This is so dreadful in so many ways, I simply don’t know where to begin. A few excerpts for those who can’t get past the Times firewall:
A leaderâ€™s first job is to project authority, and George Bush certainly does that. In a 90-minute interview with a few columnists in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Bush swallowed up the room, crouching forward to energetically make a point or spreading his arms wide to illustrate the scope of his ideas â€” always projecting confidence and intensity.
* * *
The other striking feature of his conversation is that he possesses an unusual perception of time. Washington, and modern life in general, encourages people to think in the short term. But Bush, who stands aloof, thinks in long durations.
â€œI got into politics initially because I wanted to help change a culture,â€ he says, referring to his campaign against the instant gratifications of the 1960â€™s counterculture. And he sees his efforts today as a series of long, gradual cultural transformations. Like many executives, he believes that the higher you go, the further into the future you should see, and so his conversation is filled with speculations about the long-term effects of deep social trends â€” the current religious awakening or the politics of volunteer armies.
* * *
Sitting between busts of Lincoln and Churchill, he continued, â€œMy hope is to leave behind something â€” foundations and institutions that will enable future presidents to be able to more likely make the tough decisions that theyâ€™re going to have to make.â€
â€œIdeological struggles take time,â€ he said, explaining the turmoil in Iraq and elsewhere. He said the events of weeks or months were just a nanosecond compared with the long course of this conflict. He was passionate on the need for patience and steadfastness. He talked about â€œinviolateâ€ principles written upon his heart: â€œPeople want you to change. Itâ€™s tactics that shift, but the strategic vision has not, and will not, shift.â€
* * *
In other words, when Bush is strategizing goals, he is assertiveness on stilts. When he is contemplating means, he defers to authority.
And the sad truth is, there has been a gap between Bushâ€™s visions and the means his administration has devoted to realize them. And when tactics do not adjust to fit the strategy, then the strategy eventually gets diminished to fit the tactics.
“Sitting between busts of Lincoln and Churchill.” Yeeesh. Brooks isn’t just a propagandist, he’s a clumsy propagandist.