Thursday, June 15, 2006

Expecting Decorum of Bush = Derangement

I'm not sure what to say in response to John Cole, a blogger with whom I've exchanged many friendly emails and to whom I've spoken on the phone about a variety of issues. I always considered Cole one of the more respectful and judicious bloggers on the right. But something I wrote seems to have sent him over the top:
"[I]t does appear that some people (in this case, Daou), are deranged when it comes to the President. They may have a whole host of reasons to be angry at Bush (I sure do), but it doesn’t make them sound any less nuts when they write things like this.

So let’s clear some things up- Bush didn’t taunt a blind man. He playfully teased a reporter in a press conference about wearing sunglasses. Bush did not know (nor did Peter Daou, I wager), that Wallsten is legally blind."

What's odd is that the opening line of my post says this:
"Let me first say that Bush may not have known he was talking to a legally blind reporter when he engaged in this exchange..."
The post goes on to discuss something that I think is important to note about Bush's conduct as president, namely, his eagerness to clown around with reporters at the most serious occasions:
"Bush's clownish banter with reporters - which is on constant display during press conferences - stands in such stark contrast to his administration's destructive policies and to the gravity of the bloodbath in Iraq that it is deeply unsettling to watch. This may be impolitic, but wouldn't refraining from frat-style horseplay be appropriate for this man?"
I stand by that statement, and I challenge Cole to explain why it is appropriate for Bush to behave that way every single time he appears before the press.

As far as BDS, here are my thoughts on it:
"What exactly is Bush Derangement Syndrome? Is it the bitter feeling ordinary Americans feel when they see an administration trampling on civil liberties in the name of protecting them from an enemy it failed to defend against the first time around? (An enemy who must have watched in glee as an American city drowned while the federal government chased its tail.) Is it the outrage at a "leader" who has presided over the collapse of America's reputation? Is it fury at a White House that dishonors our military by launching a war based on blatant deceptions? Is it the resistance to the breakdown of the rule of law? Is it the refusal to wade into the ethical swamp of human rights violations in the name of fighting terror? Is it disgust and disbelief at reporters who act as administration stenographers? Most importantly, is Bush Derangement Syndrome a worldwide epidemic? After all, Bush is viewed unfavorably by a majority of the American public, and by a vast majority of the world's inhabitants.

Perhaps Bush Derangement Syndrome is what afflicts rightwing bloggers, eager as they are to defend policies so clearly antithetical to genuine conservatism that it would be grimly amusing if the stakes weren't so high. Members of this administration - hiding behind a tattered veil of self-ascribed nobility - are doing what so many other people in positions of power do: they are abusing that power. And rightwingers who should know better that to enable it do so out of sheer hatred for liberals, a hatred stoked by the Limbaughs and Coulters and Hannitys of this world and exacerbated by lily-livered mainstream reporters who willingly weave rightwing storylines. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders would rather focus-group cheap slogans than grab the bull by the horns and lead America out of this mess."


Blogger Rochelle said...

Far from you being the deranged one, John has no idea that he is caught up in what Paul Levy (author of the book, The Madness of George Bush) calls the nation's collective psychosis.

He defines it this way:

George W. Bush is ill. He has a psycho-spiritual dis-ease of the soul, a sickness that is endemic to our culture and symptomatic of the times we live in. It’s an illness that has been with us since time immemorial. Because it’s an illness that's in the soul of all of humanity, it pervades the field and is in all of us in potential at any moment, which makes it especially hard to diagnose. Bush's malady is quite different from schizophrenia, for example, in which all the different parts of the personality are fragmented and not connected to each other, resulting in a state of internal chaos. As compared to the dis-order of the schizophrenic, Bush can sound quite coherent and can appear like such a "regular," normal guy, which makes the syndrome he is suffering from very hard to recognize. This is because the healthy parts of his personality have been co-opted by the pathological aspect, which drafts them into its service. Because of the way the personality self-organizes an outer display of coherence around a pathogenic core, I would like to name Bush's illness "malignant egophrenic (as compared to schizophrenic) disorder," or "ME disorder," for short. If ME disorder goes unrecognized and is not contained, it can be very destructive, particularly if the person is in a position of power.

In much the same way that a child's psychology cannot be understood without looking at the family system he or she is a part of, George Bush does not exist in isolation. We can view Bush and his entire Administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, etc), as well as the corporate, military industrial complex that they are co-dependently enmeshed with, the media that they control, the voters that support them, and ourselves as well, as interconnected parts of a whole system, or a "field." Instead of relating to any part of this field as an isolated entity, it’s important to contemplate the entire interdependent field as the "medium" though which malignant egophrenia manifests and propagates itself. ME disease is a field phenomenon, and needs to be contemplated as such. Bush's sickness is our own.

Bush, like all of us, is both a manifestation of this deeper field and simultaneously an agent affecting this field. He’s become so fully taken over by the disease, all the while not suspecting a thing, that he’s become a ‘carrier’ for this deadly disease, thus infecting the field around him. He’s become a portal through which the field around him ‘warps’ in such a way as to feed and support his pathogenic process. A non-local, reciprocally co-arising and interdependent field of unconscious denial and cover-up gets constellated around Bush to enable and protect his pathology. People who support Bush are actually complicit with and enabling Bush’s madness in a co-dependent, self-reinforcing feedback loop that is ‘closed,’ which is to say it is insular and not open to any feedback from the ‘real’ world.

People who don't recognize Bush's illness and support him are unconsciously colluding with and enabling in the co-creation of the pathological field that is incarnating itself into the human family. People who support Bush become unwitting agents through which this non-local disease feeds and replicates itself. By supporting Bush they are collaborating with and becoming parts of the greater, interconnected and self-organizing field of the disease.

The situation is very analogous to when seemingly good, normal, loving Germans supported Hitler, believing he was a good leader trying to help them. The German people didn't realize that the virulent pathogen malignant egophrenia had taken possession of Hitler and was incarnating itself through him. By not seeing this and supporting Hitler, they became agents used by this non-local, deadly disease to propagate itself. This was a collective psychosis, and this is what is taking place in our country right now.

You can learn more and see more of his writings at a DailyKos diary of mine at:

6/15/2006 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not deranged, you are simply oversensitive and prone to attack others without having all the facts.

Re: Bush and the reporter

" Wallsten said Bush called his cell phone later in the day to apologize and tell him that he didn't know he had the disease. Wallsten said he interrupted and told the president that no apology was necessary and that he didn't feel offended since he hadn't told anyone at the White House about his condition.

"He said, `I needle you guys out of affection,'" Wallsten said. "I said, 'I understand that, but I don't want you to treat me any differently because of this.'"

Wallsten said the president said he would not treat him differently, so Wallsten encouraged him to "needle away."

"He said, `I will. Next time I'll just use a different needle,'" Wallsten said.

Wallsten said he thought that was a pretty good line."


6/15/2006 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rochelle said...

Is it correct that Paul Levy is a "spiritual advisor" and activist, and has no credentials as a physician?

I ask you that because it seems unusual for someone to purport medical knowledge and ability to assess others in this fashion.

It also seems unusual that others would quote this nonsense in lieu of expressing their own opinion.

6/15/2006 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to love Jone Coles thin skinned pompusness coupled with his myopic inability to accept valid criticism:

John Cole Says:
I may very well have pulled on my expertise (and thrown out some comm theory) once in the past to make a point, but I have NEVER used my position as if it alone proves my argument. I think you are making things up here.

John Cole Says:
PPGAZ- I teach a course in propaganda, and I think I understand what propaganda is and is not. Stating it is ‘unethical’ to use propaganda indicates to me that they have no clue what propaganda is.

6/15/2006 4:40 PM  
Blogger Rochelle said...

The beliefs that he has are not medical, they are more psychological in nature. Psychologists do make medical diagnoses, utilizing the DSM-IV from the American Psychiatric Association.

6/15/2006 5:31 PM  
Anonymous sarabeth said...

As to why it’s appropriate, God knows. (And he may or may not have shared that with Bush. Or John Cole, for that matter.)

But why does Bush do it? I’m convinced he thinks he’s displaying what he regards as the biggest asset he brings to his job—people skills.

6/15/2006 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Gideon S. said...

As always, RT, you -- like so many other right-wing extremists -- are mistaken.

Cole is the one who is oversensitive; he was the one who decided to attack Daou's sanity for having the "audacity" to point out that your president doesn't exactly behave with the decorum that comes with the office that was stolen for him.

And speaking of someone who doesn't have all the facts, have you come up with a fact-based argument to support Ann Coulter's attack from last week? We're all still waiting.

Further, do you have any answers regarding my question from this thread, yet?

I can only perceive your constant ducking of these arguements as a tacit admission that you simply can't defend your ideology logically, as an adult.

6/15/2006 6:02 PM  
Blogger eRobin said...

I just wrote about this very briefly. I took issue with Wallsten and the rest of the press corps. It's not a frat atmosphere (fratmosphere), it's a frat rush party vibe. The press corps are so eager for his approval (god knows why) that they'll put up with anything. It's crazy.

6/15/2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it the family values marketing? Fond memories of a republican grandpa? Peer pressure where it's cool to kick around the "creme brule effete"? Those cool swooshing graphics on Fox News?


6/15/2006 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rochelle says:

"The beliefs that he has are not medical, they are more psychological in nature. Psychologists do make medical diagnoses, utilizing the DSM-IV from the American Psychiatric Association."

What are his credentials? Surely he has some. See below:

Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology from an organized, sequential program in a regionally accredited university or professional school. -APA

6/15/2006 9:04 PM  
Blogger Rochelle said...

Masters level persons do also provide diagnoses, their being supervised by doctoral level professionals.

But, honestly that is not the point here. This author has created his own type of diagnosis based on his spiritual beliefs and premises from Adlerian psychology. And, I believe it does have merit. I am fascinated by his take on why so many have fell for the madness professed by the minion of neoconservatives who have taken us into a unwarranted war.

You have to sample his writings for yourself. Remember, this is opinion. Professionals do not like making long-distance diagnoses, even though IMO, Bush is classic for evidencing a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

6/15/2006 9:13 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

Peter, the guy simply was not honest about what you had said.

Remember when the idea of honest rational discussion meant something?

The only thing surprising is your treating this as an amazing isolated incident instead of putting it in the context of how it constantly happens, which I'm sure you agree is the case.

Rochelle, this idea of Bush as 'ill' and the nation as having many, many people participating I think is worth consideration, but it needs some refinement. I think there is definitely truth to it in some way.

And it's not as if Bush is leading it - I think he's one small symptom.

Maybe it comes in part from a people being exposed for decades to the stimulus of being 'threatened' to get their reaction of authoratarian support, and at some point even when they are by far the safest people in the world, they still are not satisfied, and begin to want safety in degrees they deny to anyone else, and they rationalize the oppression and even torture of other innocent people in the name of defense, blind to their injustice.

6/16/2006 3:52 AM  

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