Saturday, October 16

Faith Based Leadership

I have written on more than a few occasions that not only do I believe that bush runs a faith based presidency, but is also an end-timer, and likely expects Jesus to come back while on his watch. Basing policy and military decisions based on articles of faith, facts that don't fit the equation are easily discarded. A New York Times Magazine article sheds some light on this problem.
''Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .
Bingo, and the religious right in this country are equivalent to the Taliban, and hell bent on the establishment of a theocracy. When you think that you are working under orders from god, you simply don't have to agree with anyone.
''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''
This is precisely what make Bush such a horrible steward, and explains why we listen to the same things over and over again, as if bush believes that repetition will open our eyes to the "truth" he sees. A wonderful example of this blindness follows. When having a discussion about strategies for peace between the Palestinians and Istreali's, someone suggests using the Swedish Military to anchor a peace-keeping force. The president's responce?
''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.
Uhm, Mr preznit, I am sorry, but you are wrong. Later at the White House Christmas party Bush says:
The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. ''You were right,'' he said, with bonhomie. ''Sweden does have an army.''
I find it somewhat terrifying that I had a better grasp of geography in 3rd Grade than our president does now. The following sums up the problem of this faith based president perfectly.
This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker.
There is much much more, and I would suggest this as something that any of your remaining undecided friends should read.