Can we put the 'Bush is a doofus' vs. 'Bush is an evil genius playing a doofus' debate to rest?
You know the debate I'm talking about. You'll see a post about Bush's latest goofy gaffe on some liberal blog, and then in the comments someone will write 'Don't underestimate him -- everything Bush has done has been perectly according to plan. He's gotten everything he wants.'
It can be hard to reconcile Bush's apparent simple-mindedness with his massive consolidation of executive power, his ability to hypnotize a large part of the electorate into thinking that his administration will serve their interests and the huge pay-off his presidency has represented for the boys down at the country club. Things haven't gone his way in the polls recently, but he's managed to do what nobody since Reagan has even tried -- convince people that government is, by definition, a hopeless mess.
But I think this Boston Globe piece by Robert Kuttner (which I got via my friend Jonathan Weiler at the Gadflyer) squares that circle nicely. Kuttner argues (and he's not the first) that Bush is simply the goofy front-man in an operation run to a much greater degree than anyone cares to acknowledge by Darth Cheney: