Dud of Personality

Barron YoungSmith pulls the file on Mr. Congeniality:

The lede of a June 28, 2000 piece in the New York Times:

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.

And today:

Saudi Arabia’s leaders made clear Friday they see no reason to increase oil production until customers demand it, apparently rebuffing President Bush amid soaring U.S. gasoline prices.

It was Bush’s second personal appeal this year to King Abdullah, … But Saudi officials stuck to their position that they will only pump more oil into the system when asked to by buyers, something they say is not happening now, the president’s national security adviser told reporters.

Either the original theory was wrong, or George isn’t as charming as he thinks he is…

Charm is a great way for the otherwise powerless to gain power, but when the powerful lose power, charm is often useless at getting it back. (Bill Clinton once disproved this rule, but then he lost his charm.) Elsewhere I just finished observing that

the only reason why Bush’s request was begging was that Bush is pathetic and nobody needs to listen to him anymore, even our bosom Saudi buddies. Any President with an ounce of clout and gravitas could have discovered a way, by hook or by crook, to get even a symbolic increase in oil production with at least his public honor intact. Not George.