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Saturday, February 7, 2004


John Robb takes a shot at George W. Bush:

Is the pre-9/11 Bush back? Is it just me or has the president, over the past couple of months, started to sound like the wavering and discordant Bush of the 2000 election cycle? I think it isn't just me. You can hear the change in the timbre of his voice, as well as in the halts and pauses in his thinking as he presents himself.

There is a definite feeling that there is a cognitive dissonance between what he has been coached to say (as all presidents are) and what he really thinks (or worse, his coaching is an attempt to inject structure into a mind in chaos as to what needs to be done next).

Perhaps the reason is that the situation we are facing is starting to get very complicated. The earlier black and white issues (are you for us or against us) has given way to a vast swath of grey. This is precisely the type of situation where a man who is only comfortable with clearly defined issues falls apart.

Another reason may be that Bush accomplished everything he wanted to do in his presidency. He cut taxes for the rich and deposed Saddam. The results -- a massive deficit and a huge military commitment to a long-term nation building effort/guerrilla war -- indicate that there can't be a next act on the present course. We're hamstrung, we can't afford to do anything else. All that is left is defending the crumbling support for earlier actions. Without a goal, Bush may feel rudderless in rough seas.
[John Robb]

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