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Insulation in High Places
December 13, 2005 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Bush in the Bubble. Newsweek's analysis of the man who is possibly "the most isolated president in modern history."
posted by digaman (47 comments total)

 
hmmm, it's awfuly MSNBCy around here tonight. Is this a repeater service MAtt installed to make $?

I may concur with the article but two single link newfilters, from the same source even, is a little weak.
posted by edgeways at 8:50 PM on December 13, 2005


'This is why [Bush] dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,' Bartlett went on to say. 'He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'

"Without a Doubt", Ron Suskind
posted by Rothko at 8:54 PM on December 13, 2005


For those that don't read to page five of the linked article.
Lately, however, Bush has been inviting congressmen up to the family residence at the White House to drink sodas and snack on peanuts or cookies. Bush talks, then encourages feedback, good and bad. "He's very engaged," says Rep. Peter King, Republican of New York.
This at least is an encouraging sign.
posted by geekyguy at 9:22 PM on December 13, 2005


I'm not a big fan of the guy, but since he has roughly 294 million more people around than there were in 1776 I'm guessing he isn't the most isolated in history.
posted by ontic at 9:28 PM on December 13, 2005


This isn't an encouraging sign:

Bush was not clueless, says an aide, but pushing his historic mission.

It'll be historic all right.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:28 PM on December 13, 2005


Bush is on no mission from God, he's using God to accomplish his mission
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:32 PM on December 13, 2005


From the article
He has a tight circle of trust

Actually, his record as shown, I'd say his circle is pretty fucked through and loose...

rim job!

er,... shot. rim shot.
posted by Peter H at 9:37 PM on December 13, 2005


but(t) pushing his historic mission.

Another joke!
posted by Peter H at 9:38 PM on December 13, 2005


he's using God to accomplish his mission

So he's clearly in a missionary position.

Okay, I'll stop now. But what material!
posted by Peter H at 9:39 PM on December 13, 2005


This at least is an encouraging sign

Bush putting on an orange jumpsuit and surrendering to the Hague would be an encouraging sign.
posted by trondant at 9:44 PM on December 13, 2005


Lately, however, Bush has been inviting congressmen up to the family residence at the White House to drink sodas and snack on peanuts or cookies. Bush talks, then encourages feedback, good and bad. "He's very engaged," says Rep. Peter King, Republican of New York.

Seriously, you go to visit the President of the United States and all you get is "soda and peanuts"? Fuck that noise.
posted by delmoi at 9:56 PM on December 13, 2005


Lately, however, Bush has been inviting congressmen up to the family residence at the White House to drink sodas and snack on peanuts or cookies.

And then they go to the rec room and play 45s and talk about what girls they like and how they should start a band.
posted by Miko at 9:59 PM on December 13, 2005


Presumably he was more fun when he was still drinking.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 10:02 PM on December 13, 2005


drink sodas and snack on peanuts or cookies

Obviously you don't know the code if you're turning that shit down.
posted by Peter H at 10:02 PM on December 13, 2005


"Soda and peanuts" is just top secret, need-to-know code for "tranny prosties and dirty coke". We're talking the Beltway, remember.
posted by Rothko at 10:02 PM on December 13, 2005


j-j-j-j-inx
posted by Peter H at 10:03 PM on December 13, 2005


Damn.
posted by Rothko at 10:04 PM on December 13, 2005


When peanuts are replaced by pretzels, the terrorists win.
posted by digaman at 10:06 PM on December 13, 2005


In the Bush White House, disagreement is often equated with disloyalty.

This pretty much sums up the Bush presidency. Your with him or against him. Most polarizing president ever. %50 see at as strength of conviction, and %50 see it as stubborn idiocy.

He has long been mothered by strong women, including his mother and wife. A foreign diplomat who declined to be identified was startled when Secretary of State Rice warned him not to lay bad news on the president. "Don't upset him," she said."

[obvious]
posted by stbalbach at 10:07 PM on December 13, 2005


In subtle ways, Bush does not encourage truth-telling or at least a full exploration of all that could go wrong. A former senior member of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad occasionally observed Bush on videoconferences with his top advisers. "The president would ask the generals, 'Do you have what you need to complete the mission?' as opposed to saying, 'Tell me, General, what do you need to win?' which would have opened up a whole new set of conversations," says this official, who did not want to be identified discussing high-level meetings. The official says that the way Bush phrased his questions, as well as his obvious lack of interest in long, detailed discussions, had a chilling effect. "It just prevented the discussion from heading in a direction that would open up a possibility that we need more troops," says the official.
posted by digaman at 10:25 PM on December 13, 2005


It's funny. I never thought much about politics before this presidency (I turned 21 on election day 2000, so I blame youthful indiscretion.) but now when I think about what qualities I'd like to see in a leader and a politician, I seem to admire a willingness to face one's detractors and honestly and openly discuss one's failings publicly. Is that because of this president's refusal to do precisely that? i dunno. but I found this quote in the article to be illuminating, particularly since i've come to have tremendous admiration for lincoln the more I think about him:

Clearly, George W. Bush's role model is not his father, who every week would ride down from the White House to the House of Representatives gymnasium, just to hear what fellows like Murtha were saying. Nor is the model John F. Kennedy, who during the Cuban missile crisis reached out to form an "ExCom" of present and past national-security officials, from both parties, to find some way back from the abyss short of war. Nor is it Franklin Roosevelt, who liked to create competition between advisers to find the best solution. Or Abraham Lincoln who, as historian Doris Kearns Goodwin writes in her new book, "Team of Rivals," appointed his political foes to his cabinet.

You know a guy is willing to look at himself honestly when he surrounds himself with people who won't beat around the bush or tell him what he wants to hear. This president? not so much.
posted by shmegegge at 10:30 PM on December 13, 2005


Rumor had it last month that things were getting pretty bad:
The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions.
Did anyone else ever read Al Franken's 'Why Not Me?', where he gets elected president, sinks into a deep depression and locks himself in his bedroom?
posted by dgaicun at 10:31 PM on December 13, 2005


Bush
posted by I Foody at 10:35 PM on December 13, 2005


Bush is doing an excellent job of modeling ways of being an adult that don't work. He's running the whole country the way an abusive alcoholic father runs a house.
posted by digaman at 10:36 PM on December 13, 2005


"He's very engaged," says Rep. Peter King, Republican of New York.

Rep. Peter King is a major league Bush-hole.
posted by pruner at 11:23 PM on December 13, 2005


I can never quite get over the fact that this is the guy who made my parents enthusiastically desert their lifelong liberalism and join the GOP. It makes me a tiny bit frightened of them, actually.
posted by scody at 12:04 AM on December 14, 2005


ontic: "since he has roughly 294 million more people around than there were in 1776 I'm guessing he isn't the most isolated in history."

The claim is that Bush is "the most isolated president in modern history," not since the beginning of the United States.

In any case, even if the comparison were to all presidents, it's the population of his office and his meeting rooms, not the national population, that makes the difference. A leader of 4 million people could still be much less isolated, much more open and engaged, than a leader of 300 million who nonetheless really communicates with only a handful of yesmen.
posted by pracowity at 12:29 AM on December 14, 2005


Wow scody. Tell me, are their attitudes towards him the same now, or is this the Crazification Factor at work?

In any case, back in the 2000 election I was still searching to cement my rejection of my conservative, hideous Christian private school upbringing, and I have to say that Bush fit the bill quite nicely.
posted by JHarris at 1:22 AM on December 14, 2005


I refuse to be identified for fear of antagonizing the president (he manages to bring the best cowardice out of people).
posted by acrobat at 2:18 AM on December 14, 2005


It's pretty lame to jump in on Bush-bashing threads, but I'll say that as someone outside the US, Bush just doesn't sound like a leader. I don't quite understand how so many people consider him one, and it nags me constantly. Listen to a statesman talk - it doesn't matter who it is, Chirac, Blair, Howard, Sharon, Hu Jintao, Musharraf, Yudhoyono, hell even Castro - and they have something to say. Something that means something. Bush's "speeches" sound like soundbites - advertising soundbites - promoting some ill-defined, unexplained idea without providing any actual information that you want to know.

There's only so many times you can say "we will stay the course" before people want to know what course you're following, and how you intend to achieve that.
posted by Jimbob at 2:37 AM on December 14, 2005


Pracowity: 'The claim is that Bush is "the most isolated president in modern history," not since the beginning of the United States.'

For much of the rest of the world, anything since 1776 is modern history.
posted by Hogshead at 3:56 AM on December 14, 2005


Where's the cover story Metafilter Posters in a Left-Wing, Pacifist Bubble?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:23 AM on December 14, 2005


Right next to the story, 9/11 blast knocks liberal lawyer, ParisParamus, iinto the conservative abyss.
posted by caddis at 4:32 AM on December 14, 2005


PP: That's old news.

Did anyone notice the Newsweek cover that goes with the article? It's awesome!
posted by furtive at 4:37 AM on December 14, 2005


The president may be emerging from his bubble, a bit-- he took unscripted questions in Philadelphia the other day, and submitted to an interview from Brian Williams.

I was interested to see what people had to say at the Philly event, so I read the WH transcript. Someone asked "why you and others in your administration invoke 9/11 as justification for the invasion of Iraq." He explained, in part, "I mean, there was a serious international effort to say to Saddam Hussein, you're a threat. And the 9/11 attacks extenuated that threat, as far as I -- concerned." What do you think the president thinks that "extenuated" means? And has this gotten any coverage anywhere?

Metafilter Posters in a Left-Wing, Pacifist Bubble

Wow, that's... almost... a joke. I'm all for jokes about the echo chamber here, but...
posted by ibmcginty at 4:47 AM on December 14, 2005


At least Bush knows it wasn't the Moops who invaded Spain in the 8th century. Or does he?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:04 AM on December 14, 2005


Where's the cover story Metafilter Posters in a Left-Wing, Pacifist Bubble?

That's some impressive one-handed typing there. Watch out for the keyboard, that's a bitch to clean up.
posted by clevershark at 5:10 AM on December 14, 2005


Fuckin' Moops. We'll get you bastards!
posted by kirkaracha at 6:08 AM on December 14, 2005



posted by Talez at 6:41 AM on December 14, 2005


pp had a point, although he skewed it by using us as a target ... it's obvious to me that this kind of leadership and this lackof consideration of contrary people and facts is spreading ... it's not just bush who's isolating himself ... a lot of corporate heads, politicians, pundits and even ordinary people are removed from the world at large ... the president has the power to actually enforce the idea that no one should confront him with an idea he doesn't like ... others, who actually have to be around such things, are expert at giving people blank looks, nodding sagely, replying with a bunch of feel-good double speak and then doing exactly what they were doing before

it's not just bush's problem ... it's a spreading style of management
posted by pyramid termite at 7:02 AM on December 14, 2005


Maureen Dowd today: W. Won't Read This --... "I'm very aware of what's going on."

He swiftly contradicted himself by admitting that "this is the first time I'm seeing this magazine" - his version of his dad's Newsweek "Wimp Factor" cover - and that he doesn't read newsmagazines. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:37 AM on December 14, 2005


Apparently Bush just made a speech in which he took responsibility for the decision to go to war based on flawed intelligence.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:33 AM on December 14, 2005


Bush has been inviting congressmen up to the family residence at the White House to drink sodas and snack on peanuts or cookies.

I'm with the rest of the world in thinking that soda is a very childish drink. Adults drink coffee, tea, and alcohol. And also peanuts? Whoo-hoo knock me out with your hospitality, big boy. Can you imagine the President of France offering his guests peanuts and soda?

As a side note, there was an article in The Washington Post (not on-line, sorry) about The Great Wing-Ding Coup--a revolt against the chicken wings (and other foods) served on State Department planes. One of my favorite quotes from the article was about another item of food:

"The burrito, it almost took me down."

Air Force Two also hosted the infamous "all-pork tour of Asia" with a Muslim and an observant Jew on board. On one leg, pork was featured in all three meals --including both bacon and sausage for breakfast.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:34 AM on December 14, 2005


Metafilter Posters in a Left-Wing, Pacifist Bubble

Oh my God -- Paris Paramus is right. Unfortunately, my friends serving in Iraq now agree with my dim, deluded view of the war, the White House, and the future of Iraq, which they predict will devolve into civil war. Oh no, I just realized: I must have convinced them of these pinko illusions with my emails! Paris Paramus, I should have listened to you and our commander-in-chief all along. Then I'd see that if we stay the course, the path to Total Victory is clear. In the meantime, I'd better get a divorce from my gay husband. I've been destroying marriage, just by making him coffee in the morning!

Whew. It really has been all a bad dream, and I was the one who was dreaming. Where's that Diebold voting machine? I want to vote GOP twice before I fall asleep again.
posted by digaman at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2005


Speaking of Diebold...
posted by caddis at 8:54 AM on December 14, 2005


I'm with the rest of the world in thinking that soda is a very childish drink. Adults drink coffee, tea, and alcohol.

I drink soda, though I prefer juice. Though in the Navy, I just could never get the hang of coffee (which puts me in a 1% minority I think), and alcohol isn't always appropriate as an offering. I do like tea, but it's been awhile since I've had a decent cup.

Although there are many things to attack about the president, I don't think the choice to offer soda is one of them. Just say'n.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:11 AM on December 14, 2005


He wouldn't tell Brian Williams what he was getting Laura for Xmas.

That, friends, is hard-hitting journalism.
posted by bardic at 11:41 AM on December 14, 2005


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