Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 6, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

"THAT'S WHAT I MEAN BY STRATEGIC THOUGHT"....Slate published this excerpt from Robert Draper's Dead Certain back on Tuesday, but I just got around to reading the whole thing today. It truly defies description:

Bush, as always, bridled at the request to navel-gaze. "You're the observer," he said as he worked the cheese in his mouth. "I'm not. I really do not feel comfortable in the role of analyzing myself. I'll try....

"You've gotta think, think BIG. The Iranian issue," he said as bread crumbs tumbled out of his mouth and onto his chin, "is the strategic threat right now facing a generation of Americans, because Iran is promoting an extreme form of religion that is competing with another extreme form of religion. Iran's a destabilizing force. And instability in that part of the world has deeply adverse consequences, like energy falling in the hands of extremist people that would use it to blackmail the West. And to couple all of that with a nuclear weapon, then you've got a dangerous situation. ... That's what I mean by strategic thought. I don't know how you learn that. I don't think there's a moment where that happened to me. I really don't. I know you're searching for it. I know it's difficult. I do know — y'know, how do you decide, how do you learn to decide things? When you make up your mind, and you stick by it — I don't know that there's a moment, Robert. I really — You either know how to do it or you don't. I think part of this is it: I ran for reasons. Principled reasons. There were principles by which I will stand on. And when I leave this office I'll stand on them. And therefore you can't get driven by polls. Polls aren't driven by principles. They're driven by the moment. By the nanosecond."

Dan Drezner is nonplussed: "Consider the following discussion question: what is missing from George Bush's strategic thought?" His commenters immediately answer correctly: "strategy" and "thought."

Read the whole thing. If you think you can stomach it.

Kevin Drum 12:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (77)

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Comments

Sounds like the sort of "heavy thinking" my compatriots and I used to come up with after a long sequence of bong hits.

Jeebus almighty, how did we ever allow this retarded clown to get foisted on us?

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on September 6, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

What seems to be missing is any actual apperception of ancient Taoist doctrines on strategy, or even any degree of wisdom connected to more limited modern strategic policies.

We seem with each action to embed ourselves even greater into events which we have little control.

Some strategy.

Posted by: Jimm on September 6, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

And keep in mind that in saying those things Bush thought he was providing some insight into his style of decision making that would cast him in a positive light. He's not just lacking in both strategy and thought, he's lacking even the smallest degree of self-awareness that would allow him to understand how little he understands.

Posted by: bob on September 6, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

"And instability in that part of the world has deeply adverse consequences, like energy falling in the hands of extremist people that would use it to blackmail the West. And to couple all of that with a nuclear weapon, then you've got a dangerous situation. ... That's what I mean by strategic thought."

Are those briefing books on his bedstand or Robert Ludlum spy novels?

Posted by: sfman on September 6, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

That's why you call him 'dope.'

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on September 6, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

It is said that there is a fool born every minute. Clearly there were no fools born for at least an hour after W was born. Humanity needed that much time to take up the slack.

Posted by: paulo on September 6, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

I really do not feel comfortable in the role of analyzing myself. - Bush

I imagine it would be uncomfortable to think about how your need to compensate for your life of failure has basically killed about 4000 Marines and GIs, and tens of thousands of Iraqis. All of them were someone's children, loved more than your parents ever loved you...

Yeah, better not to go down that hard, hard road of self examination.

Posted by: Wapiti on September 6, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the sort of "heavy thinking" my compatriots and I used to come up with after a long sequence of bong hits.

Jeebus almighty, how did we ever allow this retarded clown to get foisted on us?

Antonin Scalia & Co.

Posted by: Old Hat on September 6, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Umm, are we sure Draper wasn't interviewing Jon Stewart?

Posted by: Martin on September 6, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

You misunderestimate the guy. At Yale, he and I would kick back on Saturdays, having hours-long discussions on Hegelian motivations and the implications of Metternich on modern European statecraft. He's totally on another plane of existence -- for which you should thank your lucky stars.

Posted by: anonymous on September 6, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Ralph Nader, too.

Please take the time to thank the idiot lefties who voted for him in 2000. Thank them for all of this. I hope they're happy.

Things have to get worse before they get better, vote your conscience, no difference between Bush and Gore, Republicrats, etc., etc.

Posted by: Old Hat on September 6, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Umm, are we sure Draper wasn't interviewing Jon Stewart?"

Yes, because there was no "heh, heh" involved.

It's amazing that, after almost eight years, this moron still has the ability to amaze us with his self-satisfied emptiness.

Posted by: Kenji on September 6, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

So, is W only blowing smoke at everyone else, or at himself as well?

Mr. Principles ran on dishonest presentations of 'compassion' and conservatism' and the distribution of the tera-tax cuts and function of the economy. He esconced his political advisor in the White House and conflated politics with policy.

Or is the quality of his principles foreshadowed in pre-2000 statements about what he would to in the White House, like using war to ensure a "successful Presidency"?

Posted by: MaryCh on September 6, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Don't blame Bush. Blame our loveless, god-deluded, racist/sexist, celebrity bewitched, fear-striken selves!

Posted by: Hotspur on September 6, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

I heard Draper interviewed on NPR about the book two nights ago. He relates that Bush claims to have read 80+ book over the course of the last year (lots of history), but Bush's "Brain," Rove, had read over 100. What a load of shit.

As a literature major in college, with typically two lit classes a quarter, I was reading about two novels a week, including whatever else I was reading (sometimes) for my other classes. So I was, at best, maybe reading 50 books over the course of school year, but that was my "job" - reading for credit. College professors don't read 80 books a year. I doubt even Evelyn Wood could have read and absorbed 80 serious books in a year. Who the hell has time, particularly the supposed leader of the free world, to read more than a couple books a month? I doubt Bush has read 80 books in his entire life. I doubt he could get through 80 Cliffs Notes in a year.

Posted by: JeffII on September 6, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK


A Purebred Brute.
Fore to aft.
Stem to stern.

Posted by: Thomas Paine on September 6, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, no wonder we don't understand the Decider. A critical paragraph of strategery wasn't quoted:

Bush: "You've gotta think, think BIG. The Iranian issue ... is the strategic threat right now facing a generation of Americans, because Iran is promoting an extreme form of religion that is competing with another extreme form of religion. Iran's a destabilizing force. And instability in that part of the world has deeply adverse consequences, like energy falling in the hands of extremist people that would use it to blackmail the West. And to couple all of that with a nuclear weapon, then you've got a dangerous situation. ..."

Missing quote: "So that's why I invaded a Iraq -- a country that had nothing to do with any of the above -- and precipitated a civil war in which neither side could win, and made sure we had 150,000 troops pinned down there in the middle of it, without adequate armor, being picked off at a rate of about 100 per month, at a cost of over $100 billion per year."

Bush: "That's what I mean by strategic thought. I don't know how you learn that. ... I do know — y'know, how do you decide, how do you learn to decide things? When you make up your mind, and you stick by it ... You either know how to do it or you don't."

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 6, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Daniel Drezner has been heavily involved with the project to whitewash the Republican Party's responsibility for George W. Bush so I wouldn't take anything he says too seriously.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on September 6, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Daniel Drezner has been heavily involved with the project to whitewash the Republican Party's responsibility for George W. Bush so I wouldn't take anything he says too seriously. Posted by: Cranky Observer

Drezner is a complete tool. How he got tenure at Tufts after being, essentially, cut adrift at Chicago is beyond me.

Posted by: JeffII on September 6, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

"An unexamined life isn't worth living." Socrates

Posted by: sheerahkahn on September 6, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the sort of "heavy thinking" my compatriots and I used to come up with after a long sequence of bong hits.

My buddies and I never sounded that out of it, no matter how many bong hits we had.

He's totally on another plane of existence -- for which you should thank your lucky stars

Oh, if only he were on another plane of existence, so we wouldn't have to put up with him here.

Posted by: rea on September 6, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

I read the whole thing. Yikes.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 6, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Oh please Bush, take your hotdog, get back on tricycle - and ride off into the sunset. Take a sweater too junior, cause it's cold where nobody likes you.

Posted by: Me_again on September 6, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

All you folks who want to blame Scalia and Nader for Bush don't forget the big time media who focused on Gore's alleged short comings (small beer it turns out) while ignoring Bush's utter and unfailingly obvious incompetence. Their excuse -- the bigotry of low expectations.

Think about that for a moment. The press enabled the social promotion of a baffoon unfit to run a taco stand into the White House. Why? The Very Important Professional People at the Post, the Times et al held the accomplished Al Gore to a higher standard than obvious slacker George Bush.

That reality explains why I a blogging these days. I don't think we, any of us, can trust the big boys and girls in the media to do anything right except the three martini lunch.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 6, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I ran for reasons.

So he doesn't need reasons for Iran.

Posted by: Tom Hilton on September 6, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

He's either brain damaged or these are the ramblings of a person who does not care one iota what he's saying.

Posted by: Boronx on September 6, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Big fan, constant reader.

But . . . "nonplussed" means "confused or surprised." Is that really what you meant?

Posted by: carlton on September 6, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think all that dabbling in String Theory has immensely affected our President. Perhaps he should leave questions of vibrations of continua on infinite dimensional non-differentiable manifolds to lesser mortals.

Posted by: gregor on September 6, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

He's either brain damaged or these are the ramblings of a person who does not care one iota what he's saying.

Sadly for humanity, those two items are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: trex on September 6, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

He's either brain damaged or these are the ramblings of a person who does not care one iota what he's saying.

Could be both.

Posted by: Nemo on September 6, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

And big media's shame continues...there was nary a mention of Shrub's "we're kicking ass" comment in either the WP or NYT. Guess the 'merican people don't deserve to know what der leader is saying to foreigners.

Posted by: Red Scare on September 6, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

I heard Draper interviewed on NPR about the book two nights ago. He relates that Bush claims to have read 80+ book over the course of the last year (lots of history), but Bush's "Brain," Rove, had read over 100. What a load of shit.

At best, GWB listens to books on tape while he mountain bikes. He certainly doesn't ever *read* anything past the first page.

Posted by: Disputo on September 6, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

corpus juris, I don't think you've ever mentioned that you're blogging these days.

JeffII: Reading one to two books a week is really not that hard if you don't have kids (and thus actually have free time to call just your own), don't watch much TV, use public transit with its built-in reading time and are a fairly fast reader. I manage to do it, and as we know I'm far from a leading intellectual light in these threads.

I certainly agree, however, that Bush couldn't get through a dozen installments in the My Pet Goat series if he dedicated a year to doing it.

Posted by: shortstop on September 6, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I ran for reasons. Principled reasons. There were principles by which I will stand on. And when I leave this office I'll stand on them. And therefore you can't get driven by polls. Polls aren't driven by principles. They're driven by the moment. By the nanosecond

It's nice to see Bush stand up against mob rule but doesn't his opinion also strike you as a giant FU to American democracy. He is spitting on the majority opinions of American citizens and feeling morally superior about it to boot.

What a guy.

Posted by: Northern Observer on September 6, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't know how you learn that. I don't think there's a moment where that happened to me. I really don't." G.W. Bush

...I have heard of this; the gradual, often unconscious, absorption of knowledge or ideas through continual exposure rather than deliberate learning, or Foreign Policy by Osmosis.

Posted by: Zit on September 6, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush claims to have read 80+ book over the course of the last year ..."

I think he read 80 different copies of "The Pet Goat."

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 6, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I just wanted to comment about his talking and eating habits. Another example of his subconsciously rejecting his parents? Surely they didn't get away with this at Kennebunkport.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 6, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, I can be found at Watching Those We Chose. I usually write two or three posts a day. Any more and I wouldn't be able to make enough from my day job to pay my bills.

Don't let Blue Girl fool you. She doesn't write all those posts herself.

Our's is a little time blog, but I would stack the credentials of our writers up against any of the big time bloggers. Our team includes several professional journalists, two former journalism school professors, a minister, a few students, a couple of lawyers and a force of nature -- Blue Girl. Educationally we are on a par with the big boys and girls. On average we are a little older than you might think. Most of us have to work for a living, so we don't blog full time. I don't know anybody on our team who blogs from a computer in his mother's basement.

Have you seen Penrose's cartoon on Craig's refusal to flush? It's wonderful.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 6, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Cal Gal and I are on the same page of the same children's book.

Posted by: shortstop on September 6, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I thought one of his principles when he ran was to abstain from nation-building?

Of course circumstances changed--and he unhesitatingly did a one hundred eighty degree turn away from his principle. I rather think circumstances have changed since he sent our troops to invade Iraq, and it's time for another half-turn.

Posted by: cowalker on September 6, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Really, go ahead and read the Draper pieces. The experience is akin to the first time you ever saw hard core porn: simultaneously fascinating and appalling. What also comes through (and I am surprised that no one has really picked up on this) is Bush's colossal narcissism. Everything he says and does is a direct expression of his narcissism. Why do so few pick up on this? Well, perhaps it's like the legal term "hidden in plain sight": It is so vast, and on a scale so broad, it's hard to see it right in front of us. The other things are, of course, his ignorance and laziness, a person bereft of any semblance of judgment. Here is someone adding rich new dimensions to the term "unfit for command."

Posted by: MaxGowan on September 6, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

I thought one of his principles when he ran was to abstain from nation-building? Posted by: cowalker

I think he's stuck to his guns on that one. Look what he's done to the U.S.

Posted by: JeffII on September 6, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

The narcissism hides the folk emperor's mountain of self-doubt. It rises majestically out of the shallow pool that is his character and is buttressed only by the power of positive thinking and spite. Just imagine having this dialogue with your commander in a foxhole as you hear the footsteps of the enemy advancing cautiously to your position. Imagine Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt, who was no blushing flower, speaking in this manner.


------

The liberal philosopher Isaiah Berlin believed that the great romantic turn of the modern world, which eventually led to totalitarianism, occurred when Jean-Jacques Rousseau came to the realization that his own interior truth, something all men must realized to be free, should be identical to the truths which other men seek. They many not seek it because they are weak or ignorant, or deceived by wicked men but if they were given freedom they would arrive a truth common to all men. It follows that if I know my truth I can also see yours and am justified in coercing you to realize and accept it. Thus the search for absolute liberty ends in absolute tyranny. Rousseau, like the evangelicals, was influenced by Calvinism. His philosophy can be seen as a kind of secular Calvinism.

I point out this rather convoluted logic to underscore Bush's self-righteousness masquerading as leadership and manifesting itself as tyranny. Liberal democracies are built on the idea that there is no final truth, that there is no end to politics- rational men can disagree, and that history is made not predestined. Leaders in democracies do not have occult understanding of the People or the destiny of the Nation. They do not anticipate national greatness, nor should they act continually against the popular will because they sense a spiritual destiny or some historical inevitability that is unknown to others. They have to justify their actions with references to a reality on which rational people can agree.

PS The Bushes are known for their lack of gentility. That is why politics suits them.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 6, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think he's stuck to his guns on that one. Look what he's done to the U.S.

Hee.

Mr. Bush, tear down this country.

Posted by: shortstop on September 6, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

It's been clear for a long time that Bush disdains facts, and has no capacity for complex analysis. I think this little explanation sums it up.

"Yeah, well," he finally said. "When you're responsible for putting a kid in harm's way, you better understand that if that kid thinks you're making a decision based on polls—or something other than what you think is right, or wrong, based upon principles—then you're letting that kid down. And you're creating conditions for doubt. And you can't give a kid a gun and have him doubt whether or not the president thinks it's right, and have him doubt whether or not he's gonna be suppportive in all ways.

It is important to make a decision based not only on principle but also on knowledge that informs you on how to apply the principle. It's hard work to fit many conflicting details into a coherent picture. It's a lot easier to assume that your cronies are presenting you with a realistic picture and then apply your principles to their simplified model.

I'm not surprised to find that Bush is more concerned about how he looks to other people--"Do I look strong? Do I look confident? Do I look like I'm waffling? Do I look like a mentor, rather than a scold?--than with the actual results of his decisions. Clearly it's more important to him to look decisive than to make the right decisions. It's like he's still in high school, where the opinion of the cool kids is more important than whether he's actually learning what he needs to know to realize his life goals.

Posted by: cowalker on September 6, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's like he's still in high school, where the opinion of the cool kids is more important than whether he's actually learning what he needs to know to realize his life goals.

Yes. On a related note, his snark about our not seeing him hanging around the U.N. in six years was supposed to slam Clinton but reminded me of a flunking-out jock making fun of the kids in the Science Club. Just the sort of mindset we want in a president.

Posted by: shortstop on September 6, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Scary, all this “triumph of the will” crap that Bush excretes. One of Bush’s many misconceptions is his belief in the “great man” theory of history; he definitely comes of as a “great man” wannabe. Remember early on when Condoleezza used to go on about how we didn’t need stinking treaties or the U.N., just for Bushie to meet and bond with the other “great men” in the world

Posted by: fafner1 on September 6, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

That's what I mean by strategic thought. I don't know how you learn that. I don't think there's a moment where that happened to me.

Truer words never spoken.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on September 6, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Some great comments on this thread, most notably MaxGowan and sheerahkahn's quote from Socrates. All dead on. Look, anyone who has been paying attention since 1999 or so, recognizes that George W. Bush is a very psychologically damaged individual. How he got that way - drugs, alcohol, bad parents - is subject to debate and ultimately, unknowable. Bush should be impeached, if for no other reason than a medical one - he is psychologically unfit to be president.

By the way, for Bush's benefit (not that he would ever read this blog) there is a model for strategic thinking. And it doesn't involve deciding something based on your gut feeling and then never wavering from it. It goes something like this:

THESIS VS. ANTITHESIS = SYNTHESIS

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 6, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

"as he worked the cheese in his mouth"...thanks for that image which I'm going to have in my head all day now. Along with a brain, Bush seems to be missing even the most rudimentary table manners. What a disgusting embarrassment.

Posted by: pb on September 6, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Jackson? Yosemite Sam?, Lil Orphan Annie?, I know his idol, his hero, just get my finger on it...

Daffy Duck!!

Posted by: Matt on September 6, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

A true classic from the Age of Innocence:


We put him on the board and [he] spent three years. Came to all the meetings. Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years - you know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.

He said, well I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.


And I said, thanks - didn't think I'd ever see him again. His name is George W. Bush. He became President of the United States. So you know if you said to me, name 25 million people who would maybe be President of the United States, he wouldn't have been in that category. So you never know. Anyway, I haven't been invited to the White House for any things.


David Rubenstein Managing Director of The Carlyle Group recounting George W. Bush’s time on the board of directors to the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association. "How Bush Got Bounced From Carlyle Board" Suzan Mazur in the Progressive Review.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 6, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Iran is promoting an extreme form of religion that is competing with another extreme form of religion."

This is remarkably candid, even though I don't think Bush meant it to be so.

Posted by: New Talking Wall on September 6, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the sort of "heavy thinking" my compatriots and I used to come up with after a long sequence of bong hits...
Posted by: low-tech cyclist on September 6, 2007 at 12:56 PM


The cartoon that Nemo linked to a while back:
http://www.workingforchange.com/comic.cfm?itemid=22452
applies here.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 6, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

If Harvard Business School doesn't take his degree back after this it should lose its accreditation.

Posted by: ogmb on September 6, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Boots on the ground, boots on his desk--the fine, historic desk.
Talking with his mouth full, food on his chin, bellowing out for ice cream.

The content of his verbal expression is SO superficial it is frightening.

I have sad feelings that I read the entire piece, and feel my IQ kind of plummeted....
But thank you for the link.

Draper was on Olbermann last night, and said he was shocked how "cavalier" Bush was
about not being sure how "the policy was changed"--Bush said that Hadley took notes, Bush would have to check. VERY TELLING.

AWFUL. Bush worshippers still proceeding to admire him? I didn't think so.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 6, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

I ran for reasons. Principled reasons. There were principles by which I will stand on. And when I leave this office I'll stand on them.

Translated thus:

I am my most favorite person. When I speak, you listen. When I'm done speaking, you tell me how great I am. I go first class. You go 2nd class, or third or fourth, I don't actually care. I don't have much of an attention span, but it's OK, I rarely notice.

I rule. I love me. You love me too, or else. These are my principles, and buddy, I ain't budging.

Posted by: obscure on September 6, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Dubya is exactly, precisely the progeny one would and should have expected from Barbara and George HW. Lots of great comments on this thread - very enjoyable and educated. Thanks, all.

Posted by: MaxGowan on September 6, 2007 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Reading it reminded me of this by Ben Tripp. and hopefully people will see Bush for what he is.

"...Why is the American public not in an uproar at the administration's slow admission that they lied about the justification for this assault on another nation? The answer, sad to say, is cognitive dissonance.

"Cognitive dissonance is when you find out the woman you just took back to your hotel is really a man----and you didn't get the corporate discount on the room.
Another example of cognitive dissonance is when an entire nation, with world peace in the balance, throws its support behind a bunch of guys who turn out to be lying. In other words, cognitive dissonance is the agony of learning something new that contradicts what you already know.
But that's not all: cognitive dissonance is also when you learn something new that contradicts what you already know, so you discount the entire subject as unimportant. "Yeah, he cheats on me when he travels," she pules. "Who cares, as long as I get the frequent flier miles?" America is suffering from a bad case of cognitive dissonance, and it explains a lot- unfortunately, not to Americans.

We are a country in denial of certain ugly facts. For example: we are an empire, and we're in it for the money. Our leaders lie just as much as the rest of us do, and often about much more important subjects. American Democracy does not equal American Capitalism. We're not really free, and we're not really brave- no more than anybody else, at least. We're just the same turbulent mess of conflicting agendas that everybody else is---the only real difference is American government was originally designed to overcome these very agendas. But that government has fundamentally changed in our lifetimes, which makes our actions very important for future generations at a time when we're worried more about the next fortnight than the next generation. Help, help, the dissonance is killing me."

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 6, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Fifteen more months of this guy? Yeah. We're doomed.

Posted by: Justin Slotman on September 6, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Re his outrageous table manners: These have always struck me as an adolescent power play, a way of overtly saying, "I don't have to be polite or civilized, because I'm in charge here, and there's nothing you can do about it." It's akin to Lyndon Johnson making aides come into the bathroom and take orders while he was pooping.

Posted by: shortstop on September 6, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

How many of you geniuses can fly an instrument landing approach in a supersonic jet fighter?
Hatred sure scrambles the senses.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on September 6, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Watching Fred Thompson on Leno reminded me of Bush to a t. He thinks Iraq is going great, wants to get it on with Iran as soon as he can.
When asked about America's declining popularity around the world he assured Leno that the world would soon see the error of its ways and join America in its endless wars.

Posted by: nyt on September 6, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

"...Iran is promoting an extreme form of religion that is competing with another extreme form of religion."

As New Talking Wall implied, is Bush thinking of a conflict between extremist Shi'a and his friends in Saudi Arabia, or between extremist Shi'a and his friends in the Christian Right??

"...y'know, how do you decide, how do you learn to decide things?"

Up until about 6 or 7 years ago, I'd have said you learn that by going to Harvard and getting an MBA. Now, that program ain't lookin' so hot.

"An unexamined life isn't worth living." Socrates

"Hey, Soc, what's that yer drinkin' there? Can I have some?" George W. Bush

Posted by: Grumpy on September 6, 2007 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

The entire end product of Bush's grandiose, pretentious ramblings is this: he is never wrong, ever, under any circumstances, and never will be wrong, no matter what may seem to contradict him, or how many people may oppose him.

It's good to be Philosopher-King.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 6, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Bernanke and Petraeus will be W's pointmen who will *try* to make sure History books don't look as badly on George by:

1) Pumping up the economy with the remaining bottles of Helium available that will last until Nov 2008 (borrow/consume/cash-out/consume/liquidate/consume)

and,

2) Maintaining the Iraqi occupation at whatever cost without a draft or tax increase until Nov 2008.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 6, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm also really digging this sort of gooberish take on the philosopher-king ideal Bush has tried to get going. "My God! He can fight the Global War On Extremist People and still find the time to read all those Shakespeares!"

Jeez, why bother? His detractors know he's dumber than a box of hair and his remaining fans don't seem to be bothered by it. Who is this act ultimately for?

Posted by: sweaty guy on September 6, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Lacking insight is typical of a dry drunk. He has become our national nightmare. This is from 2003 http://www.inthesetimes.com/comments.php?id=195_0_4_0_C

Posted by: mls on September 7, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

He makes as much sense as Miss Teen South Carolina. Well, okay, maybe not as much.

JeffII wrote:
I doubt Bush has read 80 books in his entire life. I doubt he could get through 80 Cliffs Notes in a year.

Bush reads comic books. 80 books per year? No problemo. This also helps to explain his distorted view of the real world.

Posted by: josef on September 7, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

He crazy.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on September 7, 2007 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

How many of you geniuses can fly an instrument landing approach in a supersonic jet fighter?
Hatred sure scrambles the senses.

He's right, you know. The last time I tried an instrument landing in my -15E at Fairford, I would get onto short finals, and just as I started to flare I would find myself screaming out "THE POLICY OF TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH IS NOT ONLY DESTROYING THE FABRIC OF AMERICA'S SOCIETY, IT'S BANKRUPTING THE COUNTRY'S FUTURE!" into my oxygen mask, and then I'd have to go around again.

In the end I just let the instructor pilot take over. He's a liberal New England Republican, so he was able to bring us in fairly easily. I noticed him grinding his teeth, though, and when we taxied back to the hangar he burst out "Jesus! Every time I looked at the MFD I started to see the chart of increasing US fatalities in Iraq as a result of Bush's ill-judged attempt to reorder the Middle East! I almost crashed this bird!"

Posted by: ajay on September 7, 2007 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

ajay at 6:40 cracked me up, but the prize goes to Tilli at 2:55 for perfect accuracy with extreme economy of words.

Posted by: shortstop on September 7, 2007 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

In all seriousness, it seems that Bush is literally delusional. I'm not just taking a shot at old W when I say that. I really think he's delusional.

We just heard reports that at least as late as June of last year Bush was convinced Iraq had WMD. He is willing to tell world leaders that "we are kicking ass" in Iraq, which is like the knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail saying he's only got a flesh wound. He's living in bubbleland with his presidency in tatters. And now we read that he's going on and on about he doesn't know exactly when he became George W The Great but he sure does know he is.

What a weird and twisted and small little man. We let this guy have his finger on the button? We've all gone insane.

Posted by: Junius Brutus on September 7, 2007 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

> How many of you geniuses can fly an instrument
> landing approach in a supersonic jet fighter?

Uh, pretty much any 18-22 year old who graduated from high school and has decent balance can be taught to do that. That's why the Air Force recruits 18 y.o.s (in W's day, boys only; now girls too) rather than 45 y.o.s - they can be taught anything (even if they don't know it) and they think they are invincible.

Well, I guess W retained one of those characteristics...

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on September 7, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

He is willing to tell world leaders that "we are kicking ass" in Iraq, which is like the knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail saying he's only got a flesh wound.

I laughed when I read this because I had just finished telling someone, "When I read about Bush saying, 'We're kicking ass,' I thought once again: it's like this guy is on a grail quest for complete and total assholedom." It's like he gets up in the morning and asks himself, 'How can I govern utterly incompetently and be the biggest jerk imaginable while I do it?'"

Apart from the "kicking ass" statement being delusional, it's also wildly insensitive. Imagine being the parent of a dead soldier, or the only member of an Iraqi family still living, and hearing this.

It just beggars belief.

But yes, he is definitely mentally ill, probably with several diagnosable dysfunctions that go way beyond dry drunkdom and plain old bad parenting. As someone else noted above, calling him unfit for command doesn't begin to touch on it.

Posted by: shortstop on September 7, 2007 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Apart from the "kicking ass" statement being delusional, it's also wildly insensitive. Imagine being the parent of a dead soldier, or the only member of an Iraqi family still living, and Posted by: shortstop

Not that we ever held any moral high ground vis-a-vis the ME in general and with regard to Iraq in particular, but when Shrub went through his little pantomime of looking of WMD during the press club dinner (something that still sets my teeth on edge every time I think about it) and the assembled press and politicians had the temerity to laugh at his antics, I knew this country was fucked. Can one imagine Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower or even Nixon doing something so callous as that - treating war as a big fucking goof?

Posted by: JeffII on September 7, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

To this day I've never understood why the Kerry campaign didn't use video clips of that "comedy routine" at the WH Correspondents' Dinner in its campaign ads. If I had run that campaign, I'd have run that clip of that video every night in prime time interspersed with shots of the families of soldiers who had died in Iraq.

Posted by: Baron Vitelius on September 8, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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