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Date: 10.12.2017

Reasonable Doubt (2001)

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Continue reading the main story Biden paused and shook his head, recalling it all as the room grew quiet. But lately, words and deeds are beginning to connect. The president would say that he relied on his "gut" or his "instinct" to guide the ship of state, and then he "prayed over it. This evangelical group -- the core of the energetic "base" that may well usher Bush to victory -- believes that their leader is a messenger from God.

And can it be assessed in the temporal realm of informed consent? All of this -- the "gut" and "instincts," the certainty and religiosity -connects to a single word, "faith," and faith asserts its hold ever more on debates in this country and abroad. That a deep Christian faith illuminated the personal journey of George W.

Bush is common knowledge. But faith has also shaped his presidency in profound, nonreligious ways. The president has demanded unquestioning faith from his followers, his staff, his senior aides and his kindred in the Republican Party. Once he makes a decision -- often swiftly, based on a creed or moral position -- he expects complete faith in its rightness. The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions.

A writ of infallibility -- a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains -- is not just for public consumption: As Whitman told me on the day in May that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: And for that, I was accused of disloyalty! But suddenly, that seems like a long time ago. Bush -- both captive and creator of this moment -- has steadily, inexorably, changed the office itself.

He has created the faith-based presidency. The faith-based presidency is a with-us-or-against-us model that has been enormously effective at, among other things, keeping the workings and temperament of the Bush White House a kind of state secret. These are among the sources I relied upon for this article.

Few were willing to talk on the record. Some were willing to talk because they said they thought George W.

Bush might lose; others, out of fear of what might transpire if he wins. In either case, there seems to be a growing silence fatigue -- public servants, some with vast experience, who feel they have spent years being treated like Victorian-era children, seen but not heard, and are tired of it.

But silence still reigns in the highest reaches of the White House. After many requests, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said in a letter that the president and those around him would not be cooperating with this article in any way. Advertisement Continue reading the main story Some officials, elected or otherwise, with whom I have spoken with left meetings in the Oval Office concerned that the president was struggling with the demands of the job.

Still others, like Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, are worried about something other than his native intelligence. In the Oval Office in December , the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats.

In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored "road map" for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region.

The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25, The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. Bush held to his view. A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party.

The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. Lantos, a liberal Democrat, would not comment about it. In general, people who meet with Bush will not discuss their encounters. Lantos, through a spokesman, says it is a longstanding policy of his not to discuss Oval Office meetings. Advertisement Continue reading the main story This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith.

It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. As Bush himself has said any number of times on the campaign trail, "By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful. A precious glimpse of Bush, just as he was ascending to the presidency, comes from Jim Wallis, a man with the added advantage of having deep acuity about the struggles between fact and faith.

Wallis, an evangelical pastor who for 30 years has run the Sojourners -- a progressive organization of advocates for social justice -- was asked during the transition to help pull together a diverse group of members of the clergy to talk about faith and poverty with the new president-elect.

The afternoon hours passed. No one wanted to leave. People rose from their chairs and wandered the room, huddling in groups, conversing passionately. In one cluster, Bush and Wallis talked of their journeys. How do I get it?

That was an earlier Bush, one rather more open and conversant, matching his impulsiveness with a can-do attitude and seemingly unafraid of engaging with a diverse group. The president has an array of interpersonal gifts that fit well with this fearlessness -- a headlong, unalloyed quality, best suited to ranging among different types of people, searching for the outlines of what will take shape as principles.

He never seems to have worked on his weaknesses. And some who have worked under him in the White House and know about business have spotted a strange business-school time warp. One aspect of the H. The case studies are static, generally a snapshot of a troubled company, frozen in time; the various "solutions" students proffer, and then defend in class against tough questioning, tend to have very short shelf lives. They promote rigidity, inappropriate surety. This is something H.

They discover, often to their surprise, that the world is dynamic, it flows and changes, often for no good reason. The key is flexibility, rather than sticking to your guns in a debate, and constant reassessment of shifting realities. In short, thoughtful second-guessing. Bush, who went off to Texas to be an oil wildcatter, never had a chance to learn these lessons about the power of nuanced, fact-based analysis.

The small oil companies he ran tended to lose money; much of their value was as tax shelters. Later, with the Texas Rangers baseball team, he would act as an able front man but never really as a boss. Instead of learning the limitations of his Harvard training, what George W.

REASONABLE DOUBT (2001) - Film en Français

Bush learned instead during these fitful years were lessons about faith and its particular efficacy. It was in , around the time of his 39th birthday, George W. Bush says, that his life took a sharp turn toward salvation. At that point he was drinking, his marriage was on the rocks, his career was listless. Several accounts have emerged from those close to Bush about a faith "intervention" of sorts at the Kennebunkport family compound that year.

George senior and Barbara blew up. Words were exchanged along the lines of something having to be done. George senior, then the vice president, dialed up his friend, Billy Graham, who came to the compound and spent several days with George W. He stopped drinking, attended Bible study and wrestled with issues of fervent faith.

A man who was lost was saved. His marriage may have been repaired by the power of faith, but faith was clearly having little impact on his broken career.

In , a few years after receiving salvation, Bush was still bumping along. Much is apparent from one of the few instances of disinterested testimony to come from this period.

In , the catering division of Marriott was taken private and established as Caterair by a group of Carlyle investors. Several old-guard Republicans, including the former Nixon aide Fred Malek, were involved. Rubenstein described that time to a convention of pension managers in Los Angeles last year, recalling that Malek approached him and said: Needs some board positions. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years: Maybe you should do something else.

Six years after that, he was elected leader of the free world and began "case cracking" on a dizzying array of subjects, proffering his various solutions, in both foreign and domestic affairs.

But the pointed "defend your position" queries -- so central to the H. Questioning a regional supervisor or V. Questioning the president of the United States is another. Some were uncertain if it was a joke. This would reverse 30 years of policy -- since the Nixon administration -- of American engagement. Such a move would unleash Sharon, Powell countered, and tear the delicate fabric of the Mideast in ways that might be irreparable.

He made that clear to his top lieutenants.

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Gradually, Bush lost what Richard Perle, who would later head a largely private-sector group under Bush called the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, had described as his open posture during foreign-policy tutorials prior to the campaign.

By midyear , a stand-and-deliver rhythm was established. Meetings, large and small, started to take on a scripted quality.