November 12, 2002
How Bush Did It
: In a historic win, Dubya defied the experts once again. Behind the GOP’s early planning and product-testing in a wartime race (Howard Fineman. 11/18/02, NEWSWEEK)
Here's a sobering thought for you: George W. Bush--with his party in control of American government and the constantly growing imbalance in American military and economic power vis-a-vis all other nations--is today the most powerful man in the history of the world. The human past is rife with examples of how men who attain such power destroy themselves through hubris. This, therefore, is the moment when Mr. Bush may be best served by his humbling religious faith.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 12, 2002 12:23 PM
Fascinating thought, but in the end unpersuasive. American presidents simply do not possess a consolidated amount of power on par with even British prime ministers, much less dictators.
To take just one example--suppose Mr Bush were to decide not to send Egypt its foreign aid money. It's fairly easy to imagine Congress saying that's fine by them. What would that do to Egypt? And what are the ripple effects?
Could Bush destroy himself through hubris? Undoubtedly. Orrin's comment about his humbling religious faith is key here, but history is littered with examples of religious men who let power overcome them. (King David being a prime example, although God still referred to him as a man after his own heart.)
But in the event of Bush's fall, would he take the country down with him? I don't think so. I guess I have too much faith in our system. Even with the GOP controlling both the Administration and Legislative branches (and, if they get some judges confirmed, the Judicial), there are plenty of people in Congress who would stand in the president's way if he started going off the deep end, as they did to Nixon.
And now I'm reminding myself of how the Democratic leadership failed to do that with Clinton, and now I'm not so sure....
I'd rather depend on the constraints imposed by the Constitution.
Besides, I think Bush is way too timid.
And further besides, I haven't noticed much humbleness among loud, political professors of religion. Pat Robertson, anybody?