I am not a parent but if I were, I would be terrified of what my kids would be thinking right now about the ways in which President Bush is closing up shop on his presidency. I would be fearful of all the lessons soaked up by what we know of how this man was treated by his own parents and the consequences of their truly awful parenting on this man who grew up to become president.
Let’s begin with his worst trait and the apparent lesson. He has no need to take any responsibility for any action he takes because someone has always bailed him out of every mess he has ever made. As we all know, he has made some startlingly bad messes, though nothing quite as awful as what he is going to leave behind him when he does, we all hope and pray, leave Washington in January 2009. What if his parents had made him keep following through on his obligations to the businesses he got involved in and then couldn’t keep solvent by making him stay the course and find a way say to make the Texas Rangers into a winning ball club? What might he have learned from that lesson that he could apply at this very moment to Iraq or Afghanistan? I dare say that Afghanistan is closer to his dealings with the Texas Rangers as he lost interest pretty quickly and couldn’t seem to remember why he bought the club in the first place. But what if his father hadn’t bailed him out and he had had to stay and keep the team alive?
Then there is Iraq. And his promise now to leave this mess for the next president is just another instance of a boy who was never taught to clean up his room or put away his toys when he finished playing with them let alone keep an oil company running even in a situation where the oil wells are running dry. I mean, this is one of those classic examples of what can happen to a kid with no follow through. It is the case of a kid who likes to get dressed up to go to the party so long as it is in his honor.
And his unilateralism? Now isn’t that a clear case of a kid who cannot play well with others? With all of Bush’s smiling jokes and playfulness with peoples’ names, just who are his friends and where are they when he is just off on his own for the weekend? They seem to be invisible. The Secret Service rides with him on his mountain bike and his father seems to never tire of playing golf with him but other than that, just who does this man have any fun with? Could it be that when as a child he could not get along with others is thus doomed to spend his adult life living like a unilateral go it alone type who can never form truly close attachments?
The final and perhaps saddest part of the whole George Bush case is that he seems to have to pay people to spend time with him. Not that he is a very open person who can just stand in line at a McDonalds and talk to complete strangers but he has a tendency to acquire the friendships of people who just want to be bought. Maybe it would have helped George to go to schools that were not so exclusive. Had he been with kids a little more like him, with not so much going on inside and without any kind of real desire to do anything in life, he might have done better as a president.
But we shall never know shall we? We can only learn from the mistakes his parents made and never do anything like this again.