February 5, 2008

Taking dynasticism to a whole 'nother level

Do you ever get the impression that John McCain, who for some reason seems to be perceived as the anti-Bush candidate in the GOP race, is the cool, cocky dad George W. Bush wished he'd had instead of that wimpy, diplomatic, prudent father he has spent his life being annoyed that he got stuck with?

The classic problem with dynasticism is regression toward the mean: the formidable father has a less impressive son. Having already gone down that route with the Bushes, we're now embarking on a bizarre exercise in pseudo-dynasticism. Having witnessed the failure of the son, we're now enthroning the man who could be the failed son's crazy old coot of a favorite uncle.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Fred said...

No, why? I'm afraid you've lost me on this one.

Sammler said...


Alex said...

Homer nods! Underneath that cool cynical detachment you're as broken as everyone else by the McCain victory! It's driven you batty!

As alike as Bush and McCain are politically, they're not exactly two kindred spirits in a land of radically opposing views. Everyone in their world thinks like them on most things, they actually have trouble understanding how people could be so low as to differ from them and everyone else in their circles. They do of course meet with considerable opposition on the war but even at this date they can find a fair amount of validation in their world for their fantasias on that subject. (And McCain even gets support from a lot of Republicans who hate the war but I probably digress.)

I do agree they are similar in temperament--ornery little bullies.

SKT said...

I'm not sure why you're a Bush Sr. fan, but I don't find much impressive about him. He was a bigger disappointment to conservatives than even the future McCain would be based on the most pessimistic predictions about him by Limbaugh, Coulter, etc.

Bush Sr. isn't as mild mannered as you seem to remember him as either. I've heard stories about the Bushes being rather aggressive, nasty people who use and abuse others to get what they want.

Ali said...

Richard Ben Cramer knew Dubya from back in 1988 and said that he was still intimidated and nervous of him when he was nearing forty.

milam command said...

Too psychoanalytic by half.

Jeff Burton said...

This post is just bizarre. Your W fixation is showing.

James Kabala said...

Three problems with this theory:

1. Bush I was as authentic a war hero as McCain.

2. Regardless of their similarities on issues, Bush and McCain seem not to like each other very much on a personal level.

3. Bush I was not the same person as Dana Carvey's portrayal of him. He could be the nice guy Steve remembers and he could be the nasty guy skt remembers. I don't think either version is the whole picture, but he definitely had both those sides to him.

P.S. for Skt: One good thing about the elder Bush was that he knew his limits and knew that actually trying to conquer and occupy Iraq would be a disaster. That gives up a leg up on his son, but other than that, yes, he was mediocre.

dearieme said...

At least Bush the Elder doesn't look like an ill-tempered ferret.

JAN said...

Why is McCain a war hero? Sure, he was shot down and held as a POW for 5yrs, but what did he do that most any other pilot or other of the several 100,000s combat veterans didn’t do given the situation? Shouldn’t a war hero have achieved some sort of outsized victory over the enemy rather than just be doing his duty.

It appears McCain quickly capitulated (making anti-American confession and divulging info) after 3 days of torture which most people would do under the circumstances. He appears to have been given better treatment when he was quickly recognized as an Admiral’s son. Nothing particulary good/bad in these things.

I’m not sure what to believe about the offer he had to walk but refused unless everyone was allowed to come with him. If true and he took it, it would have ruined his ambitious life back in the US. I think most highly placed fast-track minded people in his situation would’ve done the same as McCain. This, especially, since it was perpetually forecasted the war would soon be over when he was captured (delayed a number of years by Kissinger and politics at home).

I respect McCain’s service like the 100,000s of other Vietnam vets, but I don't see him as any particular war hero. McCain got 28 medals for his 20hrs of combat flight and became a mythical hero because he was the grandson and son of Admirals not because he achieved some great end towards victory as a “War Hero”.

I’m much more concerned about the person is now, what he’s done over the past quarter of a century and what that says about what he will do as POTUS.

Anonymous said...

Bush 1 did not get a victory over Saddam, and that's why he was tossed out for Bill Clinton. So much for his "wisdom." Playing geo-politics (Bush 1 wanted a counterweight to Iran) eventually led to a giant mess. But it wasn't on his watch. He didn't give America a victory either which is what it wanted.

McCain's rise is almost entirely on his pushing for a "Win" in Iraq. People mostly want a Win. Selling more of defeat is good for you is not something even Democrats can offer.

But the dynasty is not on the Rep side. It's the Clinton dynasty. Hillary can probably beat McCain by offering a "Win" too, running to the right of McCain in Iraq and also Iran.

Get ready for 8 more years of Bill chasing interns around the White House, and Queen Hillary!

jan said...

Evil Necon/Anon

Bush I didn't lose to Clinton because of Saddam. Iraq only became a mess when Bush II destroyed it without thinking about the consequences.

Bush I lost because the economy was down ("It's the economy stupid") and he raised taxes.

James Kabala said...

I was but a boy in 1991, but I don't know of anyone who didn't regard the first Gulf War as a victory at the time. It was supposed to have ended the "Vietnam syndrome," remember?

The country group Pirates of the Mississippi did record an anti-Bush song whose chorus began, "Saddam Hussein still has a job, but I don't," but even in that song the emphasis was on economic issues. (The actual title was "A Street Man Named Desire."

Fred said...

I wasn't a boy in '91. As I was in the Army Reserve then and had volunteered for the war, I paid close attention. The victory in Iraq was initially seen as such, but within a month it began to sour, as Saddam used helicopter gunships to wipe out the Kurds and Shia who rebelled against him (after Bush 41 encouraged them). The unsung goat here was the White House, which delegated the armistice negotiations to General Schwartzkopf, and Schwartzkopf himself.

Since he was dictating the terms to the supine Iraqis, Schwartzkopf could have banned their use of military aviation; that would have given the Kurds and Shia a better chance of deposing Saddam. Neither he nor the White House thought that checkers move ahead, and consequently we had no pretext to shoot down Saddam's gunships before they suppressed the rebellion. Only after the revolt was crushed and the Kurds were pitifully starving on their mountains did Bush 41 authorize the no-fly zones, closing the barn door after the horses had run off.

Re McCain's POW experience: He was a hero, but I don't think that explains his popularity today. He was also a victim, and Americans love victims these days more than heroes. Hillary is also seen as victim by the Left (of Bill's philandering; of the "right wing conspiracy", etc.). It's almost like we are voting for a Queen for a Day.