Is Bush starting to lose it?

Maybe or maybe not. But the press is certainly over its hagiographic phase, and that’s news.

Dana Milbank has a funny, nasty piece interpreting GWB’s body language during a recent TV interview. I’m not sure how seriously to take the substance, but it’s notable how much less reverential press coverage of Bush has become since his poll numbers fell into the 40% range. Or perhaps, with Karl Rove likely on his way out the door, reporters are less afraid of getting this sort of treatment if they fail to kowtow.

Update The video is here. I’ve never scored very high on visual literacy, so maybe Milbank is accurately seeing something that I don’t, but if I’d watched that video without Milbank’s liner notes I would have said that GWB’s performance was well above his average, and that he wasn’t betraying any special amount of stress. Two oddities struck me though: his head is consistently tilted about 10 degrees to the left, and there’s a prominent bulge to the left of his mouth, as if a muscle there were permanently clenched. As somone without a television set, I’d be interested in hearing how long those peculiarities have been characteristic of Bush.

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: