Slack-jawed Disbelief

Slack-jawed disbelief. That's the only way I can describe the looks I got the other night when I dared to say something that I admired in the character of George W Bush. The proverbial pin drop could have been heard, but for the red roaring in the ears of some from the sudden spike in their blood pressure. What was this trait?

While I think he often took it to extremes, I do admire the fact that George W Bush did not always bow to the fickle will of the people while President. This despite the fact that his refusals usually coincided with him doing something with which I violently disagreed. But that is in fact the job of a President in a Republic. We vote for a block of someone's time and efforts. If we don't like what they do with that block, we are free to vote against them next time. We don't get to vote on every issue that arises during that time. If we did, there'd be no need for representatives. That is what Congress is for. Yes, one can attempt to govern using polling numbers and an obsession with consensus building that would warm the cockles of any corporate middle manager. But leadership is often about making a clear decision regardless of the din of voices surrounding you. It's realizing that every voice in the argument does not hold equal value - realizing that a big tent usually holds a lot of narrow self-interests, a generous filling of ignorance and a not a few stupid ones. Go to any local school board hearing and you'll see what I mean. Now multiply that a hundred million times and that's the world of the American President. Sometimes, for better or worse, the business of the nation requires that someone cuts through the morass to be the decider.


Jared said...

Actually, I did rather think this would be one redeeming aspect if his decisions weren't so damned ignorant of scientific fact. Then again, a scientifically minded and brutally honest individual stands no chance of being elected to any office in this country; they "aren't nice."

Randolph Ness for president!

Jared said...


Anonymous said...

Wholeheartedly agree with your argument. I don't suppose they realized that it didn't really have anything to do with GW Bush, he was just your example.

Which reminded me that I was proud of Obama's frankness about the US in some of his speeches.

And some conservatives say "Oh, how dare he?!"

Why? Do you really have a reason other than a desire for your type of partisan platitudes to come rolling off of his tongue?

Michael Lockridge said...

I would hope we would not have to agree with someone to admire them or something they do.

Hitler was a genius. Granted, an evil genius, and there were a lot of holes in his thinking. However, it is hard to seize control of a country and drive a broken nation to world dominance. He certainly had a skill set beyond anything I see in myself.

Bush was not a genius, but he seemed to have an integrity that was internally consistent with his world view. It certainly is not the integrity I embrace, as I equate integrity with truth. I have been told that my view is too narrow.

Do I admire Hitler? I hate to say yes, because that is not entirely accurate. I would love to say no, but that would not be true.

Perhaps Bush is a bit more, uh, safe. I do admire some aspects of Bush. Like Hitler, however, I could easily wish he had not been.

Being human, being part of human culture, is always so damned complicated.

Asylum Seeker said...

Heh. I might have been left dumbstruck myself, though I do agree: having a leader who becomes paralyzed with doubt at the slightest bit of people disagreeing with him is hardly a good thing. Though, arguably, it may have actually been a good thing in Bush's case, considering that he was consistent in boldly charging off in the wrong direction. Guess it depends on whether the disagreement that paralyzes you actually has merit...