Monday, January 15, 2007

George Bush: His greatest strength...

...we were told, was that he didn't overthink things. That he wasn't wishy-washy or flippy-floppy, and by God would not second guess decisions he'd made once he made them.

Bush: 'We're Going Forward' - washingtonpost.com: "'I began to think, well, if failure is not an option and we've got to succeed, how best to do so? And that's how I came up with the plan I did,' Bush said."


Still, at one time, a few years back, say; around 2002, 2003, there was a general, bipartisan feeling that he must actually think.

Left, right and center, we disputed the presumed basis of his thinking, argued the merits of evidence we assumed decisions were based upon, and again, left, right and center, made rational predictions as to the way forward or back based upon the best information we could come up with and our best understanding of our own ideological premises and those of our dissenting colleagues.

All of us have found ourselves looking like fools after presuming in public that whatever we thought of the President and his stated policies and beliefs, that he was sincere, the best informed person on the globe, and capable of putting two and two together to arrive eventually at four.

We were all wrong to the extent that we assumed his thinking was based upon noble goals, nefarious agendas, resource imperialism, the spreading of democracy, concern for human rights or even the desire to enslave every human being on the globe.

All of those goals - though ranging from silly to blackest evil - are based in some sort of sanity. The problem here is that we relied on a weak reed - and he snapped on 9/11. He was never the sharpest crayon in the box, Lord knows. Not the most incisive thinker, but we always presumed that he was amplifying his brains with the very impressive cerebellae that any President has at their beck and call. It never occurred to us that he was literally too stupid, mad or delusional to make sense of the advice given him, and we, in our need to have a good leader in such a time of crisis, turned a blind eye to the evidence of a man who's mind had gone - or was never there to begin with.

This whole situation boils down to his particular form of madness; an incapacity to take "no" for an answer or accept any limitations on his actions compounded with a complete inability to take real responsibility for the messes and mistakes he's made.

Even his most recent "assumption of responsibility" boiled down to "I got bad advice from The State Department."

You know, I generally work by the premise that you attack the position, not the person. I usually reject Ad Hominum attacks as invalid by definition.

But this is based on the unspoken assumption that the person HAS an argument based in a valid thought process that can be attacked or defended upon it's merits. This assumption has proven to be deadly. We have wasted six years believing there was a functioning, sane, rational brain attached to the hand upon the tiller. We have been governed and guided by the tics and twitches of an "intellectually challenged" madman surrounded by people with competing agendas and no leadership, trying desperately to rationalize his decisions after the fact.

From a perspective of principle and justice, I have favored impeaching the President - but now that I realize that he would have a legitimate defense of "diminished capacity," I realize this is a job that falls within the authority of the Surgeon General, not the Speaker of the House.

Those who are truly guilty are those who mindfully took advantage of a weak man - and that charge falls unerringly in Dick Cheney's lap. As do the consequences - to him personally and to the nation as a whole. As a nation and as a people, we have to come to terms with the fact that the good among us - and there are good amoung us of every political stripe - have done nothing useful to prevent evil from flourishing, because we have been seduced by partisanship and supposedly competing idiologies.

The saddest thing about this is that George W. Bush had all the advantages and experiences that make truly great presidents. He had personal contacts that are literally of strategic value. He had a family with unspeakable clout and experience. He had a Yale education and an inside track with both friends and foes. Most importantly, he'd been blessed with enough personal demons and occasions of failures to learn the many otherwise unteachable lessons truly great leaders need.

As philosophically partisan as I am and as little as I care for the "strict father" model of leadership that my philosophical opposites work from, I'd never say that it precludes good leadership, nor would I say it to be incomparable with coincidence or ethics. I just say that my way is inherently better, believing that sincerely to be arguably true.

What IS inarguable is that the strict father model requires far better, far wiser and far better informed leaders and followers than we have been given to rely upon. We are led by those who believe that Authority is both sacred and infallible.

As Dr. Phil would say: "How's that been workin' out for ya?"

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