July 4, 2007

Belated Reflection

This from the Washington Post:
A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease -- By Peter Baker, Washington Post Staff Writer

At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers. One at a time or in small groups, he summons leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House to join him in the search.

[H]e asks his questions: What is the nature of good and evil in the post-Sept. 11 world? What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I'm facing? How will history judge what we've done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?

These are the questions of a president who has endured the most drastic political collapse in a generation. Not generally known for intellectual curiosity, Bush is seeking out those who are, engaging in a philosophical exploration of the currents of history. . . . For all the setbacks, he remains unflinching, rarely expressing doubt in his direction, yet trying to understand how he got off course.
Irwin Stelzer [a Hudson Institute scholar] said Bush seemed smarter than he expected. The conversation ranged from history to religion and touched on sensitive topics for a president wrestling with his legacy. "He asked me, 'Do you think our unpopularity abroad is a result of my personality?' And he laughed," Stelzer recalled. "I said, 'In part.' And he laughed again."

Much of the discussion focused on the nature of good and evil, a perennial theme for Bush, who casts the struggle against Islamic extremists in black-and-white terms.
[S]aid Michael Novak, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, "[I]f you've got that set, all the criticism, it doesn't faze you very much. You're answering to God."
Hearing that a Congressman's wife wonders why he doesn't give up, Bush phoned her. 'but got voice mail. Bush left a message: "I'm doing okay. Don't worry about me."'
For the first time in his presidency, according to all I've read, Bush is speaking to people who don't necessarily agree with his ideas. He's asking for opinions other than his own.
Too late, of course.
Meanwhile, Baker sounded sympathetic to the plight of the President. He seemed to be asking almost plaintively, as Bush also seems to be, 'Where did it all go wrong?'

Which leads me to the question of both Baker and Bush: Where have you been for the last 6 1/2 years? Have you been paying attention?
Click here for the complete article.


TomCat said...

Bush must be thoroughly dense. What to people hate? Virtually every thing he has done in the last six years has been hateful.

Alien Citizen said...

Ugh. Bush is a classic fratboy...I've always been wary of those types. They are always crass, sexist, secretly or loudly racist, and don't think there is anything wrong with putting their selfish desires above the good of everyone else. Basically that means that partying and drinking his braincells away while bashing them out of others made a lot of sense to him. I couldn't dislike him more. But on the other hand, he is just a puppet leader. Especially if he is as stupid as he acts. The real power players include Cheney, Bush Sr. Mrs. Bush Sr., Karl Rove and Company (that is a real political consulting firm based in Austin, Texas), and many others in the national and international arena, whose names I may never even have heard before. They are playing a deft chess game and when they lose a pawn (Bartlett), a bishop (Wolfowitz), or even a rook (Rumsfeld), you can bet they saw it coming and thought it was worth the sacrifice. I think we (I'm always guilty of this) need to stop focusing so much the individual and whatever other candy they hand us and look at the goshdarn big picture. Because you can medicate the pain and the patient will still die of the disease. And I see us, as a global society, bleeding in a million places right now....Vampires at our necks. Remember, Bram Stoker's Dracula was written about the wealthy aristocracy exploiting the less fortunate (based on a real man)...it wasn't just fantasy horror. Wow, this comment ended up being rather long...I'll post it on my blog too.

leftdog said...

Happy 4th of July to you from Canada! Have a great holiday!

two crows said...

yeah, TC--
what's not to hate?

hey, a c--
I think you've outlined the chess game pretty well. and bush is the central pawn the master tosses out ahead of the others.

and, ld--
how lovely it must be to be in Canada -- a ringside seat to the destruction without being in the middle of it.
as to the 4th -- a pretty hollow holiday, these days.
it never _was_ one of my favorites -- I never could get behind celebrating genocide, slavery, discrimination, sexism and the general sense of 'we're better than everybody else and don't you dare forget it!'

Alien Citizen said...

Nice. I completely agree with you about July 4th. In fact, I'd like to quote you on that one, blogside. Americans ought to read Zinn's People History of the United States every 4th of July and learn something about the history of this "great" country. God, we could be something so much better than we are.

two crows said...

feel free -- quote away! :)

yep -- so sad to know how much better we COULD be with all the resources we have available.
I've been hearing a quote lately, don't know if it's a florida-ism or if it's out there generally:
"it's better to be lucky than good."
that about sums up being American, these days.

TomCat said...

Well said, AC.