salon premiumfind out morelog in

[ News & Politics ][ Opinion ][ Tech & Business ][ Arts & Entertainment ][ Books ][ Life ][ Comics ][ Audio ][ Dialogue ]

Article Finder



The inner W.
Three new psychological portraits of George W. Bush paint him as a control freak driven by rage, fear and an almost murderous Oedipal competition with his father. And that's before we get to Mom.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Laura Miller


June 16, 2004  |  Through a glass, darkly. That's how most Americans see the character and personality of George W. Bush. The only difference is the tint: Bush's supporters look at him through a rosy filter that makes him look like a man of moral fiber and resolve, unpretentious and commonsensical. His detractors see everything he does with a sallow brown tinge, tainted by greed, dishonesty, bellicosity, self-righteousness and ignorance. But even the most alarmist descriptions of him clash: The Bush-bashers' Bush is either a scheming, shameless champion of the rich and powerful or their empty-headed puppet, a soulless tool of corporate power or a religious fanatic convinced he's preparing the nation for the Second Coming. None of these versions jibes very well with the accounts of people who actually know him, and so -- once you step outside the cartoon universe of pure polemics -- Bush himself has never quite come into focus.

"Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President," by Justin Frank, a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center, is supposed to offer a more in-depth portrait. To say that it succeeds would be to give Frank and his publisher too much credit. This is a sloppily written and edited book, padded with repetitions and laced with dubious psychological theories. It is also -- despite Frank's avowed intention to "preserve a distinction between my personal questions about President Bush's politics and my psychoanalytic evaluation of his character," far too partisan a work to make any claim to being a judicious examination of Bush the man.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Want to read the whole article? You have two options: Subscribe now, or watch a brief ad and get a free day pass. If you're already a subscriber log in here.



Salon  Search  About Salon  Table Talk  Advertise in Salon  Investor Relations

News & Politics | Opinion | Tech & Business | Arts & Entertainment
Indie film | Books | Life | Comics | Audio | Dialogue
Letters | Columnists | Salon Gear

Reproduction of material from any Salon pages without written permission is strictly prohibited
Copyright 2004
Salon, 22 4th Street, 11th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone 415 645-9200 | Fax 415 645-9204
E-mail | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service