Sunday, October 17, 2004

Following suit

Everyone else in the blogosphere is talking about the Suskind article in the New York Times Magazine, so I might as well, too. The general idea is that Suskind is hitting at his "faith-based presidency." Even Kerry has taken shots at Bush for his certainty, saying that "You can be certain and be wrong." But Suskind is trying to get at more than just too much religiosity, which is how some are reading it. He's trying to get at a unique character flaw that Bush has, and by extension his staff, where he makes a a decision based on "instict" instead of on reality-based analysis. This, to me, is the most telling part of the 10,000-page tome, in Sen. Joe Biden's words:

Biden, who early on became disenchanted with Bush's grasp of foreign-policy issues and is among John Kerry's closest Senate friends, has spent a lot of time trying to size up the president. "Most successful people are good at identifying, very early, their strengths and weaknesses, at knowing themselves," he told me not long ago. "For most of us average Joes, that meant we've relied on strengths but had to work on our weakness - to lift them to adequacy - otherwise they might bring us down. I don't think the president really had to do that, because he always had someone there - his family or friends - to bail him out. I don't think, on balance, that has served him well for the moment he's in now as president. He never seems to have worked on his weaknesses."
That bit serves as central theme of the article, though everyone else is focusing on either a quote from Christie Todd-Whitman or a paragraph on making reality. I think this graf from Biden really gets at what Suskind is saying in a better, more direct way, though. You should rally read the whole article for yourself. It takes a while, but it really is worth it. There is some stuff in there I really think people should be reminded of, especially Bush disengaging from te Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his first Nation Security Council meeting over objections raised by Powell.

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