Faces of arrogance... and ineptitude

It was over three centuries ago that Samuel Butler, the great English poet and satirist, gave us a genuine pearl of wisdom when he wrote that “the truest characters [characteristics] of ignorance are vanity, pride and arrogance.”

For eighteen months now, running time-parallel to our epic in Iraq , I have been receiving a wealth of caricatures of the personages that have, or had, key roles in this tragic play. All these caricatures have a commonality in their faces: arrogance.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these characterizations has been the use of a number of adjectives accompanying the word arrogance, and their assignation to Bush and those in his inner circle of power or, in some cases, to those cheerleading his cause in Congress.

Here is the collage I put together from the hundreds of e-mails received on the subject.

Starting at the very top with the Commander-In-Chief, most appropriate title in a bellicose nation, the most eloquent characterization for his arrogance comes from an English professor at a German gymnasium who describes Bush’s demeanor as one enveloped in “moronic arrogance.” My professor friend further defines the term as “imbecilic lordliness full of presumption.”

As for Bush’s mentor, Cheney, I found the most apropos description for his type of arrogance in an Italian cartoon which depicted the Vice President pulling the strings of his puppet-protégé. It portrayed a picture of malefic superciliousness (my translation). The cartoon’s author named it “mephistophelean arrogance” while asking forgiveness from the devil for doing so.

The cabinet member given the most “e-mail press” was, as one would expect, Bush’s “Secretary of Wars,” Rumsfeld. The perfect postcard of haughtiness and condescending overbearing ness, Rummy exemplifies and defines arrogance itself. Over a year ago I recognized that, and took then the liberty of coining the term “Rumsfeldian arrogance” which to me encompassed then, as it does now, an attitude of scornful superiority, pomposity, presumptuous behavior, conceit and insolence. One could hardly call this constant attacker, Secretary of Defense. I cannot conceive, at least for now, a greater arrogance than that exhibited by the Pentagon chief.

Among those neo-conservative Republicans cheerleading Bush in his empire-building efforts, and who bring arrogance to its loftiest level, is none other than the junior senator from Oklahoma , the conservatives’ conservative, Jim Inhofe. His remarks this past week dealing with the abuse of prisoners in Iraq could not have been more offensive to any citizen of the human race, never mind America . Deservedly, he has earned the ultimate adjective to his type of arrogance… “nazi arrogance” seems to be accurately descriptive of the way his uncalled for verbalization was seen. “A portrait of ignorance, disdain and unashamed hate,” was the description given by an expatriate from Tulsa who was acquainted with him when Inhofe was governor of the Sooner state. But Inhofe does not need to be socio-politically correct in his remarks since his aspirations are not likely to be denied by his Oklahoman constituency. Sad!

Arrogance seems to be the common denominator of those who now govern America , not just in aspects of foreign policy but domestic policy as well. But arrogance does not stop there… it has infected, and taking hold, of the rank and file of the Republican party to the point where rhyme and reason have little weight, and adherence to the leadership of the party appears complete and total.

Is there anything that could decimate such a large portion of the American citizenry from embracing the leadership of the extreme right? After all, the current approval rating of 42% for Bush is stratospherically high for a nation in shambles after the ransacking done by his administration. I believe that Bush’s Achilles heel is ineptitude. Those around him… cabinet members, advisers and administrators have proven to be inept to the nth degree. Rummy, Condoleeza, Bremer et al has given the keystone cops hope for dramatic roles.

Americans may tolerate a government of nazi arrogance but not ineptitude.