Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shorter David Brooks: George Bush is "incredibly foolish" and a "disaster" only some of the time

And that, says this partisan hack trapped in the uncomfortable position of dutifully defending something even he seems now to secretly suspect is indefensible, makes Bush a pretty good president.

The argument, basically, is this:

Bush is a stubborn man. Well, without that stubbornness, that unwillingness to accept defeat on his watch, he never would have bucked the opposition to the surge.

Bush is an outrageously self-confident man. Well, without that self-confidence he never would have overruled his generals.[...]

The whole episode is a reminder that history is a complicated thing. The traits that lead to disaster in certain circumstances are the very ones that come in handy in others. The people who seem so smart at some moments seem incredibly foolish in others.

Of course, without his arrogance and outrageous self-confidence, Bush wouldn't have lied our way into Iraq in the first place, without reason, without plan, without exit strategy. But that's not the point here.

Here's the point, says Brooks. It's not just that history is complicated:

Life is complicated. The reason we have democracy is that no one side is right all the time.

Well, no one ever accused Bush of that. Certainly not Brooks:

[B]efore long, the more honest among the surge opponents will concede that Bush, that supposed dolt, actually got one right.

Wow. That's his thesis: That supposed dolt actually got one right. And this is from one of Bush's supporters. Just . . . wow.

(Memo to self: If Brooks ever offers to defend me in print, politely decline.)

Of course, the only real criterion by which the Bush administration's "surge" has succeeded is that it's tied us down in Iraq until after Bush leaves office, making the predictably-difficult exit the next president's problem, but once again, that's not the point here. Please try to stay focused:

  • Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  • Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.

  • And even a doltish president eventually gets one thing right.

And thus is Bush's War considered vindicated among the Right.

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