While I doubt that there will ever be a play called “The Tragedy of George W. Bush,” one needs not look beyond the “Decider” himself to reaffirm Shakespeare’s wise assertion that “All the world’s a stage.”
At first glance, Bush seems perfectly suited for satire; remember this is the same man who once waved at a blind man and thought that “misunderestimate” was an actual word. In addition, Shakespeare’s satires were filled with amusing hypocrites and pretenders who couldn’t learn from their mistakes, and were renowned for their single-minded response to all circumstances… hmmm, sounds very Bushesque.
Alas, this is where the comedic parallels end because while Bush would serve nicely as a foolish father in a sitcom or a ridiculous boss in an office comedy, he is the commander in chief whose decisions have led to the deaths of tens of thousands of men, women and children.
Also, Shakespeare’s fickle comedic characters easily wilt and disappear once they are exposed as fools while true believers like this President stand fast even as reality around them crumbles. Bush cannot be brushed aside so quickly because he stubbornly refuses to apologize and admit his mistakes; he believes in his God-given infallibility in all situations. Just recently Bush said “We’re kicking ass” in Iraq; juxtapose that comment with General Patraeus, who told Congress that he doesn’t know if The Surge is making America safer, and it becomes clear that Bush’s ignorance is more sickening than comedic.
No, with all that has transpired these last few years, it’s obvious this president is emulating a Shakespearian tragedy. In fact, the more I think about it, the more this presidency reminds me of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Macbeth’s fatal deed, from which there was no return, was killing King Duncan. When we look back to Bush’s legacy, it’s clear that his downfall began with his ill-advised decision to invade Iraq, which ultimately derailed the war on terror, spurred anti-American sentiment around the world, contributed to a soaring budget deficit, and made us less safe here at home.
Furthermore, in the Scottish play, Shakespeare vividly describes the disillusionment that ensnares Macbeth as he sees his na’ve dreams shatter before his eyes:
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.”
This same disillusionment is palpable in the Bush administration, as the president slowly realizes his na’ve dreams of a rebuilt Iraq and permanent Republican majority at home crushed upon the very weight of his own incompetence and impulsiveness.
Like Macbeth, Bush is staggering to his own “dusty” political death, as even he acknowledges that he is trying to “run out the clock” on his opponents. In addition, at Karl Rove’s resignation press conference, the president said that “I’ll be joining (Karl) soon;” mind you, there are more than 400 days left in the man’s presidency.
Granted this analogy to Shakespeare is not without flaws. Most obvious is that Macbeth’s fall from grace was largely because of his wife, Lady Macbeth, who had convinced Macbeth to kill King Duncan. Certainly, I am not suggesting that Laura Bush was the one whispering mischievous thoughts into the president’s ear when it came to invading Iraq; that “Lady Macbeth” role is of course reserved for Dick Cheney.
Patrick Molnar is a business junior and the liberal columnist for the Mustang Daily.