Fresh Paint
Monday, October 18, 2004
Scariest Story Ever Told
Without a Doubt

It is 11 pages long, but adds insights into Bush's "character" I hadn't seen before and is written by the journalist who wrote the Paul O'Neill book, Ron Suskind. Many scary anecdotes about Bush's version of God, but it's his entire view of the world that is really frightening:
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.''
Read the whole thing. It will lace up your Kerry volunteer boots faster than anything I've seen.

Speaking of which, I spent yesterday afternoon at the phone bank in Buffalo Grove, a huge place designed for just this kind of activity, with 400 phone lines available. This is my least favorite activity in the world. I loathe doing it. I would rather knock on 500 doors and have people spit on my face than do this. I get tongue-tied, I sound like an idiot, I get distracted.

But in Wisconsin they keep repeating that last time it took only one more voter per precinct to win the state for Al Gore, so dragging an undecided voter out of the lists of "unlikely voters" and tossing him into the Kerry bin is extremely satisfying. I found three, maybe four. Oddly enough, in the 2 and a half hours I phoned yesterday, I didn't get a single person who simply hung up on me (as I probably would have done).

Two of my successes were swayed by the debates, especially the last one. One woman said she'd taped all three debates, and had just finished watching the first one, and was still reserving her final judgment until she watched the rest, but was leaning toward Kerry for the first time. Another was anxious about how everything would get paid for, didn't trust what was happening right now, and had a niece who had been called back to Iraq once already after her first tour, and had heard that they were sending her back again. The more she talked, the more she talked herself into supporting Kerry. I was just an ear who made nodding sounds.

My favorite was the 85 year-old woman who, when I asked whether she planned to vote for John Kerry said, "Who?" I explained that he was running for president and I thought he was a very good man. I then read a few of the talking points from our issues list, starting with health care, since she had mentioned she was now too sick to work in the beauty salon she'd been in until recently. "If he's good enough for you, he's good enough for me. Put me down for him," she said.

Oh, if they could all be that simple! And please, someone read the note I left about this woman with the canvass sheet, and take tender care of her!

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