I just read Sheryl Stolberg’s “In Final Months in Office, Bush Is Burdened but Still Confident” in today’s NYT. Stolberg reports that Bush claims to be pleased that he is in charge during the current financial crisis since he has a great team working on it. The implication is clearly that he and his people will be better able to deal with things than the next president.

My first reaction, on hearing about this article, was outrage: you mean Bush isn’t racked by a sense of dismal failure? He isn’t hyper-aware of his own stunning inadequacy? Even these last eight years haven’t made a dent in his self-love? Here is a mass murderer who is about to leave office with a life-long pension and a hand-shake from the next president. If he is to be subject to no punishment from without, the very least karma requires is that he be tormented within.

But a closer look at the article suggests a more complicated picture. For even though he is said to be happy to be in charge, he is also reported as being happy that he will soon finish his term. But if someone is really happy to be in charge in a crisis, because they think that they are best able to deal with it, they should be unhappy to think that they will not be around to finish the job. What Stolberg’s report suggests to me is that Bush is not really as serene as, apparently, he thinks himself to be. And that’s good.

By the way, we now have a scientific way of measuring how bad Bush is. Last Thursday, October 10th, Bush spoke to the country for eight minutes to reassure us that he and his government were taking care of the economic debacle that is America today. During those eight minutes, the Dow went down 107 points (h/t to Amanda Terkel of Think Progress). So:

I minute of Bush = (roughly) -13.4 points on the Dow.

Quod erat demonstrandum.