Today's Washington Post has a good op-ed by Ruth Marcus that looks at the underlying causes for the disastrous presidency of the Chimperator. Back early on in his first term I had described in an e-mail to some former GOP compatriots what I thought would be Bush's downfall (unfortunately, little did I realize how much he'd drag the rest of the nation down with him). One word catches all of the causes in one: hubris. In addition to thinking he has a direct line to God, the Chimperator is far too self-enamored and apparently never asks himself the question of "what if I'm wrong?" Hubris leads to so many other failings, including contempt for others and a feeling that no consultation is needed with those who might just have another perspective. Unfortunately, this mindset in my experience is all too common among the "I've been saved" Christianist set. Closed mindedness and a refusal to believe in objective facts often leads to terrible consequences. Here are some column highlights:
The improbable topic of today's column is Monica Goodling and the federal budget deficit. You might think that the two of these have nothing in common save the happenstance that both are the subject of devastating new reports. . . But the linkage goes beyond the adjective. The ousted Goodling and the lingering deficit are twin manifestations of the Bush administration's overarching contempt for government and blind adherence to ideology.
This administration will leave office having trashed the place -- and I'm not talking about a few "W's" pried loose from White House computer keyboards by the exiting Clinton crew. I'm referring to the myriad ways in which this administration, dismissive of the role of government, abused the enterprise it was entrusted with overseeing. My favorite sentence in the Goodling report sums up the hiring practices in the department's supposedly nonpartisan career ranks: "Tell Brad he can hire one more good American."
Most administrations find ways to keep the Goodlings under control and the grown-ups in charge. The trouble with this one is that it is riddled with Goodlings Gone Wild, incapable of or unwilling to distinguish between the proper pursuit of political aims and the responsible administration of government.
So what's the deficit got to do with it? The deterioration of the nation's budgetary picture under the reckless stewardship of this administration is the fiscal equivalent of the Goodlingization of the executive branch. President Bush put adherence to Republican theology -- taxes must be cut -- over prudent governing.*
The difference is that President Ronald Reagan, facing such daunting deficits, changed course and undid about one-third of his earlier tax cuts. Bush, by contrast, is determined to insist, on his way out the door, that the tax cuts he once said were required by the surplus he inherited are now required by the deficit he is creating. . . . Monica Goodling was not the problem. She was the symptom of an administration so certain of the correctness of its worldview that it never pauses to reconsider.