Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Angela's Massage

George's neck massage of German Prime Minister Angela Merkel at the G-8-- Was it appropriate? No, but the insight that it gives us into George Bush is important. Bush looked almost as uncomfortable in giving the little message as Merkel did in receiving it. According to Newsweek, Bush is always uncomfortable in these formal meetings with other leaders and doesn't act like himself until he gets in one on one meetings where he can "dominate."

Bush has always had a thing for physical domination. He's in awe of the domination that top athletes like Nolan Ryan exercise over other major leaguers and was fascinated by Ryan's punch-out of Robin Ventura while Bush owned the Texas Rangers. But he's never been physically dominant himself. George Bush is a relatively small, not particularly coordinated guy, not particularly hard-working guy who never played competitive football, basketball, or basketball and even lost at a racquet sport to radical clergyman William Sloane Coffin while at Yale. This is part of Bush's uncomfortableness with himself. Impelled toward domination but unable to dominate until he was elected Governor of Texas, Bush is uncomfortable in his own skin and uncomfortable with others.

With Merkel, I think Bush was trying to make himself comfortable with her, trying to be friendly, by establishing a physical domination over her that he could not do with the men in the room. In this way, Bush was singling Merkel out as a woman, but treating her the way he wanted to treat the men as well. Bush wanted Merkel to be "Angie baby" the same way he's made Karl Rove into "turd blossom" and the best way he could do so was to physically grab her.

And it worked! Merkel initially froze and tried to repel the neck massage, but relaxed and eventually smiled after she saw it was Bush. That "well, I guess it's okay even though I would have been extremely angry if it were anybody else" smile was an indication that she accepted the massage as long as it was from Bush. In other words, she accepted his physical domination. Bush was on his way to creating his kind of friendship with her.

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