WaPo Discovers The White House Salon

Mr. Wheat, having uncharacteristically turned on the evening news to get the headlines, was just observing that the MSM, which has for months been telling us the Prez could never spare Scooter Libby because that would be politically disastrous, immediately flipped and said the sentence commutation was an effort to split political hairs and please everyone. I recognize that human beings have interested motives, but the press' utter inability to take anything at face value is so irritating. The President did what he thought was the right thing. The press can't even allow for that as a factor.

For another instance of the same phenomenon, Prof. K. points me to this WaPo portrait of the President. I guess it's not as hateful as it might be, but it takes the view that the President's lunches with intellectuals are somehow a new phenomenon --Bush wringing his hands as his presidency collapses in disaster. Take for instance the description of one recent salon:

At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers. ...

What is the nature of good and evil in the post-Sept. 11 world? What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I'm facing? How will history judge what we've done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?

And later:
These are the questions of a president who has endured the most drastic political collapse in a generation. Not generally known for intellectual curiosity, Bush is seeking out those who are, engaging in a philosophical exploration of the currents of history that have swept up his administration.
Oh, brother. This is clearly the reporter's take on an event described at length here and here. Is that the same event, I ask you? The original stories show the lack of curiosity meme for what it is: a canard. (Remember the book-reading contests?) But WaPo would have it the Prez called the meeting to find out what went wrong with his presidency.

I doubt very much incidentally the Prez thinks anything went wrong with his presidency in the larger sense. Fate or providence threw some challenges at him and he met them as he thought best. It's not that he wouldn't do some things differently, but on the whole he's content to let history judge him. What seems to drive the reporter mad is that the Prez doesn't care how WaPo judges him.

Are we so far from understanding the virtue of prudence that we can't understand a man looking for the right course of action and then manfully seeing it through for better or worse --or at least enduring the stresses of his job without whining and wringing his hands about everything? I think the President this reporter longs for is Jimmy Carter. And I think Bush is the least mysterious political figure I can name, even though the smart fellows at WaPo are perpetually mystified by him.