"Bush the Victim"

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A recent recasting of President George W. Bush as "Bush the Victim" is a totally new media creation, particularly when contrasted against the finger-pointing and blame game which has surrounded this presidency practically from "day one".

This is a new role for Bush: Beginning with his first presidential campaign and throughout the course of his presidency, we have had Bush the "Compassionate Conservative" and Bush the "Culture War" president.

We have Bush the "War President" -- who says he has been to war. This is the George W. Bush who is credited with the Bush doctrine of preemptive war and regime change and who is willing to fight the terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here at home.

Then we have the George W. Bush who lives in Georgeland, which is "like America, but nicer," and who has a tendency for long and frequent vacations.

And it is George W. Bush, leader of the Bush theocracy, who not only has conversations with God, not an unusual claim at all, but who also "believes that God is dictating American foreign policy."


The "excuse presidency"

"His is the excuse presidency: never wrong, never responsible, never to blame, ... President Bush’s desk isn’t where the buck stops — it’s where the blame begins. He’s blamed just about everyone but himself and his administration for America’s economic problems, ... And if he’s missed you, don’t worry: He’s still got 48 days left until the election," Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry said of Bush while on the campaign trail in September 2004.

And now we have "Bush the Victim" ...

In an October 9, 2005, article, JD of the blogspot Pre$$titudes (the blog's name for media apologists) wrote that the blog had been following "an evolving narrative being used by Pre$$titutes to frame Bush's collapsing presidency."

JD commented that Bush "presumably didn't create the mess he's in, it's just stuff coming at him."

  • Second, on October 9, 2005, Time magazine's Mike Allen (previously of the Washington Post, appeared on CNN's Situation Room and provided an analysis of Bush's "demeanor during this morning's press conference. Key quote: 'Events have conspired against him.'"
  • Next, David S. Broder cited in the October 9, 2005, Washington Post article "Bush's Fraying Presidency" three "front-page stories on a single day last week [which] testified to the unraveling of the Bush presidency."
  • "A second story on the same page recounted that 'the conservative uprising against President Bush escalated yesterday as Republican activists angry over his nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court confronted the president's envoys during a pair of tense closed-door meetings.' ... Participants described it as the biggest split with the GOP base in his five years in office."
  • And "elsewhere on the page was the news that the Central Intelligence Agency's director had rejected a recommendation from its inspector general that he convene a formal 'accountability board' to judge the possible culpability of senior officials in the failures that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks," triggering "a statement of concern from the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee and criticism from families of Sept. 11 victims."

JD commented that Broder's "entire piece implies that Bush is a noble victim, dragged down by circumstances outside his direct control, a political 'innovator' whose political vision is being stifled by 'infighting.'"

Further, remarking on Broder's Sunday, October 9, 2005, appearance on Meet the Press, JD wrote that Broder "embellishe[d] his Bush the Victim narrative ..., attributing the problems we're facing not to the reckless decision-making of the past five years, but to an innocuous 'second-term unraveling.' Like a good Pre$$titute," JD wrote, "Broder is pathologically incapable of pinning today's problems directly on Bush."

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2001

  • "Pete Hamill on the Bush Presidency," Letras Libres, January 2001: "Bush will then be tempted to do what most American presidents do when they can’t make anything happen at home. He will look beyond the borders of the United States. That is, he will try to find some small nation to beat up, wrap the assault in flowery idealistic language, and thus try to look presidential. ... But he knows where Iraq is, and is completely aware of what his father failed to do in that country: remove Saddam Hussein. A son in rivalry with a father can be a very dangerous man. To show 'leadership', the new President Bush might defy the European allies of the United States, and risk another oil crisis, by seizing on some slight -– real or imagined -– to finish off Saddam Hussein. He would thus force his father to admire him and get a boost in the public opinion polls."

2002

2003

2004

2005