No Comment — January 6, 2008, 7:50 am

The Delusional President

In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, President Bush compared himself with Washington and Lincoln–as he has done dozens of times before–discusses his foreign policy aspirations and expectations on the eve of a visit to Israel and the West Bank. Bush believes future generations will understand the brilliance of his foreign policy, and that a final peace between Israelis and Palestinians is now immediately within grasp. Even discounting for the fact that the interview is about objectives rather than reality, Bush’s detachment from reality is striking. Here are a couple of key graphs:

Question by Yediot: Do you mean that your administration will win retroactive fame, like the administration of president Truman, for example?
Bush replies: ‘Every president contends with different circumstances. I hope that when people will look back to my administration, they will say that president Bush and his administration worked diligently in order to defend the American people from evil; that president Bush identified the threats of the 21st Century; that when he was required to act forcefully he acted with strength, and when he was required to present vision he understood the strength of freedom to bring change’…

Bush says in regard to Olmert: ‘I reached the conclusion that he
is a man of vision. He understands the importance of creating hope
for the Palestinians in the framework of the state they will
establish. And of course, he understands that this is a hope not
only for the Palestinians but rather also for the Israelis. After
all, he ran in the elections on the basis of a certain platform.
The support for two states is a substantive change in the Israeli
concept, a change which began already with Ariel Sharon. This
concept is built on the assumption that freedom brings peace’.

Bush continues: ‘Olmert, of course, wouldn’t want that the state
will be established without certain conditions first being
guaranteed. Because of this I say, a state subordinate to the road
map. And the US recognizes the fact that a state cannot be
established which will preserve the aspiration to destroy its
neighbor. No government can accept this, and I understand it’.

Bush says: ‘The US can assist the two sides. I intend in my
journey on strengthening the confidence of the two sides in the
vision. My trip is more than a visit to Israel and to the
Palestinian territories. I am traveling to the Arab states for
three reasons. The first, to persuade these states that Israel is a
partner and it must be a partner for peace. This is an interest not
only of Israel and the Palestinians but rather of the entire Arab
world’.

‘Second, we had a breakthrough in Annapolis and now we must go in
the path of the success which was achieved. The US president can
advance the process by reminding allies and friends of America in
the Middle East of the importance of a solution of two states and
what they can do in order to assist in achieving it’.

‘The third objective of my trip is to discuss with the leaders
of the region the strategic ramifications of the American presence, how it strengthens regimes and creates a barrier to Iranian aggression’.

The entire interview can be viewed here.

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Editor's Note

Many comedians consider stand-up the purest form of comedy; Doug Stanhope considers it the freest. “Once you do stand-up, it spoils you for everything else,” he says. “You’re the director, performer, and producer.” Unlike most of his peers, however, Stanhope has designed his career around exploring that freedom, which means choosing a life on the road. Perhaps this is why, although he is extremely ambitious, prolific, and one of the best stand-ups performing, so many Americans haven’t heard of him. Many comedians approach the road as a means to an end: a way to develop their skills, start booking bigger venues, and, if they’re lucky, get themselves airlifted to Hollywood. But life isn’t happening on a sit-com set or a sketch show — at least not the life that has interested Stanhope. He isn’t waiting to be invited to the party; indeed, he’s been hosting his own party for years.

Because of the present comedy boom, civilians are starting to hear about Doug Stanhope from other comedians like Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, and Louis CK. But Stanhope has been building a devoted fan base for the past two decades, largely by word of mouth. On tour, he prefers the unencumbered arrival and the quick exit: cheap motels where you can pull the van up to the door of the room and park. He’s especially pleased if there’s an on-site bar, which increases the odds of hearing a good story from the sort of person who tends to drink away the afternoon in the depressed cities where he performs. Stanhope’s America isn’t the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone. On Word of Mouth, his 2002 album, he says, “America may be the best country, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress. Just because you’re the best doesn’t make you good.”

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