Tony is the word for the Vineyard — style uber alles: In Chilmark, it’s Birkenstocks, creased shorts, a well-worn T-shirt and — to top it all off — a low-brow Red Sox cap. Anti-Bush stickers stare at you from rear bumpers while Obama rules the road from every Jeep and SUV, not to mention the occasional (and embarrassing) Hummer. While the whole island tilts left, if you’re really a committed radical-left politico, you have no choice but to reside in up-island Chilmark, where the Far Left, still obsessed with dragging the Bush/Cheney duo into Federal Court, spends its summers.National Review describes Savodnik as "a seasonal resident of Martha’s Vineyard," from which we may assume that he is a glutton for punishment, or perhaps a claimant to the journalistic throne of Alan Bromley.
In fairness, the Doctor shows more allegiance to Edgartown, which he finds "less ideological and quintessentially New England" than Chilimark -- home of former prosecutor Linda Fairstein -- and where he "had the strange experience of nearly running into a post-jog, diaphoretic Bill Clinton with my bike, which evoked a nervous smile on my face and a full body tremor that propelled me all the way home," which he may feel strengthens, in a projective way, his standing to psychoanalyze the current President from a distance:
It’s not the sharp difference of opinion between the president and the public that has hurt him. It’s how he thinks. Barack Obama thinks differently from Bill Clinton. He’s more doctrinaire, passionate about his ideas, fixated on a single path for the country. He ran as a man above the fray, the man who ushered us into post-racial America. Unlike Clinton, Obama looks to a hardened ideology that draws its inspiration from the storming of the Bastille, a Rousseauian social contract, and the dialectical struggle between the haves and have-nots...Dr. Savodnik has come a long way from 2004, when he said about a similar attempt to shrink George Bush:
The president chose Chilmark for his well-earned vacation because that’s where the utopians go. And like many utopians, he wants to transform all of us into the idealized participants of his dream. I suspect he hears his inner voice more loudly than he hears the shouting crowds of unruly moms, grandmas, and sick kids. It would be best for his presidency if he were to put a lid on that voice and tune in to what the cheering and jeering off-island crowds are telling him. Were he to hear them, he might learn some deep truths about the people over whom he presides and -- most importantly -- about himself.
[Bush on the Couch author Dr. Justin] Frank acknowledges he never met Bush, much less interviewed him on his couch. There is not an ounce of psychoanalytic material in the entire book... Frank justifies his method with the argument that others, such as Jerrold M. Post, have conducted 'at-a-distance leader personality assessments.' Freud himself tried it, when he collaborated with the journalist William Bullitt on a book about Woodrow Wilson, but it was, to say the least, not a high point of Freud's career... Mostly, though, Frank is blind to the underlying silliness of his enterprise.Again in fairness, while Dr. Frank has put in some time in D.C., he shows no evidence of having vacationed in Crawford, Texas, and thus had not the geographical excuse for at-a-distance leader personality assessment that Dr. Savodnik has.
Also, even before Dr. Savodnik dismissed Frank's analysis of Bush, he felt comfortable explaining that Howard Dean's scream was "signaling of primitive emotional states," proving that "were [Dean] to become president, we would be besieged with dangers" and that as President he "would disorganize and abandon us to our deepest anxieties." Which even non-professionals may recognize as a cry for help.