02 Dec 2008

George W. Bush: Too Nice To Be President?

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Larrey Anderson, at American Thinker, makes an argument that I basically agree with.

George W. Bush’s presidency has been a disaster for the Republican Party, and for Conservatism, and ironically the unhappy result has much more to do with what George W. Bush failed to do than with anything he did. The Bush presidency was discredited not by defeat abroad or the results of his own policies at home. George W. Bush’s reputation and capacity to govern was destroyed by the ceaseless attacks of his political enemies which succeeded because he failed in any way effectively to respond.

Bush never satisfactorily explained why Iraq and not Syria (or Saudi Arabia, for that matter). He accepted the theory that no Iraqi WMD ever existed, refusing to discuss the truck convoys departing over the Syrian border. He allowed opponents within the Intelligence Community to leak National Security information without response, and he even allowed the same group to turn identification of one of their number by a third party into a national scandal resulting in the indictment and conviction on a preposterous basis of the Vice Presidential Chief of Staff. He tamely bowed his head and accepted all the blame for the disaster in New Orleans, refusing to identify the impact of state and local incompetence and corruption in a situation in which both played the key role.

Perhaps, on the day Machiavelli’s The Prince came up for discussion in Political Theory 101 at Yale, good old George was partying at Deke. Or, perhaps, even more likely, George W. Bush is ethically inhibited from implementing the wisdom of the Florentine cynic by his authentic commitment to Christianity and his resolute determination to keep turning the other cheek.

Conservatism needs a fresh start. It is losing arguments … and it is losing elections. One person, more than any other (even more than John McCain), has caused this: President George W. Bush.

Conservatives have not been winning arguments — or elections — by defending President Bush and his record. We have been, repeatedly, thumped rhetorically and electorally in our efforts to support his policies. It is time for conservatives to move on.

George W. Bush is undoubtedly a sincere man. He is, in all probability, a good man. His dramatic conversion to Christianity indicates that he, at least at this point in his life, is a man of high moral principles. He is compassionate. And therein lies the problem: President Bush was too compassionate to be a good president.


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