A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease
Translation: a man child living in a bubble and delusionally ignoring reality and his responsibility for the damage he has done.
Mr Baker begins with this:
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.But does he listen? We only have to drop down a few paragraphs to find the answer from insiders who should know.
Over sodas and sparkling water, he 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 that have swept up his administration.
Some aides see it as Bush refusing to accept reality. "The president thinks cutting and running on his friends shows weakness," said an exasperated senior official. "Change shows weakness. Doing what everyone knows has to be done shows weakness." Another former aide said that no matter how many people Bush consults, he heeds only two or three.What do you want to bet those two or three are the ones who know how to tell him what he wants to hear.
Bush is fixated on Iraq, according to friends and advisers. One former aide went to see him recently to discuss various matters, only to find Bush turning the conversation back to Iraq again and again. He recognizes that his presidency hinges on whether Iraq can be turned around in 18 months. "Nothing matters except the war," said one person close to Bush. "That's all that matters. The whole thing rides on that."This is why he will resist any change in Iraq unless congress puts the budgetary gun to his head. Now nearly everyone knows his debacle in Iraq is not going to be turned around in 18 months but he doesn't want the inevitable failure on his watch so more will die.
Sorry Mr Baker, if sympathy for Bush is what you had in mind it has fallen on deaf ears here.