"Good Dubya" vs. "Evil Dubya"
Remember the episode of classic Star Trek where there is a transporter accident and Captain Kirk gets divided into two people? One is the Good Kirk, the Kirk who has compassion and kindness for those around him. The other is the Evil Kirk, the Kirk who just wants to take what he wants and f*ck everyone elses feelings.
I am reminded of this episode while considering the possibility of a George W. Bush without Karl Rove.
Dubya, during his father's administration, had the job of "enforcer". It was his job to deliver the bad news and to come down hard on people who needed coming down hard on. And according to all reports I have read, Bush actually seemed to relish the job. There is a mean streak to Bush that reappears throughout his history. At least up until he was "born again" according to his hagiography. The story goes that when Bush "came to Jesus" he became a more peacable man. Put down the bottle. And started his elevation to the pinnacle of power he has reached today.
The only problem with this narrative is that, even if we concede the idea that Bush himself has personally reformed, he still surrounds himself with a posse of heavy hitters that are as mean a bunch of bastards as there is. And Karl Rove is the meanest of the mean bastards. Like his master Bush, Rove relishes the prospect of fucking over opponents. He lives for the kill. His mean streak puts even Bush's earlier reputation to shame.
Yet Bush, the godly man, keeps this little troll around. Worse, he allows Rove to essentially define the agenda that Bush will pursue. How does this reconcile with Bush's reformed image?
Well, it doesn't, at least to an outside observer. But it works fine for Dubya because Dubya has, in effect, split himself into two halves. There is the Good Dubya, who can be the humble leader of a great people. But there is also the Evil Dubya, who relishes a knock down fight that rubs his critic's faces in the dirt. Bush can't have Evil Dubya around if he is to main his image of himself as the good guy. So what does he do?
Easy, he hires a surrogate (Rove) to do all the mean and nasty things Bush would like to do himself but which just isn't allowed for a "good upstanding Christian man" like himself.
With Rove to act as his bastard Bush can continue on through life as the good one.
Which is why Bush is so stressed out at the prospect of losing Rove. If Rove goes away, Bush will either have to find a new bastard to match his innate mean streak (a tough call, even in Washington, D.C.) or he will have to re-incorporate that bastard side back into himself
Rove is the evil Bush. Bush wants to continue to be the good Bush. But he can't do that if he loses Rove.
No wonder he is stressed!
(Please note that while I use the term "Good Dubya" I don't mean to imply that I think Bush is actually a good guy. I am talking only about his own self-image. Bush is still a bastard. All this is just a psychological mechanism he uses to divorce himself from the responsibility for his mean side.)