Saturday, January 26, 2008

Politico Palmetto

The South Carolina Democratic primary is today. I know Aunt Mel & Uncle Dude will be voting for their candidates today and may be happy that all the television cameras & media attention will be leaving the state after today. Amy & I look forward to watching the returns tonight and the gear-up for Florida in a few days and Super Tuesday the following week. The political season is certainly heating up.

On a similar political note, there is a book excerpt n the current Newsweek about the Bush presidency. When I started reading it, I thought, "Ok, just another Bush bashing book -- get in line." But this one -- at least from the excerpt -- really seems to go deeper and examine Bush's struggles in his search for a doctrine and a legacy greater than his father's.

A really interesting critique.
At a temperamental level, the president has almost no ability to accept blame or learn from mistakes. Disagreement, whether from critics or allies, sounds like his mother's nagging and his father's disappointment. Thus criticism has the opposite of its intended effect on him. Disapproval hardens Bush's conviction that he must be right and reinforces his refusal to surrender. Believing he earned his position in life through willpower, he feels he shouldn't have to ask anyone for permission. This obstinacy has been evident in his personnel practices as well as policy choices. The more the media demanded Bush yield up a head—CIA Director George Tenet, Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales—the longer that person was likely to be staying around.

Bush's inflexibility is rooted in the old family drama. It reflects not just a personality forged in opposition to his father, but an idea of leadership developed in conscious contrast to him. Where George H. W. Bush weighed options, W. sizes you up and decides. Where 41 saw shades of gray, 43 finds moral clarity. "The son prides himself on being the guy who cuts through it all, who is decisive, not wishy-washy,"

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