The controversial quote from Suskind's story came near the end of the lengthy feature article, "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush," which examines the extraordinary degree to which Bush and his senior aides rely on their "faith" and their "gut" to make key policy decisions, and how those who raise questions based on facts or "reality" are cut out of the inner circle. According to Suskind, Bush recently told a closed meeting of major contributors, "I'm going to come out strong after my swearing in with fundamental tax reform, tort reform, privatizing of Social Security." Suskind reported that the statements were relayed to him by sources present at the event.
On Sunday the RNC sent out e-mails -- one complete with Suskind's photo and voter registration information -- that attacked him professionally and said the passages in question were "third-hand, made-up quotes" designed to "scare seniors." But the editor of the Times magazine, Gerald Marzorati, told Salon in an e-mail: "Ron Suskind's reporting was carefully reported and vigorously fact-checked."
Of course, when it comes to dishonesty, nobody beats Bush:
And in August, during his convention acceptance speech, just 10 blocks from the Times newsroom, Bush derided the paper, suggesting it was a fount of wrongheaded pessimism: "In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to Allied forces, a journalist wrote in the New York Times, 'Germany is -- a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. [European] capitals are frightened. In every [military] headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed.' End quote. Maybe that same person is still around, writing editorials."
Bush was referring to Anne O'Hare McCormick, the pioneering, Pulitzer Prize-winning Times journalist. And he twisted her dispatch about Germany; in fact, she was criticizing the "moral crisis" in the British and French sectors, while reporting that Americans were doing a better job of reconstruction. She also urged the United States to commit more troops to the occupation. Times columnist Maureen Dowd, discussing the speech, wrote: "Bush swift-boated her."
If you're not reality based, it seems that lie-based is what you have to resort to.
And for those who don't understand what reality based means, I quote from Ron Suskind's article, which is sending Bush apologists into outer-space:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
Is it any wonder I call this blog "Notes in Samsara???"