Friday, November 19, 2004

Pride Goeth

There are some conservatives whose opinion I respect and listen to, even if I may not agree with them. David Gergen is one of them. Read his column in today’s New York Times and see if you don’t agree with some of his points about the changes in the Bush administration.

The more immediate danger is that Mr. Bush and his troika are falling into a trap facing other re-elected presidents: hubris. When presidents win their first elections, they and their teams think they are king of the hill; when they win re-election, they too often think they are masters of the universe. As Richard Neustadt pointed out, even the best of modern presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, fell into the trap when he was first re-elected in 1936. He immediately started overreaching, as he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937 and tried to purge Southern Democrats in 1938. F.D.R. nearly did himself in during his second term.

In Mr. Bush’s case, his administration has already shown ominous signs of “group-think” in its handling of Iraq and the nation’s finances. By closing down dissent and centralizing power in a few hands, he is acting as if he truly believes that he and his team have a perfect track record, that they know best, and that they don’t need any infusion of new heavyweights. He has every right to take this course, but as he knows from his Bible, pride goeth before. …

Whether or not the president will listen is another thing. People on ego trips usually don’t.