Every great nation has its founding myths. Every true leader has a defining vision. Every person has his or her story, the narrative that gives shape and meaning to one’s life. The problem begins when life and the narrative fall out of joint. The greater the disjuncture, the more fatal the problem.
George W. Bush idolized Ronald Reagan. From the outset he modeled his presidency upon him. His first inaugural deliberately echoed Reagan’s patented blend of stirring rhetoric, moral clarity and iron conviction in basic principles. Advisers drew the comparison at every opportunity....