The very first question at Wednesday’s debate for the remaining Republican presidential candidates was actually kind of interesting. Borrowing a Reagan line from 1980, Anderson Cooper asked, “[A]re Americans better off than they were eight years ago?” Not surprisingly, the GOP hopefuls didn’t seem anxious to talk about it. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino was asked the same question at a briefing last week. She didn’t want to talk about it, either.
And then there’s the president, who, one might imagine, would be the most embarrassed of all. But that’s just not the case.
Two thirds of his constituents think he’s doing a lousy job, four out of five crave a new direction, American troops are bogged down in Iraq, al Qaeda and the Taliban are on the rebound, the U.S. economy is tanking — you’d think maybe President Bush would be experiencing some moments of self-doubt by now. It would only be human.
But no, Bush continues to display — at least in public — an inexplicable cockiness.
The latest exhibition comes in a jaw-dropping interview with Roll Call Executive Editor Morton M. Kondracke. Kondracke writes): “Bush enters his last year in office expressing total confidence that he’s been doing the right things. He told me in an Oval Office interview that ‘absolutely, we are stronger’ as a nation than when he took office and that, even in areas where he failed to get what he wanted — as in Social Security and immigration reform — his ideas eventually will prevail.”
Dan Froomkin has the transcript; it's proof that reality does not reach inside Bush's bubble at all.