THE GRANDEUR OF THE PRESIDENCY....What's the most addle-brained thing George Bush said during his sit-down with conservative columnists on Wednesday? It's a tough choice, so I'm going to let you make it. Here are the nominees:
Bush: "Iran empowered Hezbollah, Hezbollah takes the attack, and — which creates an interesting dynamic, and it gives us an opportunity to fashion kind of – an alliance of reasonable people headed toward a clash — all kinds of different ways, by the way — with extremists and radicals."
Matt Yglesias: It's easy to get distracted by the fact that Bush doesn't seem familiar with the English language and miss the fact that beneath the garbled syntax Bush is making a clear — and utterly incorrect — factual claim here that the upshot of the war was to cement an alliance between the United States, Israel, and moderate forces in the Arab world.
Bush: "One of the stories — interesting stories I tell is about the fellow that came here. He got kidnapped and he was rescued pretty early by our Delta team. I said, 'What's it like to be kidnapped, man? It must have been weird — Baghdad, to be kidnapped.'"
Steve Benen: For some reason, reading this reminded me an episode of The West Wing called, "Posse Comitatus."....
Bush: "A lot of people are just saying, 'You're not doing enough to win. We're not winning, you're not doing enough to win, and I'm frustrated, I want it over with, with victory.' And I'm trying to figure out a matrix that says things are getting better. I think that one way to measure is less violence than before, I guess...."
Byron York: But that, of course, leads back to the president's statement that the enemy gets to define victory by killing people. If the sectarian forces are able to keep up the killing, then they will determine who wins in Iraq. [Kinda weak, Byron. Needs more snark. You can do better. –ed]
Bush: "If we do not defeat the terrorists or extremists in Iraq, they will gain access to vast oil reserves, and use Iraq as a base to overthrow moderate governments across the broader Middle East."
Marc Lynch: This is just idiotic. The Sunni areas in which al-Qaeda would hope to reconstitute a base don't have any significant oil reserves — this is one of the primary problems with most partition or federalism schemes.