/ 12 September 2008

My favorite episode of Dr. Who is also one that reveals a world I don’t want to live in. “Blink” imagines a race that cannot move unless you look away. When unseen, they can move, and they are evil. The strategy for dealing with them? Don’t blink. Of course the problem with staring at them all the time is you can’t get anything else done either.

Lucky for me, I know that Dr. Who is fiction. Revealing, but fiction. Unfortunately there are some who think an unblinking focus is the right way to operate in the real world.

Here’s something I saw today that scares me (hat tip to Andrew). It scares me because I have been frightened by Bush’s style of decision making: minimal consulting, quick deciding, full steam ahead, never reconsidering. I fear that is how we got into a war with a country that was not an active threat to us and why we stayed in it so long. When McCain made his VP pick after only meeting Palin once, with minimal vetting, I began to see the same dynamic in his decision making process and I quake in my boots (well, sandals, actually). Then Palin answered a question for Charlie Gibson last night about her own process when considering the offer for the ticket to seek the second-highest office in the land…

GIBSON: And you didn’t say to yourself, “Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I — will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?”

PALIN: I didn’t hesitate, no.

GIBSON: Didn’t that take some hubris?

PALIN: I — I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can’t blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we’re on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can’t blink.

So I didn’t blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.

Is anyone else frightened by leaders who are “wired in a way” that they “can’t blink”. Who charge ahead without making sure they have some basic grasp of the lay of the land? Did you catch her answer on the “Bush Doctrine”? Here was a vice presidential candidate who didn’t even know that her current president had articulated a dramatic new foreign policy doctrine that justifies preemptive war. The doctrine that was the foundation of the war in Iraq, the “mission that we’re on,” and she had no clue.

Is anyone else afraid of what this impulsive decision making style will do if given another four years to become our calling card around the world?

Sure, Obama is deliberative to a fault sometimes. But he has demonstrated such a great ability to assemble good minds around him. McCain mocks his consulting “three hundred experts” before making a decision, but this kind of consultation and open process, one that allows a picture of the real world to emerge before decisions are made based on false assumptions, this is what I feel is so vital for our country today.

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