[*] Quoth the Raven

In my on-going attempt never to get back to Derek Webb or post anything meaningful about Narnia prior to the movie opening, I was reading Evangelical Outpost over the last 2 days and I found this thread which was actually about the statement "President Bush is the worst President ever", and it has started to attract the ones who say such things. In particular, it has attracted "the Raven" (and who am I to make fun of internet handles, right?), who has this to say about how bad a president George Bush turns out to be:
All right. I'll take a swing at this one.

First - regarding Joe's posting. The entire notion of "argument" in the sense that he's forwarding it is very much worth examining. Many of us who frequent weblogs and post comments on them are familiar with argumentation - whence "flamewar."

But as we mature and develop our faculties, some of us learn that a truly productive discussion is one in which both participants leave the engagement with food for additional thought. That is, the quintessential debate is one that surpasses the mere sum of its parts.
Let's not nitpick, shall we? That's a pretty good point – the best arguments I have ever been in have caused me to hone my understanding of my position and either fortify it or renovate it in order to be honest with myself about whether I am living inside my own head or in a world that's bigger than the chair I am sitting in.
Only the immature and intellectually incapable approach discussion with the spirit of the "zero-sum game," as a combative exercise from which there will emerge a "winner" and a "loser." Such thinking is sheer nonsense and most of you reading this grasp the point, I'm sure.
See: I disagree whole-heartedly with this. It is entirely possible to be advocating the wrong side of an argument – the one which does not represent the way things are or ought to be – and "win" the argument because one represented the argument so well.

I'm sure some people will think it is funny for me to say such a thing, but I think that it is possible to advocate poorly and thereby lose the argument. In fact, I think that happens a lot: many, many time people on the "right side" of an argument simply don't know how to present themselves, and they demonstrate they are simply uninformed. That is pretty devastating to one's credibility.
True suasion is a far more complex matter. When you want to convince someone of the rightness of your belief, the correctness of your ideas, you don't slap that person in the face, you engage them, flatter their sense of self, draw them forward and present to them the ineffable beauty of truth itself. Truth, as we know, is always recognizable prima facie.
Turns out I don't buy that, either. "Truth is always recognizable prima facie"? By whom? For example, was the original Live Aid all it was cracked up to be? So where the organizers of Live Aid liars?

Of course not: truth is not always recognizable on its face because we often do not use the right perspective to look for truth. Theologically, man is a pretty poor judge of the truth – even after he has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. And in that, man must have some other basis for truth-finding than his own 6 lbs of brain on a spinal stick.
Which brings us to the statement: "George W. Bush is the worst president, ever."

That is a true statement. He's worse than Harding, far worse than McKinley, worse than Taft, even. And I'll tell you why. Stay with, Bush supporters, and maybe you'll learn something.
Now here's the really good part. Are you ready for how this person demonstrates his point? Here's a hint: Truth, as we know, is always recognizable prima facie.
First off, we really must insist that our leaders be literate. Disparage Clinton all you like, but you can't deny that he had charisma, you can't gainsay the notion that he read widely and wrote well. Bush, on the other hand, has written... nothing. His presidential library will be entirely ghost written. This is a serious matter and no joke. Our presidency is not something to be awarded to a person who does not read nor write.
Let me say that, before we turn to the standard fronted here, the jury is still out on Clinton's literacy. His mind-numbling auto-bio memoir was, in the best case, vaguely put together. By a long shot, Sam Walton's Made in America was better organized and far less self-aggrandizing – and in his lifetime Sam Walton did something Bill Clinton never did, which is build a globally-competitive economic machine from scratch.

However, it may be that Sam Walton suffered from not being a Rhodes Scholar and did not have the high-britches gift of gab that someone from a provincial exit off of Hwy 30 in southern Arkansas would likely possess.

That said, I certainly value education, but I also value accomplishment and I value a moral compass. If I had to choose someone for leadership that did not have a degree in the arts who published every 2 years but was single-minded, goal-oriented, and centered with values that reflected my own, I'd feel pretty good about that. Being "literate" in the sense theRaven means here is not on my list of great leadership qualities – and to demonstrate why, I would posit that I would never vote for William Buckley for President.

Now, why is that? Because he's a Catholic? Oh please: of course not. It is because while Buckley has a towering intellect and a vocabulary that makes anyone feel stupid when you listen to him, he has never demonstrated that he can influence others to action, and he has never demonstrated that he can survive long periods of contention without backing down.

Political life is not for the brilliant: it is for those who can persevere. When I voted for George Bush, I voted for a man who is going to stand for what's right when things look bleak. Is he perfect? Hardly. Is he better than what the competition fronted up? By a long dusty piece of dirt road.
Bush has little concern for the environment save as a source of potential exploitable revenue. This runs against the grain of most former presidents who recognized the immense value of America's geophysical assets. Our parks, our prairies, our vast ranges of clear open space and biodiversity. Up to now, we've preserved a great deal of it at tremendous expense and cost. Bush is flushing it down the toilet.
Really? "Flushing it down the toilet"? A quantifiable example – or is this simply true on its face?
Torture. Ugly word. Ugly deed. Perhaps the most venal sin imaginable. Watch Bush struggle and flail for the right to waterboard people, the ability to strip them naked, the power to hood them and make them scream in pain. It's against everything we know to be moral and define us as a people. Of all the civilizations this planet has ever known, America has always represented the very best. Bush threw that down on the ground and danced on it. He spit on it. He crapped on it. He made you and me complicit in the loss of hope itself.
As opposed to the guys who flew those airplanes into the towers and killed thousands who never did anything but come to work in America.

Without extending an argument, I don't think that what happened was, in the historical sense of the word, "torture", and I don't think that what was done – even if we took some line soldiers to court martial for it – was unjustified. If the best argument here is "Ugly word. Ugly deed," then this is enough of a response.
The Patriot Act, the Clean Skies Intiative, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Homeland Security Agency, everything that he's championed is a testament to the foresight of George Orwell's 1984, and it's hardly an exaggeration to say that he is, verily, the embodiment of what the Christian Bible describes the Antichrist to be: The emergence of pure evil made incarnate.
It's interesting that this person wants to triangulate Orwell and the Bible to get site on President Bush, but again – it is in such vague terms, what exactly does he mean? That it is wrong, for example, to test if children are being competently taught? Or that we should have done nothing to raise the level of security in this nation from a national perspective after 9/11? One might as well say, "George Bush is a dirty person, and I can prove it because he makes the housekeeping staff do laundry."
I don't know how any of you (I'm not talking about Larry Lord or any of the other bright minds here) could possibly turn on your televisions and watch Bush speak and come to any other conclusion that we are being led by a stuffed suit, a puppet, a tool of powerful corporate forces, but that's exactly what's happening and the press - our media - has been hamstrung to the extent that it cannot fully expose the mendacity of this administration. But the time will soon come when we are presented with another turning point.
Wait a second – the press has been "hamstrung"? By whom? With what means?

Does it turn out that blogging – which is vastly underfunded and underpromoted, and as far as I'm concerned, underutilized – has "hamstrung" the press? Or was the Constitution repealed at some point? This is simply left-wing scripted dialog at this point – and badly scripted at that.

I don't know anyone who wants to say, "George Bush is among the finest systematic thinkers our country has ever produced," but I am equally sure that there is no one who has been prevented from saying or proving out the contrary.
When the next clear choice presents itself, think hard in the voting booth. Ask yourself if the choice you are about to make aligns true to the spirit of our country, or if it only stands to benefit the status quo. I don't know about you, but I want something very different from what we have today.
{exeunt, to the battle Hymn of the Republic}

His Truth is Prima Facie!

Amen. You are dismissed.