Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bush and Responsibility

Here are some excellent thoughts from a couple of Kevin Drum's commenters. First "cowalker" answering Kevin's question about the extent to which Presidents take responsibility:
I can't cite quotes, but I always got the feeling that Abraham Lincoln felt deeply responsible for his decision to fight a war to prevent the South's secession. I felt as though he actually engaged in soul-searching.

The thing is, I don't really care much about public breast-beating. It's more important to me that a leader recognize his/her mistakes in the privacy of his/her own mind, and correct them in the future! I don't think Bush is capable of this.

In my opinion, Bush is just reciting what Rove told him to say. Bush has no idea what he did that led to the tragic failure of FEMA to deal with the Katrina emergency. He does not understand that the "good people" he relies on to inform him of critical problems are partisan ideologues with poor qualifications. They have their own agenda. They just want to keep him pacified while they use him as a guy-you'd-like-to-have-a-beer-with figurehead while they plunder our nation like pirates and try to exploit America's position (dwindling as we blog) as the only remaining superpower.

Is he going to replace John Bolton? Gonzales? Rumsfeld? The myriad other appointments based on cronyism rather than competence? I'll believe he understands his responsibility when I see action other than awarding huge, no-bid contracts to his cronies' companies.

Otherwise it's just more hot air.
Then "Scotian" reminding us of something that is easy to forget even though it was painfully obvious to those of us who watched 9/11 from abroad:
Something I think everyone needs to stop and remember is that Bush has gotten the free ride he has from so many that might otherwise think differently is because of that time. Americans were deeply emotionally wounded, and he became a necessary rallying point for all Americans (well, likely 90+ percent anyway). This also did create a powerful emotional bond for many Americans that otherwise would not give him any benefit of the doubt. His initial responses publicly to the attacks was measured, sensible and started off reasonably well executed. It was when the internal focus started shifting to Iraq and that resonated through the international community in terms of reduction of aid to Afghanistan where things started going off the rails, but by then the emotional bonding had really set in. This is why he was given so much benefit of the doubt for Iraq, despite the fact that the actual hard details, such as were able to be discovered that is, were more than a little shaky, especially on the key emotional turner nuclear weapons development.

I think though Katrina may have been sufficient to break that bonding, which will make the tactics Rove has used to such great success only further create more trouble for Bush and the GOP. Eventually the Dems will see the momentum and jump all over it, and then the bloodbath will begin I suspect. People have remarked that they feel like abused spouses with this President, they are unhappy with his choices and feel very taken advantage of for little to no feelable positive results/benefits yet continue to reluctantly support him and put on the brave face so as to not show weakness to the terrorists out there. I have always thought that he got truly special treatment and then exploited that for all it was politically worth over the next three years.

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