An American friend writes to say I sound lukewarm about George W. Bush. Am I about to join the ranks of the bloggers who have been busy switching sides in the last couple of weeks? Not at all. I still think he has the clearer vision, and Iraq was the right war at the right time. (If I knew how to operate this site's controls properly, I would post regular links to some of the milblogs.) In the meantime, the excellent Victor Davis Hanson, sums up my feelings in NRO.

And David Brooks examines the essential difference between two candidates, two philosophies:

"Underneath all the disputes about Iraq, we're having a big argument about what qualities America should have in a leader. Republicans trust one kind of leader, Democrats another. This is the constant that runs through recent elections.

Republicans, from Reagan to Bush, particularly admire leaders who are straight-talking men of faith. The Republican leader doesn't have to be book smart, and probably shouldn't be narcissistically introspective. But he should have a clear, broad vision of America's exceptional role in the world. Democrats, on the other hand, are more apt to emphasize such leadership skills as being knowledgeable and thoughtful. They value leaders who can see complexities, who possess the virtues of the well-educated.

Republicans and Democrats have different conceptions of the presidency. Republicans admire a president who is elevated above his executive branch colleagues. It is impossible to imagine George W. Bush or Reagan as a cabinet secretary. Instead, they are set apart by virtue of exceptional moral qualities. Relying on their core values, they set broad goals and remain resolute in times of crisis.

Democrats see the presidency as a much more ministerial job. They admire presidents who engage in constant deliberative conversations. Democrats from Carter through Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore and Kerry have all been well versed in the inner workings of government. It is easy to imagine each of them serving as a cabinet secretary.

It just so happens that America is evenly divided about what sort of leader we need: the Republican who leads with his soul or the Democrat who leads with his judgment. Even the events of the past four years have not altered that disagreement.

That's why we are still tied."

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2004/10/bush-doubter-american-friend-writes-to.html|||10/23/2004 02:20:00 pm|||||||||