The decider in chief: Drunk with power

I’m having a hard time keeping up with all of George W. Bush’s titles.

He likes to call himself the commander-in-chief, a hypocritical stance since he did everything in his and his daddy’s power to avoid going to war during the Vietnam era. Perhaps coward-in-chief would be more appropriate.

He also loves to call himself a “war time president,” another blatant use of fantasy since the only war he manages is the one he created himself based on lies and fabricated rationale.

Now he’s got a new, self-indulgent title.

“I’m the decider, and I decide what is best,” Bush declared in a sort-of-stirring defense of embattled defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Decider-in-chief? A key statement to the arrogance that is George W. Bush.

“I decide what is best,” he says.

For Bush the game has always been about power. Absolute power. Dictatorial power.

This is the American President who said: “it would be much easier if this was a dictatorship, as long as I get to be the dictator.”

At the time some people thought he was joking. Those who know him knew he wasn’t.

In 1999, while completing a profile of Harris County, Texas, Judge Robert Eckels, I interviewed a number of Texas political observers. Republican and Democrat alike agreed that then Gov. George W. Bush was stubborn, arrogant and used to having his own way.

“He’s an asshole,” said Tom Delaney, who worked on Bush’s second gubernatorial campaign. “He can smile at you while cutting off your balls.”

Dr. Justin Frank, a prominent George Washington University psychiatrist and author of the book, Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, says Bush has a cruel, sadistic streak that goes back to his childhood when a young George gleefully bragged about dissecting cats, cutting them open while they were still alive.

The boy who tortured cats, Dr. Frank says, grew up into an alcohol-abusing bully who strikes out at anyone who opposes him.

All one has to do, Dr. Frank says, is confront the President and the bully emerges.

“To actually directly confront him in a clear way, to bring him out, so you would really see the bully, and you would also see the fear,” he says.

Dr. Frank also believes Bush, an alcoholic who brags that he gave up booze without help from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, may be drinking again.

“Two questions that the press seems particularly determined to ignore have hung silently in the air since before Bush took office,” Dr. Frank says. “Is he still drinking? And if not, is he impaired by all the years he did spend drinking? Both questions need to be addressed in any serious assessment of his psychological state.”

As a recovering alcoholic (11 years, 10 months and 13 days sober), I agree with Dr. Frank’s assessment. Bush demonstrates many of the traits of a drinker who has relapsed: An inability to focus, moments where he goes “blank” and can’t respond, incoherent sentences and flashes of anger when challenged.

“The pattern of blame and denial, which recovering alcoholics work so hard to break, seems to be ingrained in the alcoholic personality. It’s rarely limited to his or her drinking,” Dr. Frank says. “The habit of placing blame and denying responsibility is so prevalent in George W. Bush’s personal history that it is apparently triggered by even the mildest threat.”

So it’s no surprise that the self-declared “decider-in-chief” is an arrogant hothead who probably sneaks a drink or two during the day. He’s a paranoid, fear-mongering bully who openly abuses power and, thanks to the gullible American voting public, he can, and will continue to, abuse that power.

A drunk: That’s the title George W. Bush deserves most. He is a drunk even if he doesn’t get blasted on booze. He’s drunk with power and that’s the most dangerous kind of drunk. When a drunk who gets high on power sits in the White House, the rest of us wake up with the hangover.