latenight additions: this NYT piece may be the best window we have into the thinking of this president. ("i've given them freedom, why don't they thank me?") why does he have such a hard time getting it? is it actually possible that the bushies are looking fro fresh insights? fascinating.
in this midst of which is this very interesting unsupported and unattributed claim:
The White House began to open its doors to a wider range of views earlier this year, after acknowledging that months of complaints after Hurricane Katrina that the president and his team were isolated — "living in a bubble" was a frequent refrain — had gotten through. But that accelerated after Joshua B. Bolten became White House chief of staff in the spring.if katrina helped burst the bushies' bubble, sounds like we should maybe thank god for global warming after all?
here's the latimes version, which about halfway thru makes the important political connection to all this
Bush met with the experts during two days of sessions with Cabinet officials and others focusing on Iraq, terrorism and national security issues.bottom line tho, unfortunately, seems to be that while they're open to new perspectives, the bushies don't plan on any changes in policy anytime soon:
The sessions were held as White House strategists are taking every opportunity to focus — for the third election cycle in a row — on national security as the winning issue.
Republicans seized on the results of the Connecticut Democratic primary last week, in which the pro-Iraq war Sen. Joe Lieberman lost to political newcomer Ned Lamont, as evidence of a "defeatist" Democratic Party. The GOP, struggling to overcome sour approval ratings on Iraq and other issues, then circled around the British investigation of an alleged plot to bomb U.S.-bound airliners as a campaign issue.
The experts said in interviews that Bush signaled that he intended to make no policy changes in Iraq, despite warnings from military leaders and election-year arguments from Democrats that the war is a drain on resources and a distraction from the administration's campaign against terrorism. (latimes, 3rd paragraph)this is what ken mehlman calls "adapting to win." as usual, jon stewart gets it.
Participants said Mr. Bush appeared serious and engaged during the lunch, which lasted more than 90 minutes, as the experts went through a lengthy discussion of the political, ethnic, religious and security challenges in Iraq. And through it all, Mr. Bush showed no signs of veering from the administration’s policies to support the new government and train Iraqi security forces to take over the fight, and only then bring American troops home. (nytimes, 8th paragraph)
according to the federal news service, these are the "experts" this president met with:
Vali Nasr, professor of Middle East politics at the Naval Postgraduate School; Eric Davis, professor of political science at Rutgers University; Carole O'Leary, scholar in residence for the Middle East Initiative at American University; and Reuel Marc Gerecht, who is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
do these people "get it?"
here's the scoop on (from top left to right) nasr, davis, o'leary, and gerecht. judge for yrself.