Over the past few months I've been struggling with how to feel about the faith-based rule of President Bush. I've been combing articles from the Weekly Standard, Ron Suskind, and various other sources for the president's own words, and anecdotes about the president himself, to try to reassure myself that genuine faith is a boon for a national leader. I've come to two definitely conclusions: that true faith leads to deeper reflection, and would indeed be (if not mandatory) a blessing for the President of the United States. The second conclusion I came to is that the President (and here I'm talking specifically about W) has a personal brand of faith which does not lead to deeper reflection. In an NYT article I read, the evangelical pastor Jim Wallis made the clearest distinction between beneficial faith and the President's faith, a distinction which will put the president's Christian supporters on the defensive but won't come at all as a surprise to those Christians who do not. Wallis said, "If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher in ourselves. . . but when its designed to certify our righteousness. . .then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection." And then the meat and potatoes of the quote: "Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not, not ever, to the thing we as humans want so much. Easy certainty." And therein lies, after much deliberation, my problem with the president's personal brand of faith. Coupled with the intellectually disinterested personality of a president who doesn't read, doesn't tolerate dissent among his top lieutenants or constructive dialogue or even friendly questioning, this faith has been and will continue to be a dangerous thing for the American people. Well, for all people, really. As an R.N.C regent at a pre-election dinner pointed out, as quoted in a Suskind article, "the devil's in the details". This is such an apt and ironic saying it KILLS me. George W. Bush is a man who sat at tables at Yale and Harvard Business School, at the tables of failing oil-companies, at the table of a Carlyle board (which asked him to leave because he didn't "add much to the value of the board" and "didn't know much about the company") and never sweated the details, never had anything substantive to contribute. In 1993 Bush had very little to show on account of these shortcomings, but in 7 years would become the president of the United States. But that's another issue. Anyway, back to the details. Or, the complete lack thereof. Listening to Dick Clarke and John O'Niell (and Christine Todd Whitman, until recently) or any number of Suskind-quoted lieutenants and advisers gives you a pretty good idea of how Bush avoids the details just like he avoids to devil. Remember the top Bush aide talking to Suskind about the journalists being part of the "reality-based community" and that being a BAD thing? Well, when you don't have the details and you don't know the fact and you don't read the paper AND you have achieved complete "easy certainty" in life, it is bad news bears for those of us who happen to be unfortunate enough to take part in "reality based communities". I'll close with an anecdote I read from The Standard and The Times, the first having to do with an exchange between Senator Joe Biden and President Bush, when Biden asked "How can you be sure [America is on the right track in Iraq] if you don't know the facts?" To which the president replied "My instincts. My instincts."