Monday, October 24, 2005

Our Narcissistic Administration

Having Bush as President is like having a boyfriend you’ve grown tired of, but – for whatever reason - can’t quite break up with yet. So, until you find someone better, (or until you can elect his replacement) you start arm-chair analyzing him. Why is he so dysfunctional? Why is he so stubborn? A liar? A phony?

So I went on the Internet and found a great site that explained personality disorders - Link.
And it’s my hypothesis that Bush and most of his arrogant administration, (Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz - even Rice) is simply a bunch of Narcissists. Now, you’re probably thinking “Narcissists? Hey, that’s not so bad. At least they’re all not paranoid schizophrenics.” But, Narcissists can be very harmful, especially when they are in control…

So sit back, relax and read through the following list of narcissistic traits and see if Bush and his gang don’t manifest most if not all of them…I'd be curious to see if you can think up any other examples to go along with what I've found...

1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements.
Bush was an average student at Yale. In the private sector, he mismanaged companies until they crashed and burned. He went awol at the National Guard. Doesn’t like to follow current events and wants loyal aids to spoon feed him information. Yes, he was Governor of the big state of Texas, but the Lt. Governor there is the one who actually does all the work. And after all that, Bush ran for President as a can-do CEO. Based on what, exactly? A C average in business school?
At high school in Utah, Karl Rove was known as a nerd and a motor-mouth, unpopular but irrepressibly opinionated. While his peers were fixated on girls he became obsessed with school politics, campaigning for student positions in a precocious jacket and tie. Although his parents were apolitical, he was a vocal Nixon supporter from the age of nine. Like Dick Cheney, he avoided the Vietnam draft with a college deferment, but gave up his education to work on Republican campaigns, and never got a degree.

Narcissists must be seen as superior or otherwise, they feel worthless. And they will do anything to protect they’re superiority. They are (a) extremely sensitive to personal criticism and (b) extremely critical of other people. Narcissists will say ANYTHING, they will trash anyone in their own self-justification. The malicious outing of Valerie Plame and co-ordinated attacks on Joe Wilson are great examples. So are the attacks on Paul O’Neil, General Shinsecki, Richard Clark, and John Kerry.

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
Gee, why do you think Bush ran for President in the first place? Or why Karl Rove put him there? Bush still believes in his tax breaks for the rich, that Saddam Hussein was involved in 911, the war in Iraq, his lame-ass campaign against Social Security and his own brilliance. Think about his goading the Terrorists with his ill-conceived comment “Bring it on”.

And he’s often commented on how he’d like to be a dictator:
"You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier." Describing what it's like to be governor of Texas. Governing Magazine 7/98

"I told all four that there are going to be some times where we don't agree with each other, but that's OK. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator," From Paul Begala’s book Is Our Children Learning?

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it," Business Week, July 30, 2001

Remember Bush in his flight suit landing on that aircraft carrier outside of San Diego with that Big Banner – Mission Accomplished? Narcissists love settings like that where they can parade their fantasy in front of an adoring audience. (Someone actually created a flight-suited action figure of him from that incident. I wonder what landfill that ended up in?)

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

As we now know, Palestinian Leaders allege that Bush told them God speaks to him and tells him which countries to invade and bomb. Religious Narcissists believe that they are God's special favorites somehow; God loves them, so they are exempted from ordinary rules and obligations: God loves them and wants them to be the way they are, so they can do anything they feel like -- though, note, the narcissist's God has much harsher rules for everyone else, including you. Did you see him pretend to comfort the common folk in New Orleans? It was scary. Did you see him try to hold a hammer at the Habitat for Humanity photo op? No matter how much he likes to pretend he’s just a regular guy, Bush is an elitist and his homies are the very wealthy and Big Business.

4. Requires excessive admiration
Translation: Narcissists want lots of praise, brown-nosing deference and they want to be told that everything they do is better than what others can do. This is why he surrounds himself with ass-kissers, cronies and sycophants. That certainly explains Harriett Miers! Why Bush is the most brilliant person she's ever met!!! (Obviously Harriet needs to get out more.) He holds these phony town hall meetings where people have to sign an oath of allegiance before they can attend. That’s intense and quite nuts.

5. Has a sense of entitlement

All hail the privileged son of George and Barbara Bush. Narcissists expect automatic compliance with their wishes or especially favorable treatment, such as thinking that they should always be able to go first and that other people should stop whatever they're doing to do what the narcissists want, and may react with hurt or rage when these expectations are frustrated. White House Aids practically soiled themselves when they had to tell him the terrible news about Hurricane Kristina. Bush once said loyalty is more important to him than experience. No wonder.

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends.
Think about all the millions of people he’s duped with the Clean Skies Initiative. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Think about the horrors the Iraqi people face everyday. The toll the war has taken on our National Guard and our military. The uncertainty the American people face with our economy.

7. Lacks empathy
Translation: They are unwilling to recognize or sympathize with other people's feelings and needs. They "tune out" when other people want to talk about their own problems.
When no weapons of mass destruction turned up in Iraq, Bush tried to make a joke out of it and actually pretended to look under furniture.
According to Cindy Sheehan, when Bush came in to console her family about her son’s death in Iraq, Bush acted like it was a social event. He didn’t refer to their son by name, just the term “loved one”. When they tried to talk about their son, Bush changed the subject.
When Bush finally cut his vacation short and landed in the New Orleans disaster area, he talked about how when he was younger he used to party there. Then he complimented Brownie for doing a heck of a job.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him

I think Bush has always been jealous of his father. Unlike Bush Jr., his dad actually accomplished things in his life. George H. Walker Bush was a real fighter pilot. Head of the CIA. Vice President and then President. He had the intelligence not to invade Baghdad. Bush Jr. seems intent on trying to do everything better than his father. Another Narcissistic fantasy that doesn’t seem to be playing out.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes
Translation: They treat other people like dirt. Watch Bush during his press conferences. When he’s sarcastic with someone. When he’s on the defensive. Lately he’s playing up the liberal media angle a lot. And don’t forget his macho swagger.

So, what does this all mean? I had too much time on my hands this afternoon? Maybe. But at least in my mind, Narcissism helps explain both the swagger, the intolerance, and the fear I now see in his eyes when the world isn’t a reflection of his narcissistic fantasy.


Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

An excellent observation, Boni. Another facet of his personality, as has been discussed both here and elsewhere, is his alcoholism.

He has boasted that the day after he turned 40, he quit drinking, with no help from anyone or any organization.

Good for him, except that by denying himself the treatment for alcoholism, he still acts and reacts to situations like an alcoholic.

He is, at the very least, a 'dry drunk.'

Great choice for president we have here.


7:26 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...


8:23 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger boni said...

Hey BP,
I couldn't agree with you more about Bush being a dry drunk.
I once dated an alcoholic and one of the things that struck me was his nervous energy. When he wasn't drinking he was running. We'd be out on a date, going to a movie, and we would run to the theatre. Literally. Now I see Bush riding his bike two hours a day come rain or shine and I see a man who desperately wants to drink...

10:46 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

Boni -

Brilliant! I had already put together a pretty good picture of the personality of the man and of the administration, but I hadn't realized these traits were already catalogued under "disorder."

I wonder, too, if there isn't a hint of paranoia. If you're not with us, you're against us. If you don't agree enthusiastically with everything we're doing, you're bounced out of the administration.

posted by: cayugaman

7:11 AM, October 25, 2005  
Blogger boni said...

Hey Cayugaman,
Thanks so much for commenting. Like you, I too noticed all of Bush's quirks and malfunctions and there is something satisfying about connecting it to a distinct pattern of behavior - even if it is anti-social. I think you're right on about the paranoia.
And it's a thread that runs through his entire administration, don't you think? I mean, look at Cheney chasing after any news of Joe Wilson. And interestingly enough paranoia is a symptom of narcissism.
Because all narcissists are insecure, afraid someone is going to discover they're not omnipotent. Cause if they're not seen as superior - they feel worthless. Man, talk about self-loathing. So that's probably why Bush surrounds himself with such rabid loyalists, even if they're completely incompetent. That's why no one in his inner circle seems to ever question his judgement. That's why they always attack the whistleblowers. And, that's why we're so screwed for the next three years.

10:15 AM, October 25, 2005  

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