worst president update
The People's Republic of Seabrook comments on the quote by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas (Bush II: "worst President ever") I mentioned last week. There's commentary going on with regards to my earlier post, and in addition to that, Northstar raises an excellent point with regard to those who would dismiss Thomas's comments as those of just another liberal:
Helen Thomas has been covering the White House since 1961. Over those 42 years, she has seen Presidents come and go, and she's got a pretty good idea of what makes a good one. Sadly, Shrub, at least in her estimation, doesn't brgin to measure up. Far from it, in fact.
Yes, Thomas may be a proud, unabashed liberal, but she has also had a perspective on the quality of leadership in this country that is available to few of us. When the klieg lights go dark, and the microphones go dead, leaders can often be their unvarnished selves. Thomas has glimpsed that side of Presidents for 42 years now. It's not always a pretty picture- particularly these days.
Presidential leadership in this day and age is less about the force of a leader's personality and ideas than it is about polls, focus groups, spin doctors, and advisers. No one personifies that more than Shrub, whose "Compassionate Conservatism" has evolved into pure Reaganomics. Instead of formulating a vision of his own and then trying to sell it to the American public, Shrub has become the playtoy of Big Business and the Religious Right. Perhaps at some point he will find his stride and display his own unique brand of leadership, but then this is the same man who couldn't win the 2000 Presidential election on his own. Low expectations should probably be the order of the day.
I'll also reiterate that Thomas made her comments during a personal conversation, not in the context of one of her news articles. I'd be the last to deny that Bush talks a good game, but I--and, I believe, an increasing number of Americans--are seeing a disconnect between his rhetoric and the reality of his policies.