“NO CONCEPTUAL GRASP”….Andrew Sullivan looked at the transcript of George Bush’s comment about not being able to win the war on terror, and instead of making the standard “Bushism” kind of cheap shot about it, he gets to the real reason that this matters:

….every time I hear the president talk extemporaneously about the war ? his interview with Tim Russert last February was a classic ? he does seem to have almost no conceptual grasp of what he’s talking about. Back then, he seemed flummoxed by the very concept of a distinction between a war of choice and a war of necessity. Now he seems to be parroting a Council on Foreign Relations confab on the permanence of terrorism.

Andrew is half right: the real problem with Bush is that he sounds this way on every subject when he’s talking without a script. Unless he’s been thoroughly coached, it’s plainly obvious that he just doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.

Now, as it happens, I don’t think that intelligence per se is that big a deal in a president. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said (or perhaps didn’t) about FDR, he had “a second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament,” and he did just fine anyway, didn’t he?

Still, even though FDR might not have been a policy wonk, he could hold a press conference and make it clear that he understood what he was doing. But with Bush, every time you get past the high school version of his policies, he’s just adrift. He’s generally shrewd enough to change the subject when he realizes he’s at sea, but when he does answer it’s scary.

Like I said, I don’t think we need Albert Einstein in the Oval Office. But do Republicans really feel comfortable with a guy who so plainly doesn’t understand his own policies? Don’t they think this might have something to do with the fact that so much of what he’s done has turned out badly even from a conservative perspective? When is enough enough?

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