George Bush, visionary
CAUTION: Reader discretion advised. Contains quotes that may induce vomiting. The writers of this blog cannot be held accountable for any physical, mental, or emotional illness that may result from reading this entry.
As part of his recent efforts to legitimize his presidency and boost his approval ratings, President Bush invited a few select (right-wing) columnists to interview him in the Oval Office. NY Times columnist David Brooks was among them. Judging by his embarrassingly starry-eyed gushings, Brooks must have wet his pants before, during, and after the interview. Here are a few excerpts. Remember, you've been warned - you might want to grab a flight sickness bag.
"A leader's first job is to project authority, and George Bush certainly does that. In a 90-minute interview with a few columnists in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Bush swallowed up the room, crouching forward to energetically make a point or spreading his arms wide to illustrate the scope of his ideas - always projecting confidence and intensity.
* * *
"The other striking feature of his conversation is that he possesses an unusual perception of time. Washington, and modern life in general, encourages people to think in the short term. But Bush, who stands aloof, thinks in long durations.
"'I got into politics initially because I wanted to help change a culture,' he says, referring to his campaign against the instant gratifications of the 1960's counterculture. And he sees his efforts today as a series of long, gradual cultural transformations. Like many executives, he believes that the higher you go, the further into the future you should see, and so his conversation is filled with speculations about the long-term effects of deep social trends - the current religious awakening or the politics of volunteer armies.
* * *
"Sitting between busts of Lincoln and Churchill, he continued, 'My hope is to leave behind something - foundations and institutions that will enable future presidents to be able to more likely make the tough decisions that they're going to have to make.'
"'Ideological struggles take time,' he said, explaining the turmoil in Iraq and elsewhere. He said the events of weeks or months were just a nanosecond compared with the long course of this conflict. He was passionate on the need for patience and steadfastness. He talked about 'inviolate' principles written upon his heart: 'People want you to change. It's tactics that shift, but the strategic vision has not, and will not, shift.'
* * *
"In other words, when Bush is strategizing goals, he is assertiveness on stilts. When he is contemplating means, he defers to authority.
"And the sad truth is, there has been a gap between Bush's visions and the means his administration has devoted to realize them. And when tactics do not adjust to fit the strategy, then the strategy eventually gets diminished to fit the tactics."
No, Mr. Brooks, it isn't that his administration has failed to realize Bush's visions; it's that his visions were failures to begin with.