Most of the time, George W. Bush displays a merely middling level of breathtaking stupidity. Roughly the level of those who need Rush to tell them how to vote or Ann to tell them who they hate. But once in a while, as he did today in the Knesset, he can delight us with truly revolutionary ignorance.
There he was, the cowboy whose hat is too big for his tiny head, pretending to be a "friend" to the Jews. Excoriating those who would dare to negotiate with the enemies of Israel and the United States -- as if silence was a magical shield that only happy thoughts could penetrate.
As if anyone has a better idea.
He compared these dastardly negotiators to those who "appeased" Hitler in the 1930's -- men like his own grandfather, Prescott -- who bankrolled the Nazis before the government stepped in and shut him down.
He claimed that the policy of sitting down and talking with one's enemies had been proven ineffective by history, apparently unaware that two of his Republican predecessors, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, had done just that with excellent results. He also insinuated that Barack Obama would negotiate with Hamas (for the record, he wouldn't -- unless they officially recognized Israel and ceased hostilities).
Like a child who believes that the monster can't hurt him as long as the closet door is closed, Mr. Bush seems to believe that Iran, North Korea, and Cuba will spontaneously decide to become pro-American Democracies if we just ignore them long enough. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Revised Bush Doctrine: firmly bury your head under the pillow, repeat "I believe in unicorns" over and over, and wait for the problem to fix itself.
For someone who likes to project a macho, rancher/fighter pilot image -- who likes to rattle his saber and call his enemies all sorts of names -- he sure seems afraid of seeing these leaders face to face, doesn't he? Maybe we have it all wrong -- maybe George W. Bush isn't dim-witted. Maybe he's just a pussy.
If I had to guess, I'd say that history will remember him the same way it remembers (or more accurately, doesn't remember) President James Buchanan -- as a corrupt, ineffectual man who was woefully unequal to the job. A man who did nothing while deep divides began to tear the fabric of our Union apart.
Lucky for us (and Democracy, and the world), the man who succeeded Buchanan was radically different. He believed in reaching out to his enemies. In listening to the grievances of those who disagreed with -- even hated him. That man was a relatively inexperienced lawyer from Illinois. He became our greatest president, and the savior of our nation.
They say history repeats itself.