The Decider With the 'Yee Haw' Aesthetic

Blumenthal connects the dots from cowboy art to Abu Ghraib
By Sarah Seltzer,  Newser User
Posted Apr 26, 2007 10:01 AM CDT
Blumenthal: Bush imagines himself a lone cowboy, running against the wind.   (

(Newser) – You can learn a lot from the art in someone's office, says Sidney Blumenthal, even the oval one. George Bush's prized painting of cowboys riding into the unseen helps explain his "stay the course" mentality, while a painting of the Alamo feeds W's evangelically inflected insistence on a "fight to the finish."

Blumenthal deconstructs Bush's own tour of the sappy White House art. The president's wild west aesthetic and the equation of terrorists with outlaw bandits, he argues, have justified torture and an endless war: "Under Bush, kitsch has been transformed from sentimentality into sadomasochism."