So what does that rug say now?

"The imperiled presidency inside the bunker."

Published July 2, 2007 1:08PM (EDT)

Having put Dick Cheney under the knife last week, the Washington Post has George W. Bush on the couch this morning. The short version: "Inside the bunker," Bush is "besieged and isolated," "grasping for answers and fixated on Iraq" but somehow "resolute" and "at ease" all at the same time.

The slightly longer session: The president of the United States has taken to inviting writers and philosophers and other big thinkers to the White House to help him ponder his legacy. Among the questions he poses: "What is the nature of good and evil in the post-Sept. 11 world? What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I'm facing? How will history judge what we've done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?"

The thing is, the Post says, Bush seems to save these weighty matters for his invited intellectual guests. An old Bush pal named Robert McCleskey says the president talks with him about more pedestrian matters, like whether he's caught any fish lately. And Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel, who seemed to think that he'd be talking immigration with the president during a recent trip aboard Air Force One, found himself locked in a chat about baseball instead. "He talked a lot about the [Texas] Rangers," Rangel tells the Post. "I didn't know what the hell he was talking about."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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