Sunday, February 27, 2005

George W. Bush or "Cheney Rovesfeld"

A friend and I got into a little e-mail disagreement this weekend over how to refer to the Bush administration vs. George W. Bush personally. His suggestion was that we refer to "Bush" only when we meant the individual human who holds the office of President of the United States. For the more generic "Bush did this" sort of comment, he urged me to use the term "Cheney Rovesfeld."
I disagreed, arguing that George W. Bush needs to be held personally accountable for the acts of his administration (the topic at hand was the notice to the U.N. that the U.S. would not automatically reaffirm the 1995 statement on human rights for women (see yesterday's posts).
My friend countered that while Bush had been able to convince an unfortunately large number of people that he is a "regular guy," his top advisors have not been able to do the same, and we should highlight their role in U.S. policy under this administration.
As usual, my friend is very smart and makes a good point.
However, I'm sticking to my guns.
Last fall, during the campaign, I read a very wise article that argued against the characterization of Bush as stupid or childish. Its contention was that such characterizations, by infantilizing Bush, tend to relieve him of responsibility for his foolish, short-sighted and boorish actions. That article resonated with me.
I don't think Bush is stupid. The man is a graduate of both Yale and Harvard, and while those schools (and I say this as an alumnus of Harvard) may be more difficult to get into than to get through, admission -- even with the advantage of alumni ancestors -- is difficult and demands a level of high achievement at a young age.
No. Bush may be intellectually lazy and close-minded, he knows what he is doing.
History needs to remember him as someone who willfully damaged the United States and the world.