Monday, March 8, 2004

The Best Intentions – The Worst Results

William Saletan from Slate:

How can Kerry persuade moderates to throw out Bush? By turning the president’s message against him. Bush is steady and principled. He believes money is better spent by individuals than by the government. He believes the United States should assert its strength in the world. He believes public policy should respect religious faith. Most Americans share these principles and think Bush is sincere about them. The problem Bush has demonstrated in office is that he has no idea how to apply his principles in a changing world. He’s a big-picture guy who can’t do the job.

From foreign to economic to social policy, Bush’s record is a lesson in the limits and perils of conviction. He’s too confident to consult a map. He’s too strong to heed warnings and too steady to turn the wheel when the road bends. He’s too certain to admit error, even after plowing through ditches and telephone poles. He’s too preoccupied with principle to understand that principle isn’t enough. Watching the stars instead of the road, he has wrecked the budget and the war on terror. Now he’s heading for the Constitution. It’s time to pull him over and take away the keys.

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President Bush. Strength and confidence. Steady leadership in times of change. He knows exactly where he wants to lead this country. And he won’t let facts, circumstances, or the Constitution get in his way.

He reminds me of at least one other historical figure who was absolutely confident he was on the right course: Captain Edward Smith of the Titanic.