In Bush We Trust?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by nakedemperor, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. nakedemperor
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    nakedemperor Senior Member

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    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."
     
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  2. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    This is probably one of the few things i actually agree with with this post.

    Dont take this the wrong way. But I am getting tired of people who dont claim any faith or are antagonistic from judging whether a person has deep faith or not. I mean even for people of faith it can be tough to determine who has deep faith or not.

    I suppose we also need to establish was "Deep faith" is. Maybe thats just the lawyer in me speaking though. I think deep faith is something that touches a person so sincerely that they want to change their life and the world around them because of it. Instead of focusing on what we want deep faith makes us focus on whats right and wrong and what would be best for the people around us.

    Its one of the reasons find it so odd that the President's critics seem to think he has no depth to his faith when obviously he does. He is very reflective. He is very sincere. He doesn't speak out about His faith all the time but its very obvious that its deep faith and effects him to his core. His actions have shown it. As does his character.

    So I have to majorly disagree with your assessment.
     
  3. ScreamingEagle
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    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

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    If Bush is NOT reflecting in a Christian way and thus NOT being a good Christian man, then why are you so afraid then of his obviously bogus claim to being a Christian? You say he has his own "personal brand of faith".

    Seems to me if that was the case, he would be more similiar to the Secularists on the Left who have their own "personal beliefs" without any help from "reflection".

    You would probably be terrified of a Secular President who didn't have any guidelines of any sort whatsoever. You wouldn't have a clue as to what he believed. :poke:
     
  4. musicman
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    musicman Senior Member

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    This isn't coming with any anger, NE - just an observation. You really don't understand Christianity at all. You regard it with fear and trepidation, in accordance with the dictates of your indoctrination. If I may paraphrase another man of faith, Ronald Reagan:

    "It's not that you're ignorant - you just know so much that isn't so".
     
  5. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    NE, while I think your post is very well thought out, there's a small problem that I don't understand. How do you jump from the depth of Bush's faith to his inattention to detail, which (supposedly) makes him a bad President?

    My take on it is that a deep faith would lead one to be introspective about one's faith, but not necessarily about business, etc. Having read quite a bit of stuff from Bush, I observe that he does reflect on his faith, and how to live it out. But I don't see how Bush's lack of attention to details in business translates into a shallow religious faith.
     
  6. nakedemperor
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    nakedemperor Senior Member

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    I wasn't implying that Bush's claim to be a Christian is "bogus"; I was trying to point out how Bush relies on his faith in dangerous ways (e.g. complete and utter self-assuredness, "easy certainty" if you will, and a frightening lack of need of any sort of second-guessing or altered policy in the face of failed policy). I believe everyone's faith is different. It manifests itself differently, if affects your daily routine differently, etc.

    This is based on the (false) premise that you think I believe he's not a Christian, a "secularists" when this premise is taken to its illogical extreme.

    You would probably be terrified of a Secular President who didn't have any guidelines of any sort whatsoever. You wouldn't have a clue as to what he believed. :poke:[/QUOTE]

    I believe in morality without religion, common sense without God, and good values without an all-knowing all-powerful father figure to give them to you.

    Jeff-- my segue was awkward and pretty jumbled, sorry 'bout it. The sentiment I was trying to express was that the President who "trusts his gut" and "has faith" in all of his decisions, believing he's "doing the lord's work" doesn't have very much use for details, nuance, or (most alarmingly) dissenting opinions. Bruce Bartlett (domestic policy advisor to Reagan and treasury offical for H.W. Bush) put it rather dramatic but pretty much to the point terms:

    "This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts. He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence."

    In the Bush White House, open-dialogue, based on facts, does not have much inherent value. Nor does empiricism.
     
  7. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    so confident self assured people that do not let those that are less confident and less self assuerd distract them make you nervous?

    or is that, secular, non-convicted, wishy washy people that are easily swayed are what you would prefer to follow?

    also, just because i would like you to say it...which policy has a failed?
     
  8. nakedemperor
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    nakedemperor Senior Member

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    Well, if you read every fifth word of my post, then maybe I'd understand how you came to this conclusion. Confident people make good leaders when they understand the intricacies of an issue, hear many different opinions on th best course of action, entertains constructive dialogue, and appreciates gentle dissent. Otherwise they make reckless leaders. There are reasonable hesitations that slow deliberate men, that W doesn't even notice.

    I completely disagree that non-religious people are any "less convicted" as you put it, than the faithful.

    Another chat for another day.
     
  9. fuzzykitten99
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    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

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    If you believe in morality without religion, where do the morals come from? Laws? Your ass?

    I don't understand your statement: "I completely disagree that non-religious people are any "less convicted" as you put it, than the faithful."

    Are you referring to non-religeous people or secularists? There is a difference. You can be a person of faith (believe there is God/Jesus/Allah/pick your deity), living by the teachings (eg 10 commandments) of the faith, but choose not to worship or observe Holy days observed with that faith. I represent one of these people. I don't go to church, but I try to live as I should based on basic Bible teachings. The stories present some great inspiration on getting through tough life problems.

    What do you mean by "less convicted"? Are you trying to say that non-religeous people have a black&white, cut&dry opinion of any topic? Funny, your failed presidential candidate had more waffles than IHoP...

    It's a proven fact that most people of ANY faith, tend to have a clear idea of what they want and how they want to achieve it. This is because their faith (whatever it may be) aids in knowing clearly difference between right and wrong, and allowing for very little in between or grey areas. They also put the well-being of others ahead of their own agendas. Liberals MEAN well, but their 'what about ME' attitude is what hurts their cause.
     
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  10. fuzzykitten99
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    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

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    dodging the question again...

    one day you'll grow up...
     

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