Anyway, in his first one on one interview since the election, Bush lets it be known how he preserves in the face of adversity to Brit Hume:
Bush: I had a bunch of our buddies from Texas up here this weekend, and they're
kind of -- they look at you, and go, man, how come you're still standing?
It's not so much the presidency on the shoals because of difficult decisions
I made; it's more, the weightiness of this thing must be impossible for
anybody to bear. And I tell them it's just not the case, that I'm inspired
by doing this job. . . .
"I also remind them, Brit, that Laura and I are sustained by the prayers of millions of people. That's hard for some to, you know, I guess, chew on."
Hume: "You sense that."
Hume: "I know they
tell you that, when you see them out on the hustings. But do you sense that?"
Bush: "I feel it."
Bush: "Yeah. Because the load is not heavy, I guess is the best way to describe it. Look, somebody said to me, prove it. I said you can't prove it. All I can tell you is I feel it. And it's a remarkable country when millions pray for me and Laura. So therefore I'm able to say to people, that this is a joyful experience, not a painful
experience. And yeah it's tough, but that's okay. It's tough times.
So, people pray for the president (something I recall everyday in Church, because its natural to want our head of state not to screw things up). And because people are praying for the office of the President, and for Bush himself, he isn't weighted down by all his mismanagement and incompetence. He doesn't feel bad for his mistakes, because someone's praying for him to be forgiven. See, all clean!
The problem with Bush's faith isn't the faith per se. There's nothing that makes religous people intrinsically bad leaders (and indeed history says otherwise). The problem is that the prayers and doctrine of forgiveness and assured assencion into heaven, which his faith tells him is a lock once he was born again, leads to a "what me, worry" attitude. So Iraq is failing badly? Well, people are praying for me, I know Jesus loves me, and I'm going to heaven, so relax. I'm bringng freedom to the Iraqis, which is just part of God's plan!
Maybe this is why Bush is so lazy. This is why he seems like he doesn't care. It's all in the hands of prayer and God to make sure things turn out right. Why, if all Americans prayed for victory in Iraq, especially publicly or in schools, then the insurgents would lay down their arms and we would have a big peace parade from Damascus to Tehran. That's why he's so obbsessed with spin and asserting "will" in the conflict. As long as we believe, it will all turn out all right. (Green lantern theory of war, h/t Yglesias)
Dammnit, man, when things are going to hell in a handbasket and its your doing, it better damn well weigh on you. Every maimed and dead American soldier, every crippled Iraqi child ought to way on your shoulders and your mind, because you have roally screwed the pooch. But just like with Katrina, just like any Bush disaster, he just shrugs it off. Not a big deal. Not when folks are out there prayin, right?
I fear that Bush will go to his grave without any sense of shame for his role in the greatest US foreign policy debacle in the Middle East. Or for the fact that his entire foreign policy was generally a debacle. Or that he fulfilled the goals of Al-Queda in a far better way then it could have ever done so on its own. Two more years of this...I hope it won't get too much worse.