BUSH DIVORCED FROM REALITY
My head is spinning from listening to the double-talk of National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley on Meet The Press. Timmeh himself looks exhausted. Shorter version: The president is going to listen to all inputs, the Baker-Hamilton report, Democrats and Republicans in Congress, his military experts, and then decide to stay in Iraq, where we will bring together moderate Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds into a brilliant unity government and then bring all those who operate outside the law to justice.
Frank Rich has it right. Not only the president but his die-hard supporters sound as if they're "completely untethered from reality."
I have not been one to buy into the arguments that Mr. Bush is stupid or is the sum of his “Bushisms” or is, as feverish Internet speculation periodically has it, secretly drinking again. I still don’t. But I have believed he is a cynic — that he could always distinguish between truth and fiction even as he and Karl Rove sold us their fictions. That’s why, when the president said that “absolutely, we’re winning” in Iraq before the midterms, I just figured it was more of the same: another expedient lie to further his partisan political ends.
But that election has come and gone, and Mr. Bush is more isolated from the real world than ever. That’s scary. Neither he nor his party has anything to gain politically by pretending that Iraq is not in crisis. Yet Mr. Bush clings to his delusions with a near-rage — watch him seethe in his press conference with Mr. Maliki — that can’t be explained away by sheer stubbornness or misguided principles or a pat psychological theory. Whatever the reason, he is slipping into the same zone as Woodrow Wilson did when refusing to face the rejection of the League of Nations, as a sleepless L.B.J. did when micromanaging bombing missions in Vietnam, as Ronald Reagan did when checking out during Iran-Contra.
Tags: Bush, Iraq, Frank Rich, Stephen Hadley