alien & sedition.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  Look on this man, this Dubya...

Brad at Sadly, No points us to David Ignatius's nauseating attempt to paint President Bush as some kind of tragic figure, straining heroically against the burden of history.

Sample quotes:
The stress of the job — so well hidden for much of the past six years — has begun to show on Bush’s face. He often looks burdened, distracted, haunted by a question that has no good answer....

Bush is not a man for introspection. That’s part of his flinty personality — the tight, clipped answers and the forced jocularity of the nicknames he gives to reporters and White House aides. That’s why this version of reality TV is so poignant: This very private man has begun to talk out loud about the emotional turmoil inside. He is letting it bleed....

Bush says he doesn’t care what happens now to his poll numbers, and I believe him. He broke through the political barriers a while ago. I sense that, as he anguishes about Iraq, he has in mind the judgment of future historians....

What makes reality TV gripping is that it’s all happening live — the contestants make their choices under pressure, win or lose.

This is Beltway douchebaggery of the highest order. I never cease to be amazed at how Washington pundits have projected onto this President - for whom mediocrity would be an improvement - so many grand and heroic narratives. There's a real need to see Bush as a towering figure, and only over the past year or so has the commentary class finally begun to give up on this affinity.

The answer, of course, is that the pundits themselves are trapped in, and probably demoralized by, their own thorough mediocrity. They are superfluous creatures of a shallow ecology, and their role in American politics is to cycle between syncophancy and a fashionable, substance-less contrarianism, all while congratulating each other on their relevance to imperial American democracy. It must be a depressing existence. So you can see why they would be desperate, now and then, to hitch themselves to some historical star, to believe that their place in the universe involves an intellectual connection to truly epoch-changing people and events. And so they'll build a mythology around the most cretinous of political stalking horses and indulge themselves in the fantasy that they really are the consiglieri to history.

Having embarassed himself with this myth-making in the days before every sentient being could see what a disaster the Iraq war was, Ignatius has passed through a brief phase of confused reflection, only to emerge stronger on the other side: he may no longer be riding along with the President's men, but, thank the gods, Ignatius can record for us commoners the great Tragedy of Bush. No, this isn't just the ugly result of cheap politics, stupid decisions, and a government run by hacks and thieves. It's not just some idiotic idea carried along on the acclaim of pundits playing make-believe.

It's epic, man.


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