This is not George Bush
(image from here)
The Peter Pan syndrome is in full effect at the White House. After meeting with George Bush, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the meeting (italics mine):
In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president’s minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new “way forward” for U.S. forces in Iraq.
“He’s tried this two times — it’s failed twice,” the California Democrat said. “I asked him at the White House, ‘Mr. President, why do you think this time it’s going to work?’ And he said, ‘Because I told them it had to.’ ”
Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, ” ‘I told them that they had to.’ That was the end of it. That’s the way it is.”
The snarky response would be to wonder what exactly Bush was telling them until recently. But there is a very serious concern: Bush is delusional. I don’t
just mean that as a pejorative–he is actually divorced from reality. I think El Jefe Maximo really believes that if we possess the will, we will win in Iraq (the idea that one wins an occupation is another sign of delusion).
While Glenn Greenwald has a legitimate point that the conservative claim that those who oppose the Bush-McCain escalation must “refrain from voicing any objections to the decision made by the Leader and the General” is a thuggish political tactic, I think he underestimates the role of Peter Pan thinking.
In Bush’s case, the authoritarian stance stems from his belief that it’s about will. This isn’t simply a political tactic, but a sincere, albeit lunatic belief, that Iraq will be ‘won’ through a ‘triumph of the will.’ Not logistics, planning, strategy, or tactics, but will. You’re supposed to outgrow your Nietsche phase…
A while ago, Atrios wrote:
I really do wonder what it takes to support your own unwarranted arrogance when it confronts a reality completely at odds with it. I doubt I’m alone in having occasional nontrivial anxiety bouts over some fairly screwup early in life which had relatively trivial consequences for me or those around me. I honestly can’t imagine living with the responsibility for what goes on in Iraq day after day without either having some severe psychotic break or simply curling up under the bed in the fetal position.
These people are wired up differently than me.
I think Bush has completely lost it. Not even Nixon was this divorced from reality.
Update: Apparently, Pelosi did bring the snark (italics mine):
Oh, it’s better than that. When I was on the Hill on Tuesday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told us (on the record) the rest of the story. Apparently, Pelosi’s final come-back to the president was the following:
PELOSI: He’s tried this two times — it’s failed twice. I asked him at the White House, ‘Mr. President, why do you think this time it’s going to work?’
BUSH: Because I told them it had to.
PELOSI: Why didn’t you tell them that the other two times?