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I just got and read the print copy yesterday, and that "numb" business struck me too. Numb, my ass. Uncaring would better describe it. Why would they be numb? They've all shown the sensitivity and empathy that a box of rocks has for five years; why would that change now?

Phil Nugent

I'll admit to a prejudice. For almost twenty years I've mostly thought of Evan Thomas as the co-author of "The Wise Men," which I remember as being a valuable book on Cold War-era policy. Most of what he's written in praise of Bush's greatness is just part of a larger culture that'll soon seem like an exercise in mass psychosis passing for conventional wisdom, like McCarthyism.

But Thomas crossed over to my enemies list last summer with his Deep Throat article, which was based on the idea that Watergate made it too acceptable for people to doubt our leaders, but that Bush has, thankfully, rolled back that wave. It even seemed to imply that journalists who had made politicians too timid to make big, bold moves were indirectly responsible for the Iran hostage crisis. Unusually pigheaded even for these times, and hypocritical, too, since people who are happy that Bush is president (which never could have happened if his dad hadn't had the job earlier, which in turn never could have happened if the elder Bush hadn't had Reagan's coattails to ride on) ought to get down on their knees and thank God for the Iran hostage crisis every night of their lives. From now on, I'll be inclined to buy into the very worst possible interpretation anyone can offer for everything he writes.

blue girl

Hi Lance, Evan Thomas was on Imus last week and Imus wouldn't stop talking about how clueless Bush is/was and all the things he could've done better.

Thomas responded, "Well, you can't expect him to be God!"

And Imus replied, "You're right. But I can expect him to be Rudy Giuliani."

I thought it was odd that Thomas said that to Imus. But then I remembered that behind-the-scenes Newsweek book about the election.

I'm not sure how much Thomas wrote himself -- but, there was so much gossip and low-down scoop about the Kerry campaign. Personal things, embarassing things, etc. God, you knew everytime Teresa had PMS. But, they didn't treat the Bush/Cheney campaign that way in the book. If I remember right they blamed it on "lack of access." But that reason did not ring true to me when I read it.

I haven't read this current article yet, but am going to do so now.

Great post. I love it when you get all journalism-ish.


Will the Media forget what they saw over the last two weeks or have they given up covering Bush as the President with the Bullhorn and from here on cover him as the President with the Guitar?

Judging from the on-air reaction to his god-awful speech tonight, I think they're going to take a third route: they won't forget what they saw, but they will ignore it as they concentrate on the "positive" actions the administration is taking now.

You described the story arc before in this post. It seems to me that things are starting to proceed according to (their) plan.


Ok, there's that cheap shot use of "Liberals." "Liberals will say...and we know they'll say anything and everything nasty that comes to their minds about the President, so we don't need to listen to them." "Liberals" aren't the only ones saying it.

This is a bit off the beaten topic, but why is it that we still allow "liberal" to be used like a four-letter word?



Good question. It'd make an interesting article, tracing the history of the word. My own sense is that the word had begun to have negative connotations before the Right adopted it as an all purpose curse word. Liberals were people who thought themselves to good to be Democrats but who were too timid to be leftists. Which suggests that like the term Political Correctness, Liberal as an insult was an invention of liberals. And it's funny, I never called myself a Liberal until sometime in the early 1990s. Before that I was just a Democrat. I became proud of my Liberalism when the Right switched into high gear and began using the word to mean everything good that had been done in the US since the beginning. So maybe the Right's been doing the word, and us Liberals, a favor. By defining the word as meaning everybody who is not THEM, they've made it a description of the majority of Americans who are not THEM.

Phil, I missed Thomas' Deep Throat article. I'll have to go find it. It was his writings about the last election that got to me. He wrote one comparing Bush's and Kerry's life histories, noted that at every step of the way Kerry was the over-achiever and Bush the screw-up, and still somehow managed to conclude that they were still pretty much the same, a pair of rich boys playing at politics, with a slight advantage to Bush, because he was more "real." Probably had something to do with Bush's doggedness. That's the kind of thing that I expect turned up in the book Blue Girl mentioned.

Blue Girl,

You know that whenever I get all journalism-ish I'm wearing a snapbrim hat with my press card in the brim, right?

Agi T. Prop


Thanks for the mention. I should clarify my earlier comment, which was probably written in a fit of angst. I guess it was this paragraph in Thomas' article which lit my fuse:

President George W. Bush has always trusted his gut. He prides himself in ignoring the distracting chatter, the caterwauling of the media elites, the Washington political buzz machine. He has boasted that he doesn't read the papers. His doggedness is often admirable. It is easy for presidents to overreact to the noise around them.

While Thomas was critical of Bush's performance on the Katrina issue as a whole, I feel as if he is somehow rationalizing Bush's performance due to Bush’s innate personality traits, as if that legitimates his failures.

Here Thomas equates the entire Katrina fiasco to a simple battle that Bush lost, not a tragedy which Bush willingly chose to ignore:

Late last week, Bush was, by some accounts, down and angry. But another Bush aide described the atmosphere inside the White House as "strangely surreal and almost detached." At one meeting described by this insider, officials were oddly self-congratulatory, perhaps in an effort to buck each other up. Life inside a bunker can be strange, especially in defeat.

He could have said “They screwed up, but it’s hard work!” Or maybe I was analyzing Thomas’ word choice too much since I’ve been reading George Orwell’s piece “Politics and the English Language”.

Earl Bockenfeld

What is the MSM supposed to report, except the Bush Administration can only do ONE thing at a time? The Bush Administration is just proceeding in a bipartisan logical manner to investigate all causes of this disaster, in alphabetical order:

A - assholes: these are the people who stayed behind. blame them

B - blacks: they did all that rioting and looting

C - Clinton: He didn't fix the NOLA levees so they wouldn't breach in a cat 5 storm

D - Democrats: because its all their fault.

Now we are up to E and that's those environmental terrorists. We have files on them.....



Excellent! You think by the time they get to Z they'll be ready to blame the whole thing on zydeco?

Earl Bockenfeld

Lance, zydeco music sounds like a winner. And I don't see any progressive blogs or democrats whose names start with Z.

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