(President George and Laura Bush at casket of President Ronald Reagan)
Ms. Dowd has a strong, smart piece on the battle between Bush administration insider realists and idealists and juxtaposes Bush’s inflexibility with Reagan’s dramatic turns.
Read the whole thing, but here’s the best:
Bush junior cast himself as the Reagan heir. But as President Reagan showed in Lebanon, when he pulled out troops after 241 servicemen were blown up, and in Reykjavik negotiating with Mikhail Gorbachev on nuclear arms, he was incredibly flexible — an effective contrast with his inflexible rhetoric. He pursued openings and even radical diplomacy.
If the Gipper was wood, the Decider is stone.
Voters rejected W.’s black-and-white, good-and-evil, incompetent foreign policy last week. The president got the message that some shades of gray were desirable and brought in the family fixer with the bright green ties, who is perfectly positioned to come up with a solution that will fly in Washington and flop in Baghdad.
As the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr taught, morality without realism is naÃƒÂ¯vite or worse, and realism without morality is cynicism or worse. Morality should open your eyes, not close them.
Let’s hope the President gets to reading the papers today.
— Steve Clemons