I remain confused on the How-dumb-is-Bush? question. I think he’s stupid as a Fox -- capitalized, in case anyone missed it, as an allusion to Fox News. What I mean is that he’s obviously a half-bright individual, but he’s evil, and that makes up for a lot. What I mean by evil is that he believes he has a mandate (but it’s from God and a synonymous sense of entitlement and elitism, rather than from voters) and that allows him to think the ends justify the means.
This is how Bush can do the stupidest things and come out shining: It’s never over until it’s over, meaning Iraq may look like a mess, but just look at it in 100 years! And it may seem as though the U.S. government raped democracy, but look back on it from the perspective of what might happen over the next several decades! Sure our troops are being slaughtered in Iraq -- that's because we intended Iraq to serve as a terrorism magnet that draws attacks away from the United States. So we’re safer today than before we attacked Iraq. And, yes, we’re having more and more terrorism alerts, which is why we can’t fail in Iraq and must re-elect the idiot who got us there because now there’s so much at stake ...
This is all incredibly stupid, but it looks exactly like the work of an evil genius. Since you can’t pin down results or intentions, and the history keeps changing, you can never gain any traction against the guy in control.
This applied madness is exactly the kind of muddled thinking polluting all Christianity. If good things happen, it’s a blessing from God. If bad things happen, it’s a test from God. Both are true because God moves in mysterious ways, and he always does things for the best, even if it doesn't seem best for us. But sometimes the devil steps in and causes evil. And sometimes that evil can seem like a good thing, but really be bad. And sometimes that evil is indistinguishable from a test from God.
So what is truth? The truth is that this stuff is impossible for rational people to deal with.
Bush is an idiot-savant, good at pursuing an absolutely stupid agenda.
It’s like something my brother once told me: Politics is the only job there is in which the only qualification is being good at getting the job.