Skip to content

Bush Lacks Curiosity

November 20, 2006

It became apparent to me in 2000 when George Bush was seeking the Republican Party nomination that the primary reason I did not find him suitable for the White House was not because of our political differences.  After all, I find Senators Lugar, McCain, and Graham very smart, and all capable of national leadership, though I may disagree politically with them on various issues.  The main problem I had with Bush in 2000 is the same reason I find him frustrating yet today.  He lacks curiosity.

This may seem trivial to many, but I would argue it is central to the failure of his leadership ability, and is reflected in his policy decisions, so many of which have turned sour.

It was noticed this week while traveling in Southeast Asia that Bush failed to meet and greet real people.  His attempt to ‘meet’ them while traveling in a motorcade with tinted windows, waving at them as he sailed through the streets, is not the way to better understand people in another country.  It is only when you press the flesh and talk with groups at a historic site or landmark that one can begin to view the world from other perspectives.  A trip of this type by a President should not just be a PR project for the blue suits back in the White House.  A visit by a President should be a real vehicle where we reach out to the world.  Bush has never understood that concept.  On the other hand, both JFK and President Bill Clinton did.

While in Vietnam Bush missed any true local flavor as he darted and dashed, as is his custom, more intent on leaving than on learning.  As President of the United States he could have set a very much different schedule to accommodate a normal healthy curiosity.  After all this was his first time to Vietnam.  Instead, Bush left his desire to broaden his understandings of another culture behind him.  On Saturday he had only one nonofficial event that lasted 15 minutes, with almost no Vietnamese to interact with.  How could anyone visit a country they had never seen before and not wish to visit the places that history books tell us so much about?

This style of traveling is what everyone expects of Bush.  Yesterday it was again reported that while in Russia on a seperate trip he spent under 20 minutes at the treasures of Red Square.  I think this type of behavior is a show of disdain for much of the world, and a serious lack of intellectual heft that I consider an essential part of what creates a real national leader.

Through the natural follow-up on what we find curious, we also discover an education.  Things might be much different today had there been an ability by President Bush, prior to the war, to be curious what the mindset of the Iraqi people might be if a foreign army occupied their country.  Had Bush been more curious about the consequences of global warming, and the impact on people around the globe, he might have treated the Kyoto treaty with more seriousness.  Had Bush been more curious to meet real people in the various nations he has traveled as President and talk with them, hearing their voices and views, he might have had more ability to lead effectively as the leader of the free world.

I had candidate Bush pegged correctly in 2000 as one who possessed little curiosity.  His inability to understand world conditions then was shocking but I had hoped his subscription to The Economist was just being sent to the wrong address.  After watching him for six years as President we now all know the sad fact that there just isn’t a lot of depth and intellect to this man.  Most damning of all is the fact he has no desire or curiosity that can lift him out of his present stagnant position.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: