Dubya’s filial piety

… consists in f*cking up so completely that his father looks good by comparison. Very thoughtful. But enough is enough

Having had the occasion once or twice to criticize the Beloved Leader’s manifold moral failings, I feel I owe it to my readers, and to the reality principle, to speak up when he is unfairly attacked. It has been repeatedly said that the Shrub has been disrespectful to the elder Bush. And maybe that’s true, on the surface.

But think more deeply. If there’s one thing GWB’s Presidency has done, it’s making his old man’s Presidency look good.

That sort of self-sacrificing and unspectacular gift from a son to his father merits the highest praise.

But it’s important for anyone, and especially a President, to practice moderation in all things. So can we all agree now that Junior has bungled as much as he needed to bungle in order to burnish his father’s reputation? Maybe if he wants to do something more for his aged parent, he ought to consider giving him a nice, comfortable pair of slippers.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

9 thoughts on “Dubya’s filial piety”

  1. That's damning with faint praise.
    Al Sharpton has a sharper quip:
    The George W. Bush administration permanantly lays to rest
    the myth of white supremacy.

  2. For reals. I look back on GHWB fondly.
    You know what's funny? One of the things I remember best about GHWB is when he was losing his last vestiges of popularity he kept talking about 'staying the course', and how it seemed kind of sad. GWB came into office full of piss and vinegar, determined to show his old man once and for all. Now he's saying it too.

  3. Even Doonesbury has apologized to Poppy.
    But there is something even graver; he is making me reevaluate Nixon.
    Can I ever express what this does to my sense of myself? I am the child of Nixon haters. I am the mother of one Nixon hater. We intended to train the younger child JUST IN CASE.
    Recently I have been thinking, Nixon was not stupid, not
    insensitive, really not so bad after all.
    Father in Heaven (mine not the big one) forgive me.

  4. I read a piece on Slate.com recently about this very phenomenon — perhaps it was cautioning against too much retrospective praise for Bush 41. Can't find it now — but I did find a similarly-themed piece from July 1999!
    http://www.slate.com/id/31470/

  5. "Maybe if he wants to do something more for his aged parent, he ought to consider giving him a nice, comfortable pair of slippers."
    Would you settle for a Nemitz class nuclear air-craft carrier?

  6. GWHB might deserve a bit more respect in my eyes if he hadn't been out there campaigning for his son from the start. He's seen this kid's entire life path, he should have know what was going to happen. You can be a fine father without telling your idiot son and the world that he has everything it takes to be a president.
    The bottom line is that the father is every bit as culpable as the son in this disaster.

  7. I don't think he's made his father's regime look good. In many ways his administration has been a reductio of his father's. He's done what his father did, but taken it several steps further. Including getting reelected!

  8. Did y'all hear Poppy's response to Hugo Chavez's calling his boy the devil?
    Something like: "Well, I'm tempted to say … he's an ass."
    Notable in that there's absolutely no certainty what the antecedent to "he" is.

  9. Andrea,
    Wash your mouth out with soap!
    The fact that Dubya is in the running for Worst President in the History of the United States doesn't make another candidate (Nixon) for that dishonor look good in an absolute sense.
    The fact that Nixon might be better than Dubya (and I agree, he probably was) doesn't make Nixon a good president.

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