Poppy Comes to W. in Nightmare
This scene is a nightmare created by the screenwriter. But it represents a probable, psychological truth of the relationship between Bush father and son.
Neither Bush Sr. nor W. are particularly introspective men, but W. is definitely even less self-reflective than his father. He denounces any discussion of his motives or inner life as "psychobabble." (See "First Son," Minutaglio, page 226)
Bush Sr. grew up the dutiful son of an imperious and demanding father, Prescott, who made even his own family address him as "Senator." But George H. W. Bush was a star -- war hero, baseball champion, Phi Beta Kappa and Skull and Bones at Yale. His son, W., grew up in Poppy's shadow -- he made gentleman's "C's" at Yale, he was a cheerleader and not a champion athlete, he got into Skull and Bones as a "legacy," he avoided fighting in the Vietnam War by joining the "Champagne Unit" of the Texas Air National Guard (with the help of his father's political friends). He became an oil man without much success (his father's friends and contacts bailed him out.) And he drank too much until he was 40.
Not exactly the recipe for success later in life. And his family, particularly his father and mother (who had essentially raised the Bush sons with an "acerbic and biting tongue" while their father was away politicking) recognized this. They had a hard time believing that George W. would ever amount to anything.
W., however, always had the swagger, even an outlandish sense of himself. He was a "natural political animal" as Karl Rove spotted early on. "He was, Rove said, 'the kind of candidate and officeholder political hacks like me wait a lifetime to be associated with." ("First Son," Minutaglio, page 308)
Others saw in him what his family could not or would not.
But it left him in a position of constantly trying to outdo his father, when he didn't have the intellectual tools to do it.
And, partially because of George W. Bush's envy and jealousy of his own father and his desire to out-do him, we have had the disastrous War on Iraq.
It was by any rational or neutral account, an "unnecessary and preemptive war." There proved to be no WMD's, no real threat to the American national security, and no connection between either Saddam or Iraq and al-Queda and the 19 terrorists who attacked America on 9/11 (15 out of the 19 known terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, our putative ally).
So, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, George Tenet, Condaleezza Rice, and, yes, even Colin Powell have been proven to be terribly wrong about the need to preemptively attack Iraq and to waste America's fortunes in an unfortunate and unnecessary war.
Bush Sr.'s best friend and national security advisor is Brent Scowcroft (who wrote that op-ed in the "Wall Street Journal" -- "Don't Attack Saddam" on August 15, 2002. He undoubtedly had Poppy's ear and approval for that article -- as W. suspected.)
Scowcroft on Bush Father-Son Relationship
"Most distressing to Scowcroft was to see his good friend and former leader Bush senior, "41," as Scowcroft called him in "agony," "anguished" and "tormented" by the war and what had happened afterward. It was terrible. The father still wanted his son to succeed. But what a tangled relationship! In his younger years, Scowcroft thought, George W. couldn't decide whether he was going to rebel against his father or try to beat him at his own game. Now, he had tried at the game, and it was a disaster. Scowcroft was sure that 41 would never have behaved this way - "not in a million years." (Bob Woodward, "State of Denial," page 420)
Baker in Bush's Nightmare
The "Baker" that Poppy refers to is James A. Baker, III, who served as Secretary of State under Bush Senior. Baker served as chief legal adviser for George W. Bush during the 2000 election campaign and oversaw the Florida recount. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Baker)