Our Only President, again

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One of my many readers (many? more than two, anyway) writes in response to my note on Our Only President:

Is it at all reassuring to think that Our Only President may in fact be a figurehead (e.g. if Cheney is actually running the whole show), and thus that it doesn't necessarily matter what he believes, whether he believes what he says, etc? I'm not sure if I prefer someone who's aimless, insincere, and sloppy, or someone who's a complete puppet...

What we have, in my arrogant opinion, is the best of both worlds. This is, I think, at the root of my anger last week. Allow me to explain what I mean.

There is no way that Our Only President thinks that he is a figurehead. In fact, it's hard to imagine anyone, even Chauncy Gardener, becoming President while being aware that he's a puppet. So the question is whether he is a dupe of those around him, or whether he has gathered that group around him with intelligent purpose. Does he trust his advisors because he knows what they're like, or because he doesn't?

My own interpretation of what I've seen is that he doesn't actually care. He is willing to believe, or to say without believing, what his people hand him. Even if he trusts them, even if he does know what they are like, he has the responsibility to question them, to test their information, and to judge it. I don't think he's willing to do that, and I don't think it occurs to him that he ought to do that. That's the sloppiness that drives me crazy. That's the insincerity that aggravates me. He is holding in his head his own universe (as we all do) and it doesn't seem to occur to him that it is necessarily incomplete, and probably inaccurate. That's what a lot of people do, and it's not anywhere near as annoying when the person in the blinders is not the President of the United States.

Thank you,

Of course, I could be wrong.

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