Madness on the World Stage

by Roy Charles Henry

A play worth writing:  set in the White House

Themes and quotes: Does history repeat itself? “The Bush administration opened with a second Pearl Harbor [9-ll], ended with a second Great Crash [the Great Recession beginning in 2008] and contained a second Vietnam [Iraq and Afghanistan] in the middle.”

Some of the Characters:

  • President Bush: “‘You know’ he recalled, ‘when I made the decision on Iraq, I went around the room to everybody at that table, every principal. You in? Any doubts? Nothing from anybody.’”
  • Joe O’Neill: “His successes and his failures through all the days of fire were his own. ‘He’s his own man,’ said Joe O’Neill, his lifelong friend. ‘He’s got the mistakes to prove it, as we always say. He was his own man.’”
  • Interviewer: “Looking back, what surprised you most about being President of the U.S?”
  • President Bush: “How little authority I have.”

Core idea: The madness of P-B in the White House

“[President Bush learned that] in a moment of crisis, the powers of the White House expand, but normal politics soon reassert themselves. Then a president finds his job has shrunk to cajoling a recalcitrant Congress, exhorting an indifferent public and reconciling warring factions within an administration, where he takes the blame for actions over which he had no control and that he probably would have opposed had he been given any advance notice of them.”

At a dinner at the White House with Condoleezza Rice
seated next to President Bush seated next to Morgan Freeman

“Morgan Freeman attended a reception at the White House. Bush cited the actor’s many credits, including Deep Impact, in which Freeman played a president confronted by a civilization-ending comet-strike against the earth. ‘About the only thing that hasn’t happened in the last eight years,’ he ad-libbed. When he took his seat again, [Condoleezza] Rice leaned over. ‘Don’t tempt fate,’ she said. ‘We’ve still got a few weeks left.’”

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References and notes are available for this essay.
Find a much more in-depth discussion on this blog and in printed books by Roy Charles Henry.

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