Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

Bush's Way or the Highway

By       Message Robert Parry       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) , Add Tags  (less...)
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Author 1553
Become a Fan
  (85 fans)
- Advertisement -
George W. Bush's Sept. 15 outburst threatening to stop interrogating terror suspects if Congress doesn't let him revise the Geneva Conventions to permit coercive techniques is part of a pattern of petulance that dates back to even before the 9/11 attacks but has resurfaced as Bush faces new challenges to his authority.

In summer 2001, less than six months into his presidency while confronting congressional obstacles to his domestic program, Bush told followers that he was ready to "go back to Crawford" if he didn't get his way on legislation.

That threat came after Sen. Jim Jeffords, a Vermont Republican, joined with the Democrats to give them narrow control of the Senate in mid-2001. Bush also was facing defeat on a patients' bill of rights.

In a meeting with congressional allies, "Bush appeared to draw a line in the sand when he indicated he always could return to Crawford, Texas, if the liberal health juggernaut grinds him down," wrote right-wing columnist Robert D. Novak. [Washington Post, July 5, 2001]

- Advertisement -
Besides the patients' bill of rights, Bush found himself battling congressional momentum in favor of new campaign-finance restrictions.

In the context of Bush fighting those two popular bills, Los Angeles Times political writer Ronald Brownstein also picked up word of Bush issuing a "back to Crawford" threat, this one recounted by a GOP lobbyist close to the administration.

Bush "continues to send a signal that, 'I'm going to do what I want to do, and if nobody likes it, I'm going to go back to Crawford'," Brownstein wrote, quoting the lobbyist. [Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2001]

- Advertisement -
Back then, Republicans framed Bush's "back to Crawford" threats as a sign of his principled leadership as well as a new self-confidence in asserting his authority.

"Gone is the tentativeness of 20 months ago, of the lost man of the early Republican debates," wrote Ronald Reagan's speechwriter Peggy Noonan in an article for the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. "In its place seems an even-keeled confidence, even a robust faith in his own perceptions and judgments." [WSJ, June 25, 2001]

However, Bush's critics saw something else: a troubling self-centeredness more befitting an autocrat than a leader of a democratic Republic. To them, Bush was a callow, ill-prepared politician who seemed oblivious to the fact that he had risen to his exalted status because of family connections and tough political tactics, not through hard work and talent.

The critics noted that Bush's sense of entitlement sometimes would spill out in his humor, when he'd put down people in his presence or he'd joked about his preference for autocracy. "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator," he quipped on Dec. 18, 2000.

Though Bush never did quit his job, he did seek comfort back at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he retreated for a month-long vacation in August 2001.

The course of Bush's presidency changed dramatically on Sept. 11, 2001, however, when al-Qaeda terrorists attacked targets in New York and Washington. The 9/11 attacks gave Bush a new mantle as "war president" and he exploited that opening to assert "plenary" or unlimited powers as Commander in Chief.

- Advertisement -
With Republicans reclaiming the Senate in 2002 and the federal courts initially giving Bush wide latitude Bush got pretty much whatever he wanted and his petulance was subsumed by his new presidential swagger.

Mystical Leader

Now, five years later, Bush's supporters see an almost mystical leader who exudes manly powers and possesses a farsighted vision for saving the world. In one of those paeans to Bush, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote on Sept. 14, 2006:

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter

What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?

Ron Paul's Appalling World View

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

The Disappearance of Keith Olbermann

A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court