Time for a Presidential Intervention: "My Name is George, and I Won't Take Responsibility for Anything"
I spent some time this weekend with a friend of mine who has just taken the first big step toward recovery by joining AA, and was struck by his determination to follow that program's 12 steps.
I couldn't help comparing my friend's willingness to "take personal inventory" and "promptly admit" his mistakes and flaws (step 10), with President Bush, who time and again over the last two weeks has fallen back on his longstanding inability to own up to his many mistakes. Instead of coming clean, Bush's been repeating again and again that this isn't the time to play the "blame game." Actually, Mr. President this is precisely the time to assign blame and accept responsibility.
And Tuesday's half-hearted "To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility" doesn't count. It had all the sincerity of a little kid forced by his parents to apologize. Only in this case, it wasn't Bush's parents taking him by the ear (they were too busy worrying about all the underprivileged folks invading Texas), but his pollsters, who clearly let him know that the American people were not buying his blame it on the other guy, shrug and grin approach.
Watching Bush choke on his carefully-parsed acceptance of responsibility, it hit me that what we need is a 12-step program for presidents addicted to shirking hard truths. Forget impeachment, we need an intervention!
On the upside, Bush already claims to have accepted a Higher Power in his life (and no, I'm not talking about Karl Rove), so unless this is another fabrication, he's already got a good half of AA"s 12 steps down cold (step 3: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him," step 6: "Were entirely ready to have God remove all defects of character").
The real challenge will be the aforementioned step 10 and its cousin, step 4 ("Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"). You see, the president is a classic dry drunk -- one who has kicked the bottle without ever dealing with the root causes of his addiction. And a hallmark of a dry drunk is an intense aversion to introspection and a pathological aversion to owning up to, well, anything.
Pretty much sums up the Bush presidency, doesn't it. What me, worry?
Who knows, maybe this intervention will get him to finally admit that sometimes staying the course will lead you right over the cliff -- and save the country from waking up in the gutter with a nasty hangover in 2008.
I can almost hear him now: "My name is George, and I'm a shirk-aholic!"