Thursday, February 17, 2005

Manchurian moment of Zen

Few will fail to recall this Times piece by Ron Suskind from October 2004, a scarce few weeks before Bush and Co. created its own reality on Nov. 2. It dwarfs the detritus of election year rubbish with what has to be the most famous unattributed quote of perhaps ever:
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.''
So remarkable was the reception this statement garnered that it has its very own entry in Wikipedia, a Red-Letter Day for a sinister paradigm. How sad for its author, and for us, that to this day we don't know which of history's actors -- or escorts -- to thank.

It has to be someone profoundly psychosociopathic. No sane senior advisor to the elected servant of a democratic entity says "We're an empire now," to a reporter for a major alleged news organization. No legitimate news organization in a democratic state would conceal the identity of the powerful advisor who said it.

We can be fairly sure it wasn't the feckless Ari Fleischer, who simply can't explain how Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert or anyone else gets credentialed at the White House. Anyone close to power who talks of creating "our own reality" in a time of worldwide backlash against Freedom on the March is not the type to dither or demur.

Indeed, only someone as imperially contemptuous of reality as Suskind's concealed source would have what it takes to put a Jeff Gannon into the White House Press Corps. Only someone who has sufficiently "seemed to have, ehm, divorced themselves from reality" would invent Jeff Gannon.

I'll bet my presidential pretzel-pin: Acquire the identity of Suskind's source and discover who, what, is behind the Grand-Guignol of Guckert-Gannon.

Update: Frank Rich apparently shares some of these concerns. See the middle part of this column from March 4, 2005:
Mr. Gannon, a self-promoting airhead, may well be a pawn of larger forces as the vainglorious Mr. Liddy once was. But to what end?...

We still don't know how this Zelig, using a false name, was given a daily White House pass every day for two years. Last weekend, Jim Pinkerton, a former official in the Reagan and Bush I White Houses, said on "Fox News Watch," no less, that such a feat "takes an incredible amount of intervention from somebody high up in the White House," that it had to be "conscious" and that "some investigation should proceed and they should find that out."


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