OLBERMANN: We might get Democrats to be in a kind of forced shared ownership of this war. Why won‘t this president attempt to get something like that done?It's scary. Bush is like the king who swears he sees pink elephants in the room and his minions and peasants must agree or be tagged dissenters and banished to the dungeon.
SULLIVAN: Well, of course, they could have done that after 9/11. Someone like Churchill brought opposition members into his cabinet. Other war leaders have brought everybody in, in order to have a secure base, but from the beginning Karl Rove made a decision to use the war as a partisan weapon. And now they are left. I mean, they are left alone, because the war has failed.
If it had succeeded, we might have been on the verge of having a one-party state in this country. They were clearly aiming to purge the entire government of opposition to them. But it hasn‘t worked and the war is clearly in a terrible mess. And they don‘t really have anywhere else to go. And Bush, I think psychologically, he just believes he is right. He thinks that, in his fundamentalist psyche, that his motives are pure, that the war is the right thing.
I don‘t think he is a cynic. I think he is a true believer. The trouble with true believers is that how can you tell them when they have made an error, and when true believers created a culture within the White House in which everybody must agree with the leader, who goes in there to talk to him and say this? I mean, Bob Novak said he didn‘t even think that Nixon, in the days before he resigned, was as isolated as George W. Bush is today....
I think it‘s more that my motives are so pure that I cannot do wrong. I think that‘s the mindset there. It‘s like when you are born-again, you give everything up to god, who controls everything, and I think the president had a born-again moment on 9/11, politically. And he thinks, as long as he is fighting evil, anybody who criticizes him is on the side of evil.
And that is a terribly dangerous mindset. And he doesn‘t have—I think this is the critical thing, unlike other presidents—a vice president seeking reelection. There is nobody in the White House itself that has an interest in winning in 2008. So, they could carry on forever.
Meanwhile, the Congress is beginning to panic. People around the country in the Republican party are in close to near panic about what this is going to do in 2008.
OLBERMANN: What do we do about this? I mean, is any of this still being seen by anyone as strength on his part? Or is it seen merely as abstinence.
SULLIVAN: I think it‘s not strength, it‘s brittleness. The thing with things that are brittle is that they suddenly snap. And my concern is that this will suddenly snap at some point. My own view is that the Democrats should not claim ownership of this. They should fund the troops. They have made their statement. People know where they stand. Then they should let the president and the Republican party own this war from now on, and just say to the electorate, look, you have a chance in 2008 to end this.
And I think many Republicans realize that if the Democrats take that tactic and that strategy, which of course is morally difficult, with the expense of these young men and women in Iraq, but politically, then the Republicans could be headed for a wipe out of historic proportions in 2008.
It also reminds me of the movie "The Rapture", which is about a born-again mother who so much believes in Christ's imminent return that she allows her own daughter to die while holding on to this belief. The movie is both powerful in its underlying message and extremely disturbing.
The larger question being: at what point does staying devoted to a seeming moral belief become immoral?
Also, I agree with Sullivan that the Dems should fund the troops (which this current bill does, GW's BS aside) and yet clearly let the GOP continue to own this war. It's their albatross and they know it. They'll wake up and do the right thing once they realize their political skins are in grave jeopardy (and some are already indicating that the awakening has begun).