Battlepanda: Seriously, Though


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Seriously, Though

(Posted by John.)

New Orleans deserves more than a snarky slap at Bush. We're now looking at 100+ dead. We're also seeing what I hope should be the disintegration of the Bush Mystique.

Since 9/11, the American people have been lulled in to believing that Bush was a leader. This illusion never had much credibility to it - what, he went to New York? Hugged a fire fighter? Please.

In reality, everything Bush has done post- 9/11 has been just as rudderless as the Administration was pre-9/11. Sure, they went to war in Afghanistan - but so poorly that the Taliban was able to beat the US Army in combat at the Shah i Kot valley. Iraq was already the goal, and they focused on it like a laser - to the detriment of actually preparing for the victory. Any half-baked rationale that could buy Bush the approval rating he needed for war was used, often several contradictory ones. This administration is excellent at setting goals - as Atrios puts it: Mars, Bitches! - but has never, ever had the ability to actually achieve on them.

Why? Because leadership is more than setting goals for your subordinates. Leadership requires constant attention, wisdom, and guidance. Bush has said that his favourite political philosopher is Christ. Assuming that's sincere, and not just red meat for the fundies, Bush should know about leadership. Christ called himself the Good Shepherd. Because of it's context, the Bible uses a lot of images from animal herding - the most famous is probably "spare the rod, spoil the child." "The rod" has often been misread as a stick with which to beat your children - the bible would therefore be condoning child abuse. There's a more humane reading, however.

The Rod is a symbol not of authority or domination, but of experience. A Shepherd doesn't beat his animals, he guides them. A good Shepherd doesn't simply set a goal, yell at the herd, and blame someone else when the sheep don't move. A Good Shepherd puts more work in to the process than the goal. The Shepherd, exhausted from his work, never complains "being a shepherd is hard work!" The Shepherd, lost on a hillside, never says "We got bad intelligence." The Shepherd, his flock attacked by wolves, doesn't yell "Bring it on!"

Bush was never a leader - not once, and not even by his own standards. Admittedly, Jesus sets a pretty high bar. But Bush knew that before he signed up.