The beginning of this Sidney Blumenthal column is jaw-dropping:
As witnesses were trooping to the stand in the federal courthouse in Washington to testify in the case of United States v. I. Lewis Libby, and the Washington Post was publishing its series on the squalid conditions that wounded Iraq war veterans suffer at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center while thousands more soldiers were surging into Baghdad, President Bush held one of his private book club sessions that Karl Rove organizes for him at the White House. Rove picks the book, invites the author and a few neoconservative intellectual luminaries, and conducts the discussions. For this Bush book club meeting, the guest was Andrew Roberts, an English conservative historian and columnist and the author of “The Churchillians” and, most recently, “A History of the English-Speaking People Since 1900.”
The subject of Winston Churchill inspired Bush’s self-reflection. The president confided to Roberts that he believes he has an advantage over Churchill, a reliable source with access to the conversation told me. He has faith in God, Bush explained, but Churchill, an agnostic, did not. Because he believes in God, it is easier for him to make decisions and stick to them than it was for Churchill. Bush said he doesn’t worry, or feel alone, or care if he is unpopular. He has God.
Blumenthal doesn’t say how he knows what Bush said at the book salon, and I would like to know that. I would hate to think Blumenthal just made this up, Ã la Peggy Noonan.
But if Bush said it, what might one infer about Bush’s approach to religion? Does he think God is an almighty rabbit’s foot? Because he “has God” (which is troubling, theologically speaking, in itself) he can’t make mistakes?
Even as Scooter Libby sat at the defendant’s table silently wearing his fixed, forced smile, and Vice President Dick Cheney was revealed by witnesses as the conductor of the smear campaign against former ambassador Joseph Wilson, Bush and Rove felt free to hold forth in their salon, removed from anxiety. Rove had narrowly escaped the fate of Libby by changing his grand jury testimony just before he might have been indicted for perjury. Bush, who proclaimed that he would fire any leaker found in his administration, is apparently closer to Rove than ever. The night before the Libby verdict, the president had dinner at Rove’s house, and Rove sent to the reporters shivering outside a doggie bag filled with sausage and quail wings.
As I said in the last post, I would be extremely surprised if Libby is pardoned. Bush doesn’t do anything that doesn’t glorify Bush. I think he and Karl have already flushed Libby and moved on.