The real reason Bush seems so resolute

Republicans admire, and in many cases literally adore, President Bush for his resoluteness, his unyielding and tenacious determination to “stay the course” no matter what. But what is the source of this power of will, this unchangeable quality that makes Bush seem so impressive to some minds? It occurs to me that the famous Bush strength is, at bottom, a compensation for an equally famous Bush weakness, namely his pathetically small stock of ideas and his tiny vocabulary, which leave him no choice, every time he opens his mouth, but to repeat himself, and repeat himself, and repeat himself yet again. Having only the same three or four phrases or ideas to communicate, over and over, and then over and over some more, no matter what the situation (and in contrast to the less limited and more changeable people around him) makes him seem, like Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,

constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.

In the same way, I would suggest, Bush’s woefully limited stock of factual knowledge and deficient sense of curiosity have led him, as he told Ron Suskind of the New York Times Magazine, to make momentous decisions based on gut instinct rather than a discursive and analytical thought process, and the same deficiency of thought also gives him his air of narrow-eyed, tough-guy decisiveness. As some French writer, probably La Rochefoucauld, no doubt says somewhere, that which men admire as strength of character is really just weakness of the head. Hey, that’s not bad. In fact, La Rochefoucauld did write something not unlike that: Nous aurions souvent honte de nos plus belles actions, si le monde voyait tous les motifs qui les produise. We would be ashamed of our finest actions, if people saw all the motives that produce them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 27, 2004 05:35 PM | Send

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