One of our readers and a fairly frequent caller phoned me at the office today to lament the president. I haven't seen tape or film of it yet, but this guy is usually fairly reliable. He says the president in his news conference looks as if he has just about given up, he has no spark, no inspiration, no leadership. As he was an early supporter of the war who wanted it to go well, my friend is extremely disillusioned with Bush. It's bad for our country, he says, when the president is seen to be a loser.
I disagree. I think it's good for the country when the president is seen to be fallible, just another human being who climbed the slippery pole of politics and in the process lost a good deal of whatever soul he had at one time. It's good for the people to see the president fumbling, and it's good for people to distrust him -- whoever he (or she) is. A free people should never elevate a mere political leader to a godlike level of respect, nor should the health of the country be equated with the presidency, either as person or institution. A free people should approach any leader with more skepticism than veneration. Insofar as the presidency has become imperial, seeing the president knocked down a few pegs is good for the country.