Republicans delusioned

I don’t think we can win the war on terror.

Wait! Wait! Forget I said that! We can win the war on terror! We can! We can!

I half expected to see President Bush holding Toto and furiously clicking his ruby slippers together, so certain was he that simply by repeating a belief, he could make it so.

Yet Bush’s 24-hour pirouette regarding the winnability of the war on terrorism – easily the flippest of flops yet seen in a presidential campaign laced with accusations of same – provided an appropriate backdrop for last week’s Republican National Self-Delusionfest at Madison Square Garden.

The theme of the convention – indeed, of the entire GOP presentation this election cycle – seemed to be, If we say something often enough, no matter how inaccurate, laughable or downright ludicrous, it becomes reality.

How else but through self-delusion could a political party stage its convention deep within a formidable, neighborhood-strangling armed defensive bunker, having placed New York under a level-orange terrorism alert, and still take credit for making Americans ”safer?”

How else but through self-delusion could an administration underfund its own education program by $9.5 billion, underfund veterans benefits and close VA hospitals, call the outsourcing of jobs overseas a good thing, and cut back access to overtime, while 1.3 million additional Americans fell below the poverty line and 1.4 million became newly uninsured in the last year alone – and still claim to be the party of “compassion?”

How else but through self-delusion could a president turn a projected $5 trillion federal surplus into a projected $5 trillion deficit, create the largest annual budget deficit in U.S. history, and preside over a net loss of a million jobs while personal bankruptcies hit all-time highs, and still claim to be steward of a “strong” economy?

How else but through self-delusion could a president speak of “liberating” the people of a nation that now teeters on the brink of a civil war held off not by any exercise of democracy, but only by the intervention of a godlike ayatollah who, luckily for us, is named Sistani and not Khomeini?

How else but through self-delusion could an administration claim to be “winning” a war on terrorism while scores of American soldiers are being killed each month by terrorists in Iraq, when airliners are crashing in Russia, buses are blowing up in Beersheba and commuter trains are exploding in Madrid and while civilians from various nations are being kidnapped in Iraq and executed?

Oh, that’s right – the president said we can’t win the war on terrorism, just before he said we could.

You know things are bad when Bush can’t even get his delusions straight.

Self-delusion is usually harmless, even entertaining – until others begin to buy into it in large numbers.

There has been an eerily cultish quality among Bush supporters.

His devotees have been hypnotically impervious to any evidence contradicting whatever spin on reality he and his people have put forth.

A commission empaneled by the White House says Bush’s defense secretary bears some responsibility for the reprehensible treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib?

Four more years!

Bush refuses to denounce the widely discredited ads aired by Swift Boat Hypocrites for Truth despite their implicit insult to all war veterans?

Four more years!

Bush’s own envoy concludes there probably were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when Bush chose to attack?

Four more years!

The 9-11 Commission reveals Bush did little despite being handed a document a month before the Sept. 11 attacks entitled, “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.?”

Four more years!

It’s disconcerting when a leader can induce adoring followers to believe what he says over the reality that should be evident to their own eyes and ears.

It almost makes you want to cry out, Snap out of it! Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!