine news of it as enormous headlines, above the fold of every paper in the nation and abroad. And for repeaters, a new headline every day. Blog stories. TV commentaries. Cocktail conversations. Talk radio fodder. I know. It goes with the territory. And George has brought most of this down around his own sagging shoulders.

One might conjecture that George H.W. and Barbara are complicit in George's failures by virtue of how they reared their cheeky son and how they have advised him personally and politically over the years. Every parent who has raised a wild child agonizes at some point about their parenting. Were they too lenient? Too rigid? Too involved? Too distant?

We want our children to succeed, to be happy. Not many of us see our kid walk across the threshold of the White House as its current occupant. Such joy! Such high hopes! And, in the case of George, such a set-up. Generally speaking, the man has failed at everything he has ever undertaken. Why did anyone think the U.S. presidency would be different from all the rest? In the days after 9/11, there was a wee spark of hope that he would somehow grow into his position, that he would finally become a man of whom his father could be rightly proud.

Didn't happen. And the downward trajectory of Bush's reign has been steep and scary and shameful. It has nearly decimated the global community. It has damaged the United States. It has shattered his family. And it's impossible to say how all of this has affected George W. Bush himself. But I think his father's crushing sorrow might be rooted, at least in part, in the certain knowledge that this time, he cannot rescue his boy.

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Anonymous (not verified) | December 6, 2006 - 6:01pm

I think this has more to do with Father George's loss to Clinton for the presidency than anything that happened to Jeb years ago. Can't you see all his neocon friends blaming Clinton for everything and Boy George internalizing all that hate? Losing the presidency must be one of the hardest things to go through but adults like Gore, Kerry and Carter would have handled it with dignity. Of course, I don't know but it had to have affected Boy George profoundly and maybe helped make him the pychopath he is.


NeoLotus (not verified) | December 9, 2006 - 3:24am

Unfortunately, us Mac users are locked out of watching Windows Media Player media. Feh. Thanks a lot CNN.

Just thought you might like to know that. I sure would love to see poppy Bush pretending to be human.


NeoLotus (not verified) | December 9, 2006 - 3:55am

You give Babs too much credit as a human, let alone as a mother. From what I can tell she's stone cold. I think poppy Bush has more humanity than she does, but not by much.

Don't forget, these particular people are all about status and power. The are Machiavellian to the core. Not to mention that Jr., Sr., and grandpappy Bush are all members of Yale's Skull & Bones, as is John Kerry. I have also noticed there are quite few Yalies in this administration. I'm not saying Yale isn't a good school or that everyone who ever went there is part of that frat, they aren't. What I am saying is that birds of a feather flock together even if they aren't exactly "in".