Part of an article in a recent issue of TIME reminded me of a chilling but telling quote from a 2004 Ron Suskind article in The New York Times Magazine.
The Mike Allen’s “Living Too Much In The Bubble” article in the September 19, 2005, edition of TIME contains the following anecdotes about President Bush:,
* one of his mosted trusted confidants calls him “a better third and fourth quarter player”
* that Bush’s inner circle has shrunk “with fewer and fewer people willing or able to bring him bad news–or tell him when he is wrong.”
* a youngish aide says “The first time I told him he was wrong, he started yelling at me…”
Well, some would argue the first description but this is fact: two disasters have taken place during President Bush’s watch, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. This country deserves someone attentive and active in each and every quarter, not just at responding in the second half. The need is for someone who is attuned to the actual world.
The world is simply far too complex and the need for knowledge immense for the President of the United States to operate in semi-seclusion. Any management tome worth its weight emphasizes that one absolute for a leader is surrounding himself/herself with truth tellers.
That goes double for the leader of the most powerful nation on earth.
Now to Ron Suskind “Without A Doubt” article in the November 17, 2004, edition of The New York Times Magazine. Here are two glaring paragraphs:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
Forget about the smashmouth hubris and condescension.
But do remember the approaching 2,000 dead, the 10,000 and counting physically maimed, the untold psychologically damaged and the unknown Iraqi carnage. Do think about the quagmire that cannot simply be un-created. Like the animal with a leg caught in a trap, there are no other new or foremost realities that the Bush Administration has been able to create as a distraction as a means of moving on.
These same players also ‘enjoyed’ an uncontrollable reality set upon them by Hurricane Katrina. One that exposed the silliness in the belief of who is charged with reality imposition. What’s the line from that 1970s Chiffon Margarine commercial: “you can’t fool Mother Nature.”
The question facing us is can we literally survive the three remaining years of the Bush Administration? One hope is that the various investigations and indictments that have come to reality in D.C. will gobble up the attention of the Bushies. The best we can hope is that such becomes the focus and no greater harm is done to this country and the world.