February 6, 2005
No Light Weight
On the News Hour last Friday David Brooks remarked that we have heard little talk recently about President George W. Bush being a "light weight." He implied that there had somehow arisen a general perception or appreciation of Mr. Bush as a more capable and substantial figure on the national and international scene. While Mr. Brooks observation about how President Bush is now characterized was correct, the conclusion he drew from it was not. Mr. Bush has undoubtedly polished his presidential persona, and appears more relaxed in his role as chief executive, but one doubts he has gained an ounce between the presidential ears. As for any actual increase in competence or consequence, one need only look at the mess in Iraq to be disabused of that notion.
When Adolf Hitler published Mein Kampf in 1925 and 1926 it was hardly a best seller. After he came to power in 1933, it was, however, widely distributed, translated, and available for inspection. In his opus, Hitler set forth his beliefs, his goals, and his methods for attaining them. Most of the intellectual community that chose to read the Nazi master plan dismissed it as the ravings of a madman, or the product of a "light weight." When Hitler became chancellor, burned the Reichstag, and set about methodically executing his plan, it was only then that the world began to take him seriously. The man was a true believer; he meant what he had said, and he clearly intended to do it.
The same realization is beginning to dawn on the current day intelligentsia. George Bush has repeatedly laid out his agenda in a series of speeches and public statements, culminating most recently in his Second Inaugural address and the 2005 State of the Union message to Congress. Whatever you may think of Mr. Bush's policies and ideals, there can be no doubt about his sincerity and conviction. He is another true believer. He means to do precisely what he has said. In this sense, he is by no means a "light weight." To understand this about President Bush is to appreciate how dangerous he is. When he was first elected without a plurality and began his bumbling ways it was easy to dismiss George Bush as a temporary aberration on the political scene, and a "light weight." Now reelected with what he is calling a mandate, one dare not use that phrase to describe King George and the threat he poses to a free and open society with his delusions of grandeur.
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Last updated on July 1, 2005