There’s a trick you do when interviewing someone or talking to a reference. What it is is, you ask about their weaknesses or mistakes they’ve made. Based on their answers to this question, you can tell whether they’re truly self-aware, analytical and honest, or whether they’ve just prepared a script. Their response to this question tells a lot about how much you can trust what else they’ve said. A very useful question.
It’s applicable in a lot of things. Like with political discussions. Not to say I dismiss partisan arguments out of hand. It’s just, I value much more the opinions of people who are able to look at both sides, see the weaknesses even in the sides they support. People who are a little too party line, or who can’t even articulate an opposing viewpoint, merit less consideration.
Which brings me to another thing I don’t like about Bush. He was asked a while back what mistakes he’s made as President, and he was totally taken aback and didn’t know what to say. His response was something like, he knows he’s made mistakes, but he can’t come up with anything at the moment. Asked the same question a week or two ago, he had more to say, but still nothing substantive.
Which says something to me. I don’t think he’s being dishonest. I just think he’s pathologically unable to engage in self-awareness and critical analysis skills. And that’s a big worry to me; those are qualities you’d think are essential in an effective leader.
There are other things that bother me also. As JR has said, there’s a difference between education and intelligence, a difference also between intelligence and wisdom. Of those things, the only thing I’m confident about in George W. is his education. And it’s one thing to not be intelligent, but he almost seems to glory in ignorance, like bragging about his bad grades in speeches (albeit jokingly) and his boasting about not reading newspapers. Call me an elitist, but I like my leaders of the free world to be intelligent and informed. But that’s just me.