Wednesday, June 28, 2006

George Bush and Woodrow Wilson

Interesting comparison by Joseph Nye of my 2 least favorite presidents:
Both are highly religious and moralistic. Both came to power as minority presidents focused on domestic politics. Both responded to an international crisis with a bold policy, and both defined a vision that failed to balance ideals with national capacities. Their rhetoric about democracy is quite similar, though Wilson was interested in international institutions while Bush is not. But perhaps most important, both were poor managers, failing to organize diverse information flows in their administrations, and were resistant to new ideas. Persistance can be an admirable quality in a leader, but not if it means resistance to course corrections. Then it becomes blind stubborness. As Robert Lansing, Wilson's secretary of state noted in 1917, "even established facts were ignored if they did not fit in with his intiutitive sense, his semi-devine power to select the right."
Also, Bush and Wilson the only U.S. presidents I know of who claimed that God put them in office.