September 13, 2006

News analysis: President Bush relying increasingly on the “Holden Caufield Defense”

Posted in political satire at 3:40 am by thewashingtonbeltsider


President Bush has been relying increasingly on what is being called a “Holden Caufield Defense” in arguing with critics about the justification for his policies in Iraq and in the war on terror. Holden Caufield is the lead character in JD Salinger’s landmark work, “The Catcher in the Rye,” about another starry-eyed dreamer with a problem misinterpreting what he sees and hears. “They knew what I knew, they saw what I saw, and they came to the same conclusions. Therefore, my critics are all acting like a bunch of phonies,” is, in effect, the very problem Holden Caufield criticized his opponents for: knowledge of what he knows without taking the action he would take.

Political psychologist Narin Fields of Harvard says “In national domestic, but especially foreign affairs, the ‘I’m always right’ stance is an approach that is less able to sway adversaries than ones other chief executives have employed in their last terms in office.”


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