A President is supposed to be many things: a leader, knowledgeable, tough, willing to compromise when needed. Of course, those are just a few things on what is a long list of things needed to be presidential. I do have a 25,000 character limit...
I'd think confidence is a big thing to have if one desires to be President. It would be tough to handle the job of leading the country if you doubted your abilities as a leader. If voters notice any level of self-doubt, your campaign is done. This country demands strong leaders.
The problem with confidence is that if left unchecked it can fester in arrogance, and a prime example of confidence gone amuck into arrogance is the presidency of George W. Bush.
He fooled us all when he was running in 2000. He was the "compassionate conservative" and a "uniter, not a divider." He convinced enough of the electorate that he was different, an outsider who could change the tone in Washington. Bush in the White House would bring a new sense of bi-partisanship to American politics.
Bush won the closest election in modern history. And it took him about a month to act as if he had instead received a mandate.
First, he voided several pieces of environmental legislation from the Clinton administration (which I covered in #10 and therefore won't do again here), and banned any US funds from supporting overseas family planning groups. He did this by special Presidential order. I can only figure since less than 50% of the people who cast a ballot actually voted for him, he though he was entitled to do what he pleased.
Aside from his tax cut, which he refused to admit was geared towards the rich, Bush hid his arrogance until the country was attacked on 9/11. In the aftermath of the attacks, the President was, well, presidential. He was also compassionate, and he was also a source of unity. Only people with a personal hatred for George W. Bush (and I will remind you that I am not one of those people) questioned his ability as leader at that time. In perhaps the largest sign of respect for this country and its President, other countries of the world expressed support an sympathy for America. This support lasted through the invasion of Afghanistan, the rigthful response to the attacks of 9/11.
It was approximately at this point that George W. Bush turned into Napolean.
Napolean had his Waterloo. When history decides what one-phrase credo to label our "emperor", may I humbly suggest:
"Don't Mess with Texas"
This is a man who has told people that God has personally chosen him to be President at this time. He has gone from telling the nation that war was necessary because Iraq had weapons that could kill us all to instead stressing that Saddam Hussein had to go. He has forbidden photographs of coffins of soldiers that were alive when he sent them to Iraq when they have arrived back in this country gone forever. He has appeared in a film spoofing the inability of locating weapons in America, looking for them in the Oval Office instead. He has not attended a single funeral of a dead soldier. He has not admitted any mistakes in the way that the war has been planned. He believes that he will be re-elected if he reminds the nation daily that the terrorists are coming to kill us and he is the only person who can keep us safe. He has proposed an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage, telling upwards of ten percent of the population of the US that they are not entitled to the equal rights of the other ninety percent. He refuses to acknowledge that his tax cuts have brought the most money to the richest people in the nation.
My favorite three examples of the arrogance of this President are these:
1. When the President got his tax cuts passed by Congress, the nation was yet to go to war. Afterwards, as the cost of the war surpassed one hundred billion dollars, the President did not do what other war-time presidents had previously done, asked the people of this nation for sacrifice. He should have looked America in the eye and told us that he was cancelling the tax cut and putting it towards the war effort, because extreme times call for extreme sacrifice. Instead he ballooned deficits and impaired jobs. The tax cut for the rich of this nation was more important than asking any of us to sacrifice. You can die for this President's war if you are in the military, but you won't lose your tax cut. George W. Bush is the only person I have heard of who has figured out how you can take it with you.
2. At the end of the second debate in St. Louis, one of the members of the audience asked the President to specify three examples where his adminstration had made a mistake. It was a fairly simple request, I was ready to volunteer a few items mysef, but the President avoided answering the question. Instead he told the audience that he was growing the economy and creating more jobs.
3. Pat Robertson recently told the media that he had tremendous misgivings about going to war in Iraq, and he advised the President that he had better be prepared to handle the public outcry over casualties. As one man of God speaking to another, Robertson wanted to make sure Bush knew what he was doing. The President told Robertson not to worry, because the Iraq war was not going to have any casualties.
Hey, he's only off by 1100 or so.
Compassionate people know when they are wrong. They also know that no one is perfect.
People known as unifiers tend to be humble. They give credit to people who work for the better of others.
There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and this President flew out of a cannon over that line a long time ago.
Napolean had his Elba. It's time for Bush to have his Crawford.