How deeply in denial is Bush?
It's a question worth lingering on for a while it seems to come up over and over again. Let's take a look at this snippet of what’s going on in Dubya's head.
But he insisted that he has paid attention to the protesters.
"Of course, I care what they believe. And I've listened carefully. I've thought long and hard about what needs to be done," he said. "And obviously some people in Northern California do not see there's a true risk to the United States posed by Saddam Hussein. And we just have a difference of opinion."
Asked about protests overseas, the president initially downplayed the extent of the problems he has encountered with normally friendly nations.
"There are two nations in Europe -- France and Germany -- who do not see Saddam Hussein as a direct threat. And we just have a difference of opinion. But there are a lot of other nations who do,"he said.
Now, giving him the benefit of the doubt, downplaying opposition is something presidents do. Yes, Mister Nosy Reporter Liberal Media Scum, there is opposition out there and the fact that it is as big as it is should have me worried. In fact,,I should be mucking up my pretty executive boxer shorts right now, but you see, I can't admit that because to admit fear is to admit defeat. And I am the leader of the free world. Therefore I never admit defeat.
But look at that Northern California remark. Now, if Bush really had paid attention to the protesters I'm not sure he would have been so publicly dismissive. I say publicly because privately he probably does think that the protesters are just a bunch of Bay Area liberals en masse, but publicly he would want to display a bit more sensitivity and awareness. But this is Bush we're talking about, the same man who can look the President of Brazil in the eye--in the presence of Condoleeza Rice--and ask with a straight face,"Do you have blacks here too?" The man has all the sensitivity of an impotent porcupine. Two theories thus emerge:
1) He knows exactly how large and varied the protests were and simply doesn't care. Remember this is also the same man who stole the presidency with the minority popular vote and still had the coke-sniffing, pretzel-choking gall to say, "I know what the American people want." Therefore the millions around the world might as well be a biased few located somewhere between Berkeley and the Castro.
2) He really doesn't know. This is a man who never admits to failure and makes no apologies for his ignorance in matters of state. All his life he’s been sheltered and shuffled from one comfy position to another. Whatever mistakes he made are rarely alluded to by our SCLM. Protesters are kept away from him as though they the might contaminate them with bacterium of actual compassion and understanding.
My guess? A combination of the two. He doesn't really know, and doesn't care about what he doesn't know. Why bother with the real world when in the world of your making there is no public dissent, the war is making pretty colors on FOX News, the oil is pouring into the SUV tanks of the under-appreciated ric,, and reelection is only a few thousand disenfranchised voters away? Bush doesn't need reality. He has the power to make his own. Unfortunately, he makes it our own too.