A Drunk at the Wheel

It may seem too easy to make this judgment based on his history but the clearest remedy I see for Mr. Bush is Alcoholus. It is well known that in a previous era of his life Bush was a heavy drinker and would be classified as an alcoholic. He only gave up drink at the age of 40. However, that alone does not make the case for his remedy. It is more significant if we study both his behavior and the image of the remedy.

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle also made this connection, looking at his behavior as a classic "dry drunk". The article states that long-term alcohol and other drug use changes the chemistry of the brain. There is a tendency to rigidity in thinking and polarized thinking with obsessive repetition. There is an exaggerated self-importance and grandiose behavior. This is exampled by his statements about regime change and the sense of a divine mission to punish evil, with language such as "axis of evil", and describing the war on Iraq as a "crusade." Another characteristic of a dry drunk is all or nothing thinking. Everything is seen in black and white, "youre either with us or youre against us" etc. The author of the article explains that Bushs obsession with Iraq in part stems from his struggles growing up in the shadow of his father. When sent to the same school his father went to, the younger Bush became better known for his pranks and then his alcohol bouts and arrests, not to mention his cocaine use. So, his obsession with Iraq was an opportunity to complete the job his father didnt do, partly to redeem his father and also partly to show his father what he was made of.

In the homeopathic picture of alcoholus, one of the key symptoms is witty and jesting. Like the affable drunk at the bar, the person needing alcohol can be very humorous. This is a key characteristic of Bush. He has always been a prankster and even now you see that smirk on his face. It is far less than it used to be, obviously being tightly controlled, but Bush is very much the joker. In fact he has turned it into a political asset as his humor and affability can be disarming to his political opponents. Another article on Bush, printed in the Atlantic Monthly also focused on this part of his personality. He can actually be quite charming and approachable, another quality similar to the affable drunk.

Another key aspect of the alcoholus picture is a hard heartedness, a cruelty and unfeeling malicious nature. This is also part of Bushs make up. When Governor of Texas, a woman sentenced to death pleaded for her life and Bush was seen actually mimicking her pleas before refusing to commute her death sentence. She had been a model prisoner, had had a religious experience in prison and seemed profoundly different. Thousands of people spoke on her behalf but it made no difference. More people were executed in Texas when he was Governor than at any other time in its history. For all his shows of sincerity and caring, he has shown a very callous and calculated quality in dealing with many issues. His sense of caring is very simple. I think he really does care about things, especially when he can relate to them on a one to one level, like the suffering of a particular person, but he does not have the ability to have compassion and care on a larger level. He cannot see outside the context of his own situation. His caring is connected to his own personal feelings. Similar to the alcoholic, his own immediate needs and concerns are of utmost significance.

One more theme found in Alcoholus is a lack of moral feeling. Whilst Bush puts everything in the context of a black and white religious morality, his overemphasis on morality as the basis for his actions and policies can be interpreted to mean the reverse. It means that deep down, he lacks a true morality; his morality being contingent on an religious belief, his own religious conversion revealing a need for some "moral" support when in the midst of his actual alcoholism and moral vacuum. Many writers have described the peculiar moral tone to much of his language. While identifying it as an influence of his religious beliefs, we can put it into a broader context of the Alcoholus state, the vibration of the remedy being seen in Bushs language and the broader dominion of his presidency and current American policy.

One obvious characteristic of Bushs that has been widely written about is his language ability. His tendency to slur, to confuse his words, to mix syllables and generally sound simplistic and incoherent is well known. In the rubrics of Alcoholus it states - speech confused, hasty, incoherent, inconsiderate; thoughts wandering, rapid; dullness; prostration of mind.

There is a lot of potential violence in Alcoholus. Like the alcoholic who suddenly can turn from being nice to being aggressive, often described by Alcohol patients themselves as like Jeckyl and Hyde, the Alcohol patient can have a desire to kill, to be angry and violent for the least offence. Bush does not show this side of the alcohol picture, but it has to be said that the amount of violence that has occurred since he has become President perhaps reveals the broader dynamics of the Alcoholus state.

To take that thinking one stage further, whatever the external reasons are to explain what has happened in America since 9/11, the "gestalt" or state that has been created is one of fear, the country being gripped by a fear of terrorists, of being poisoned by chemical weapons or blown up by a bomb. Many people feel this fear is deliberately being exploited by the Bush regime, keeping the people in a siege of permanent war, and therefore justifying draconian curtailment of civil liberties. This is a well-known strategy, ironically one that the Nazis used to good effect after 1933 when the Reichstag was blown up. Connecting this to the remedy Alcohol, it has the delusion that he is insulted, that he is pursued by murderers, by robbers and by the police. There is a strong paranoid quality in the Alcohol picture.

Finally, it has been well documented that the Republican Party and Bush did not win the 2000 election. Over 57,000 votes were removed from the Florida register, mainly blacks and poor whites, and when they turned up to vote, they were sent away. This fact has been written extensively about in the book "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," by Greg Palast. An American reporter, based in England, he couldnt even get this news published in US papers, whilst it was happening! The deleted list was classified as felons, who strangely, even after completing their sentence, still cannot vote. However, the vast majority of these people were not felons at all. This fact relates to one other key symptom of the Alcoholus picture - liar. The person needing Alcoholus, similar to that of Morphinum and Opium will do and say anything to get what they want. The lack of morality is such that they are disconnected to their true selves and are acting from a state of extreme self-centeredness and ultimately delusion. This may be described as being a characteristic of many politicians but the example above was unique in modern American history.

This picture I have drawn of the President portrays him as an unhealthy man, not physically but spiritually. I think he is in a Jeckyl and Hyde state, where he is deeply disconnected to his own soul, and is acting from a dark place, his character contaminated by a history of alcoholism, drug use and emotional instability, and also being part of a family that has had many dark connections for generations. As Alcoholus is part of the syphilitic miasm, it would also explain the level of violence and death that has surrounded his presidency and also his family past.

It is a strange irony that in a country with its history of prohibition and the consequent violence from that, conjoined with the still prevalent Puritanism in its society, we have a President who shows all the signs of still being an alcoholic.

In fact, it could be said that the roots of prohibition are alive and well today - some states still have dry spots where Alcohol is not available - and which are connected closely to the puritanical vision in American society. It could be said that both parts are of the same miasm, which remains unresolved in the American psyche and is revealed in the social and political expression of American society. This vision and that of the Alcoholus picture is dominated by a very simple morality - good and evil, black and white, right and wrong. John Ashcroft, the Attorney General reveals another piece in the spectrum of this symptom picture; the fundamentalist lay preacher, abstemious, righteous and cruel, the perfect polarity to the wayward indulgences of Bush the sinner before his redemption as leader of the free world.