I was going through my files last night when I stumbled upon an essay I wrote back in January of 2001. This was before I even knew what a blog was, but I wrote personal essays at the time. As someone with an "addiction to rightness", this essay really struck me. Check out this quote
“On the bright side, Bush atleast has an experienced and capable Vice President. Though I’ve been very concerned about a general lack of sophistication coming from our new President, Cheney has always impressed me as someone who is pretty level-headed. He’s certainly more conservative than I am, but I think a simpleton like Bush will need someone with his experience and knowledge.”
What I didn’t know, was that Cheney secretly was a war-monger who would exercise complete control over the Presidency. I correctly anticipated that Bush was weak and had a lot of flaws, but in retrospect, I confused experience for wisdom when it came to Dick Cheney.
I also misread Bush on a few things as well. Here’s another quote from that January essay.
“This has been a very divisive election. I’m encouraged that Bush seems to want to help heal the divisions that pervade our nation. Though I’m concerned about Bush’s intelligence, I do sense that he is basically a good person, and as an American first, I feel it is important to give the new President a certain benefit of the doubt and hope that his Presidency will be successful.”
I cannot think of a more divisive President our nation has had than George W. Bush. I did not see that Bush was an immature, easily-led, and deceitful individual. Though concerned about his lack of sophistication, I didn’t see just how that failing would make him overly sure of himself, and therefore closed-minded. I didn’t see that his response to crisis would be to over-react, and over-extend the reach of the executive branch of government.
By 2004, I had figured Bush out much better when I wrote,
“As for a General, I find President Bush to be very decisive, but not particularly thoughtful, lacking the tactical subtlety that great military leaders generally possess. As a General, he reminds me of the Civil War Confederate John Bell Hood who recklessly attacked regardless of the strength of the opposing force and the disposition of their troops. Just as Gen. Hood wrecked his army in critical battles in Georgia and Tennessee, I fear Gen. Bush has our military over-extended, misplaced, and vulnerable. As a Commander and Chief, I expect the President to react flexibly to situations that arise and General Bush isn’t that type of leader.
Since George W. Bush was elected President, our credibility has declined internationally, our military has become over-extended, our economy has sagged and our war on terrorism has been so misplaced that it has created more enemies then allies. The war on terrorism has also caused a decline in our fundamental civil rights. These will be the legacies of the Bush Administration. Let’s be decisive in November and end this “reign of error”.”
So how did Bush put it, “fool me once”?