Which Shakespeare Characters Do Bush and Cheney Most Resemble?

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cheney_segway.jpg
(Doesn’t Cheney just seem so. . .Richard the Third?)
I just came by this interesting interview with former Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director and evolving neoconservative thinker Ken Adelman.
I think Adelman has shown a great deal of honesty about both the failure of a movement he belongs to and the human failings of those trying to implement neoconservative methodologies in the national security sphere. Adelman has been extremely close, on a personal level, with Cheney and Rumsfeld — and this has not prevented him from lodging serious, full gun critiques at them and their miserable management of the war.
I last saw Adelman at a UN Foundation party with former President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, former Senator and UN Foundation President Tim Wirth, Ted Turner, and many other establishment liberals in honor of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus — and Adelman was blunt with me in how angry he was at the Bush administration’s performance in the war and expressed believable regret for having been part of the sound machine that clamored for the Iraq invasion.
To remind folks, Ken Adelman wrote the now infamous February 2002 Washington Post article, “Cake Walk in Iraq“. I know now that he wishes he had not, but the article is a useful reminder when reading similar kinds of articles by the likes of Michael Ledeen and Norman Podhoretz calling for America to initiate an attack against Iran.
This interview is really about Adelman’s interesting human resource management/leadership seminars under the title of “Movers and Shakespeares“, and I’ve heard that Adelman’s encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare and his love for human drama in the political world make this stuff very interesting.
But it would be interesting to know from Ken Adelman which Shakespeare characters and plays most describe the tragic situation America is in today. Who would Rumsfeld be? And is Bush more Hamlet or MacBeth? Is Cheney Richard III? What character fits Adelman himself?
Here is the last bit of Adelman’s thoughts on the Bush administration and the Iraq War — as well as his comment that America should not apply military force of its own against Iran. It’s thoughtful and indicative of further fracturing in the neoconservative camp:

MORTMAN: Now I’d like to get your thoughts on other areas of your expertise. How do you think things are going in Iraq?
ADELMAN: I fear that we are not doing well. I just think that we got our act together too late. I think we lost a few years in there that we should have had. Policy folks — Secretary of Defense, National Security Adviser — really let us down.
MORTMAN: How do we win in Iraq?
ADELMAN: I thought if we could turn it around, and give people the sense that momentum was on our side, that could turn it around. But that hasn’t happened. I think with plans to withdraw, we either get out of the way and let the different factions do whatever they have to do, or let the different factions act like Iraqis. But I’m an optimist.
MORTMAN: Should we invade Iran?
ADELMAN: I would not use the military in Iran. I would squeeze the sanctions as hard as we can. I would go to the Saudis and the Persian Gulf countries, and have them pressure the Europeans, saying they just have to crack down. I don’t think the Bush Administration has done anything with the Saudis that’s worthwhile.
MORTMAN: Your thoughts on the presidential race?
ADELMAN: I’ve been disappointed. It seems that there are no new ideas coming out of the presidential race. 1980 we had the Reagan Doctrine, supply side economics, SDI — all these were ideas, they were new ideas. I haven’t heard anything new from either side. I’m disappointed.
MORTMAN: Your thoughts on the Bush legacy?
ADELMAN: Bush is a person who had good ideas but could not implement them. The first MBA president was the worst administrative leader, the most un-MBA-ish president. He didn’t set goals, he didn’t hold people accountable. He just engaged in happy talk. He thought words were all people needed, instead of a realistic approach. A failed presidency based on that.

I disagree with Adelman that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea when we should have been focused on bin Laden and stamping out the embers of his operation — but that said, it is useful to have someone of Adelman’s stature and proximity to other leading neocons speak out against a repeat of the mistakes we made in the Iraq War.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Which Shakespeare Characters Do Bush and Cheney Most Resemble?

  1. Againcourt says:

    For a history of the various pundits who proclaimed President Bush
    to be Henry V, including Adelman, see:
    http://www.poppolitics.com/archives/2003/05/George-W-as-
    Henry-V

    Reply

  2. Allison says:

    Hey, I’ve participated in Movers & Shakespeares before, glad to see that it’s such a successful program, as you mention, because it was so much fun. I learned a lot too about how we can use Henry V’s leadership skills today, it was really interesting. Ken Adelman is a really smart guy who DOES know a lot about Shakespeare and history! I would highly recommend the seminar to anyone.

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  3. Kathleen says:

    NH Dem.. Caesar was not an armchair warrior like Darth Cheney, so I’d say no to that. And the Republic was not so useless the Roman Senators didn’t think it was worth preserving by publicly assasinating Caeser when he accepted a crown.
    If only our Senate thought as much about preserving our Republic, they’d at least impeach.
    I also don’t see a decent bone in Dopey’s body….sorry.

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  4. NH Dem says:

    Wow…I saw the post title and thought, “Cheney has to be Richard III,” even before scrolling down to the caption. Then I thought, “Bush? No one comes to mind. Shakespeare probably never would have written in a Bush, because such a combination of constant disastrous incompetence and unchallenged duration in regal office would have been inconceivable to him.”
    Now I guess I have to go read Titus Andronicus.
    Perhaps an even more interesting question: Which Shakespeare Characters Do Bush and Cheney et al. THINK They Most Resemble? (…or would they if they’d actually read Shakespeare…)
    Though the answer for Rove is still Iago.
    And I’d say Henry V for W: heroic, though a regular guy, steadfast and purpose-driven, though good-humored and quick-witted, rightfully confident in his cause and himself though hyper-rational doubters would wring their hands at the situation and declare all to be lost, surrounded by a few — a very few — strong and honest and true believers with whom he will share the glory that he knows has to come if the world is to make any sense.
    And perhaps Julius Caesar for Cheney: someone has to realize when the usefulness of the Republic has come to an end, and when a strong hand needs to, er, step in and set a firm course heedless of the whining and pleading of the effete and dissipated rabble. But that’s really more of a historical argument than a literary one. Perhaps Cheney’s self-image in literature would be cinematic: Robert the Bruce’s leper father in Braveheart, constrained by his vileness from openly wielding power, yet wise and experienced beyond his son’s imagining, tutoring and guiding that young Padawan in the ways of power so that his own vision may be wrought upon the world.
    Or Sauron. Either one works.

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  5. Kathleen says:

    MP.. small world huh? If your daughter did work with Anne, she for sure learned a bunch.

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  6. MP says:

    “This time, I don’t know. Anne and I are in different camps, at least for now.”
    I think my daughter got to know Anne a bit when she was working for the DSCC or DSSS…

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  7. Kathleen says:

    Thanks MP. I’m too partisan to run for office. I’d have to represent people with whom I disagree… a bit too stubborn to compromise very well.
    But I do like working on things, behind the scenes, especially research, which I did for John Kerry through Anne Wexler after Howard Dean withdrew. I wrote Kerry’s line “W stands for Wrong. Wrong war, wrong time, wrong place, wrong direction”.
    This time, I don’t know. Anne and I are in different camps, at least for now. Don’t know if Nader will run again.
    I’m encouraged by Kucinich’s showing in the ABC poll about their debate in Iowa. It’s a landslide for Kucinich.
    Now woooooooldn’t that be loverly???? Despite their trying to sideline him, Kucinich’s made a great showing. MSM and Demz might end up with whiplash doing a doubletake.

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  8. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 23, 2007 02:29 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Wow, Kathleen. What can I say? I tip my hat and bow to you in complete surrender.
    I’ll work for you ANY day.
    (All quibbles about Nader and the Greens aside…)
    When are YOU running?

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  9. Kathleen says:

    George McGovern had no campaign in 1968. He hadn’t even announced a campaign. He was nominated by Senator Abe Ribicoff, D. CT. a Kennedy man. In fact, if you read my comment on Steve’s post about the Australian leadership dialogue, you will see that in order for McCarthy delegates to be included in the CT. delegation to Chicago, we had to threaten to challenge Ribicoff to a primary in 1968. To get us to not do that, they gave us nine seats on the delegation with Ribicoff giving up his seat to make room for us. He went as an alternate.
    Ralph Nader did not want to start at the top. He was a foremost McCarthy supporter as well as a great defender of public safety. He is who spearheaded the Greens, so he definitley worked from the bottom up.
    Geroge McGovern is who started at the top. He actually owes his nomination in 1972 to the Gene McCarthy supporters from CT.
    In 1968 there were only six primaries. Everyone else had conventions with smoke filled rooms, CT. included. To figure out how to elect delegates to the convention, Steve’s friend and mine, Anne Wexler, then Vice Chair of the CT. McCarthy Committee, asked me to research the election laws. I did. We figured out how to force the first primary in CT. hisotry in some of our towns. It was too late to force a primary in every one of our 169 towns, but we won 25% of the delegates to the state convention in Hartford in June of that year. Not enough to elect a slate of delegates to the national convention. Because I had done the research, I knew that we only needed 20% of the delegates to force a primary for the Senate nomination. Joe Duffey, Chairman of the McCarthy for Pres. Committee in CT., agreed to let us nominate him for US Senate. At the time, I was trying to keep an avenue open for the anti-war movement in CT., which would have been silenced after the convention. I didn’t honestly know at that time that John Bailey would give us what we wanted when we did that.
    During the summer, inbetween the State convention and the National convention, I worked with Anne Wexler, Geofrrey Cowan and John Barbieri to reseasrch the delegate selection process in all the other convention states. We asked Senator Harrold Hughes to chair the national commission.
    At the national convention, Anne Wexler was assigned to the Rules committee and introduced the Hughes Commssion Report. It was voted down, so she introduced it to the floor of the convention as a minority report. It was late, people were tired, I don’t know, but somehow it passed. The report called for a national, commission to research the delegate selection process for the purpose of providing more public particpation.
    When the report was adopted by the convention, Teddy tried to take it over. He was insisting that George McGovern be appointed as the chair of this new commission and that ALL staff be Kennedy people. At that point Senator Harrold Hughes threatened to blow the whistle on Teddy to the press. He relented and let a couple of McCarthy people be appointed to the new commission, Anne Wexler being one.
    The McGovern Commission then held public hearings around the country on the issue of public participation in the nomination process.
    I worked with Geoffrey Cowan and John Barberi, Yale Law School students, to form the Caucus of CT. Democrats and change CT. election laws to become a primary state, as did all the other states, shortly thereafter.
    We knew that whoever was chairman of this commission would be the next nominee simply because he would have the inside dope on all the election law changes and the contacts. Sure enough, Mcgovern was nominated, but rather than be grateful to McCarthy supporters who did ALL the thinking and work, we were treated with disdain. The Democratic party lost a lot of dedicated citizens who worked for their country, not their own political careers.

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  10. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 23, 2007 12:55 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Who placed McGovern in nomination?
    If McGovern had supporters, didn’t he have the right to go for the nomination as much as anyone else?
    But I see what you’re saying, and not really arguing with you on this point. Party unity (never our strong suit) might have pulled it out for us. You’ve opened my eyes, and I’ll have to take a look at this some more. You were certainly far more involved than I.
    I agree with you about the need for more parties. But they have to be real parties. From the bottom up. They can’t try to jump in at the top a la Nader. Doesn’t work.
    Problem is, I think, Americans aren’t much interested in politics and only get up in arms when things are falling apart, as they are now.

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  11. Kathleen says:

    MP: My memory is based on first hand experience. Most news accounts about the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968 cover the violence in the streets, but rarely the violence and skullduggery that happened on the convention floor. I was there as a delegate from CT. pledged to Gene McCarthy.
    Intra-party b.s. is not good on either side because it puts personal power within the party before the good of the country. That is different from inter-party b.s. which is just as deleterious
    to the public welfare. Hillary Clinton was not the only Goldwater Republican to work for Gene McCarthy in New Hampshire.
    Nixon’s election is not the fault of the Greens, but rather the fault of Teddy and George McGovern for creating a schism that has never healed. Gene McCarthy lost the CA. primary to Bobby by only .6 of a point. What right did George McGovern have to be placed in nomination at that point? If he had had a shred of scruples he would have refused. It was a bald, unscrupulous move without regard to what we, the people, wanted. With LBJ and Bobby no longer in the race, the choice should have been between Humphrey and McCarthy, a clean decision between supporters of the war and opponents of the war. McGovern just muddied the waters and betrayed the peace movement.
    Many McCarthy people volunteered to work for McGovern, nonetheless, but in my own experience, his campaign was run by the Kennedy faction, whose arrogance and overbearing patronizing was insufferable. Gene McCarthy’s only instructions to his suppoorters was to do what we thought was right. McGovern/Kennedy people wanted to micromanage every single thing, like we were all idiots. Their treatment of former McCarthy supporters was a huge source of alienation and too eye-opening to average citizens who were politicized for the first time by the Vietnam War.
    America will never have a true leader again as long as either party have dynastic families presuming a birthright to govern and guarding their positions within the party to the detriment of our country. The more parties we have the harder it will be for dynasties with monarchic pretensions to flourish and the electoral college will function as it was originally intended to function.
    So again I say, who is Teddy backing?
    A visual memory of Chicago: As I sat in the hotel cocktail lounge, I could see the Russian tanks on the news, rolling down the streets in Chekoslovakia(sp?). I could also look out the window and see US tanks rolling down the streets of Chicago. When we saw people running down the street with blood running down their faces, we tried to go outside to see what was happening, but were locked in by police. I came home with black and blue hand marks on both my arms from being grabbed by police and shoved back into the hotel. But I was far more bruised by what happened to McCarthy in Chcicago. That bruise still exists.

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  12. Carroll says:

    I think Shakespeare is a bit highbrow for that crowd.
    We should be talking Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

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  13. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 22, 2007 04:00 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Wow. Your memory of the back and forth is much better than mine. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll have to go back and read up.
    But…
    What did the Greens accomplish? Nixon.
    Both sides need to keep up the intra-party BS, not just one.
    My daughter recently worked for Casey, and there, the Republicans were backing the Greens–gathering signatures and disputing them–to split the progressive vote.

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  14. Kathleen says:

    Well someone must have clued Kucinich in about the jumping around thing because he hasn’t done it again, but I’m sure that footage will live on.
    On the hair, I offered to contribute the price of a haircut by John Edwards’ stylist. It’s a small thing, but something about the color and slant of his hairline reminds me of Hiler’s hairdo. Not a good look and it would take so little to change that.
    I have no illusions about his ability to win the nomination, but I feel I have to support him because he best represents my views.
    George McGovern did not pay for LBJ’s war. He paid for his own lack of conviction. In 1968, the public was clammoring for an end to the war. Only Gene MCarthy risked his career by challenging an incumbent president of his own party to a primary.
    After McCarthy’s surpise showing in New Hampshire primary, Bobby Kennedy threw his hat in the ring and LBJ announced that he would not seek the nomination. When Bobby was shot, Geroge McGovern let himself be used to keep the peace vote from coming together behind Gene MCarthy. When McGovern let himself be nominated, it kept the peace vote split and underhandedly gave the nomination to Hubert Humphrey. Since McGovern hadn’t run in any primary or had a campaign, he was rigtfully viewed as a spoiler by the McCarthy supporters, who left the party after Chicago to form the Greens. Demz will never win big again until they address issues important to the Greens. It’llnever happen because intra-party b.s. is always more important.
    If you want to know who Demz will nominate, ask Teddy who he’s supporting. That will effect party opertives all over the country. He was in a hurry for Kerry to decide, so he could support another candidate if Kerry decided not to run, but he’s not said a word about who he supports yet. Hmmmm.
    Read Ted Sorenson was backing Obama. That’s a clue.

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  15. MP says:

    Posted by Kathleen at August 22, 2007 11:54 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Wither the Dems?
    What ails the Dems?
    Why can’t they win?
    Why can’t they win a large enough majority to govern?
    We’ve been asking this, more or less, since McGovern. He paid for LBJ’s Viet Nam folly which left us vulnerable to Nixon’s southern strategy. I have to say, I’m a bit cynical about all the answers. Despite its flaws, the DLC approach is the only one that has achieved any electoral success, except in liberal districts, at least as far as I know.
    I think it was Carroll who once said that if you put a bag over Kucinich’s head and could keep him from jumping around, he’d walk away with the presidency. I don’t think she’s right. Kucinich is hardly the only “uncompromising” progressive who’s gone down to complete defeat. Many tall, strapping liberals have too–

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  16. Kathleen says:

    I think Shakespeare is a bit lofty for these characters. Keystone Kops, perhaps. I see the parallels with Major Major, but enlist, this pair????…. no way.
    Saw Senator Dodd on MSNBC’s Hardball yesterday. while he discused his positions on Iraq, Maliki, mortgages, etc., the words across the bottom of the screen read: Des Moines Register: Senator Chris Dodd, D, CT. says that impeachment proceedings suck the oxygen out of the room and warns against efforts to impeach Pres. Bush.
    Thuuuudddd… so much for his campaign catching on. I was about to write a check and attend a fundraiser for him in CT. on the 26th but I think it would be better to contribute the funds to help Kucinich have an event in CT. Demz don’t understand a great many things, including that many voters will be totally turned off. Poor turnout never helps Demz, so they really have lost their rudder. Demz are going nowhere fast and they’ll be lucky to maintain their razor thin majority and we’ll have gauranteed gridlock, again. I guess the main thing is that they get their automatic cost of living pay raises.
    What a huge disasppointment.

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  17. henry says:

    I have to say I was struck by the apparently unintended irony of a neocon like Adelman professing to be an expert on Shakespeare. Even the most superficial reading of Shakespeare would have led one to predict that the invasion of Iraq would lead to tragedy and farce. What is wrong with these people?

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  18. Steve Clemons says:

    rich….some places with free wifi access are Cosi Cafes. I go to the one at Connecticut and R Streets, but there are others in the city. Also, Steam Cafe at 17th and R. Or the Love Cafe at 15th & U, or health Bar on U between 16th and 17th. “Busboys and Poets” also has free wireless — but isn’t open in the mornings and is near 13th and U — just a bit above U on 13th Street.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  19. arthurdecco says:

    Con George-Kotzabasis said:
    “…the liberals resemble the three witches of Macbeth brewing their curses on the Bush administration while singing theit ditty, STRENGTH IS WEAKNESS AND WEAKNESS IS STRENGTH”
    You need to start back on your medications, Con George-Kotzabasis, or, at the very least, reassess why you consider yourself so clever when the evidence you have supplied to us in your post written at 5:10 AM proves otherwise. (Or is it simply because you hadn’t had your morning coffee yet when you chose to press the “post” button? I do know some who appear to be bonkers without their coffee.)
    Feel free to consider this an Ad Hominem attack if you like. When there are no actual ideas or supposed facts to refute, all that’s left to those of us who use our brains for thinking is to criticize and/or challenge the person who submits nonsense or misinformation in lieu of constructive commentary in the first place.
    Stop wasting time and space with cow poo posts.
    Now I’ll take my own advice and fade back into the bushes…

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  20. Con George-Kotzabasis says:

    That should also be followed by which Shakespeare characters the liberals most resemble. I would say that in “the tragic situation” of America today, the liberals resemble the three witches of Macbeth brewing their curses on the Bush administration while singing theit ditty, STRENGTH IS WEAKNESS AND WEAKNESS IS STRENGTH
    “Hovering through the fog and filthy air”.

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  21. eatbees says:

    You’re giving Bush too much credit to compare him with either Hamlet or Macbeth. Hamlet was an educated man, for pete’s sake! Bush used to be compared to Prince Hal and maybe he still should be, only without the change in character, the rendezvous with destiny that some thought they observed after 9/11. But what we really need is a bit character, a man of shallow ambition, like Saturnine in “Titus Andronicus” as played by Alan Cumming. In that case, I guess that Cheney would be Tamara, Queen of Goths…!

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  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I disagree with Adelman that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea when we should have been focused on bin Laden and stamping out the embers of his operation…”
    It amazes me, that after all these six years of deception, criminal abuses of power, lies, perjuries, tortures, renditions, malfeasances, corrupted election returns, and a myriad of other transgressions, ineptitudes, dishonesties and disasters, that anyone still buys the ABSOLUTE HORSESHIT that is the “official story” behind 9/11. Just this week we watch a skyscraper, that was already structurally compromised by the efforts to demo it, get GUTTED BY FIRE, yet it remains standing. Also, a couple of years ago, in Taiwan, another super skyrise was gutted by fire, and what was left? The steel framing structure.
    We are fed a litany of lies by these bastards in the Bush camp, non-stop, for close to seven years, we watch them repeatedly and illegally say “fuck you” to Congress by ignoring Congressional subpoenas. We watch them engage in blatant illegal acts of domestic spying….
    Shit, do I really need to go on?
    Yet we are supposed to believe this fantastic fucking unbelievable piece of science fiction that twelve radical Islamist religious fanatics took down the Twin towers by MELTING THEM? What the hell is a matter with us? We can’t see a blatant impossibility when it smacks us right in the face? Wake up, people.
    I dare ya. Go get some kerosene, (jet fuel), and get yourself a standard 1/2″ bolt, and try to melt the son of a bitch. Good luck.

    Reply

  23. Vadranor says:

    Titus Andronicus is rarely performed these days (for good reasons), but Bush is definitely Saturninus, an unqualified son of the previous emperor who makes a mess of everything.

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  24. deepsouthdoug says:

    After reading this headline I wondered who of all of the characters ever created in the history of literature might Bush be closest to…..hmm? I had a notion about a character from an ‘ancient’ script I had read long ago. Still having this book (it is a book that everyone should possess), I went over and scanned my bookshelf to find it. I glimpsed the long ignored text, pulled it off the shelf, and began to page to where I thought the prophet might define President Bush as a fictional fool.
    At Chapter Nine which the Prophet Heller titled `Major Major Major Major’, the Prophet wrote:
    “Major Major (Bush) had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.”
    Yep that sounds like our President. Nearly a half century ago, Joseph Heller was able to define the qualities of a fictional character that would leap off the page and unfortunately morph into the President of the United States.
    “Major Major had three strikes on him from the beginning – his mother, his father, and Henry Fonda (for Bush it would be Alfred E. Newman),to whom he bore a sickly resemblance almost from the moment of his birth…Total strangers saw fit to deprecate him, with the result that he was stricken early with a guilty fear of people and an obsequious impulse to apologize to society for the fact that he was not Alfred E. Newman.”
    Later in the chapter Heller continues:
    “The only thing they could find to do with him, however, was take him into the Army and as a private and make him a major four days later so that Congressmen with nothing else on their minds could go trotting back and forth through the streets of Washington D. C., chanting, “Who promoted Major Major? Who promoted Major Major?””
    “Actually, Major Major had been promoted by an I.B.M. machine with a sense of humor almost as keen as his father’s. When war broke out he was still docile and compliant. They told him to enlist, and he enlisted. They told him to apply for aviation cadet training, and he applied for aviation cadet training…..”
    “Major Major floundered bewilderedly from one embarrassing catastrophe to another.”
    That’s funny in literature, but tragic when it describes the performance of the President of the United States.
    It seems to me that if you had to compare George W. Bush to any character in all of literature, then Heller’s Major Major Major Major would be the best comparison.

    Reply

  25. deepsouthdoug says:

    After reading this headline I wondered who of all of the characters ever created in the history of literature might Bush be closest to…..hmm? I had a notion about a character from an ‘ancient’ script I had read long ago. Still having this book (it is a book that everyone should possess), I went over and scanned my bookshelf to find it. I glimpsed the long ignored text, pulled it off the shelf, and began to page to where I thought the prophet might define President Bush as a fictional fool.
    At Chapter Nine which the Prophet Heller titled `Major Major Major Major’, the Prophet wrote:
    “Major Major (Bush) had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.”
    Yep that sounds like our President. Nearly a half century ago, Joseph Heller was able to define the qualities of a fictional character that would leap off the page and unfortunately morph into the President of the United States.
    “Major Major had three strikes on him from the beginning – his mother, his father, and Henry Fonda (for Bush it would be Alfred E. Newman),to whom he bore a sickly resemblance almost from the moment of his birth…Total strangers saw fit to deprecate him, with the result that he was stricken early with a guilty fear of people and an obsequious impulse to apologize to society for the fact that he was not Alfred E. Newman.”
    Later in the chapter Heller continues:
    “The only thing they could find to do with him, however, was take him into the Army and as a private and make him a major four days later so that Congressmen with nothing else on their minds could go trotting back and forth through the streets of Washington D. C., chanting, “Who promoted Major Major? Who promoted Major Major?””
    “Actually, Major Major had been promoted by an I.B.M. machine with a sense of humor almost as keen as his father’s. When war broke out he was still docile and compliant. They told him to enlist, and he enlisted. They told him to apply for aviation cadet training, and he applied for aviation cadet training…..”
    “Major Major floundered bewilderedly from one embarrassing catastrophe to another.”
    That’s funny in literature, but tragic when it describes the performance of the President of the United States.
    It seems to me that if you had to compare George W. Bush to any character in all of literature, then Heller’s Major Major Major Major would be the best comparison.

    Reply

  26. rich says:

    Great question and I’ve been wondering when there’d be nominations, complete with too-fitting quotations. The arc of tragedy was all too classic, predictable.
    Steve, what’s a decent/conveninet internet cafe in DC? Seems the Motel L’Enfant charges for access. I had to pop over to 14U @ 14th & U after conf sessions.. logistics are weak.

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  27. HyperIon says:

    but wait, authurdeco, adelman is an “evolving neoconservative thinker” according to steve clemons.
    WHAT is an “evolving neoconservative thinker”? maybe someone who used to have stoopid ideas but has stopped bringing them up at the cocktail parties.

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  28. arthurdecco says:

    In a rational society Ken Adelman would be shunned, a pariah stained with blood from innocents he helped kill because he lied professionally, even if self-servingly, about Iraq.
    In a rational society Ken Adelman would be disgraced for his involvement in the corruption of his country’s collective soul ground under this dark and menacing administration he helped succor, promote and defend.
    In a rational country, Ken Adelman wouldn’t be fawned over by think tank thinkers who appear to be searching for truths by interviewing and promoting demonstrated self-aggrandizing liars as worthy of respect for their opinions.
    In a rational society, that is.

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  29. Kathleen says:

    Marcia… you are so right…..
    Given Dopey’s language challenge, relying on words was a poor choice. Recently when asked by a reporter if he would be speaking French to visitng President Sarkozy, Dopey replied that he doesn’t speak English very well. I’ll say.
    Our mission in Iraq was doomed from conception because it was without just cause. Add imcompetence to immorality and deception, and why would any sentient being expect a positive outcome?
    Right makes might, not the other way around.

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  30. Marcia says:

    I really wonder if there is any one listening or what it would take to make the WH listen to anything other than their own prescripted idealogy.
    Resistance has certainly been absent. This constant babble about cooperating with the WH that comes from Congress shows that Congress has learned nothing since 2000. The sole object of the WH has been to wrestle power, one step at a time for itself. They now have all the tools in place for almost anything.
    It could be called Congress in contempt of the People, aiding and abetting crime.

    Reply

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