In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Ultimately, that's what this election comes down to: the "Reality-Based Community", with its roots in the Reformation and the Enlightenment, against an Administration rooted in Divine Right and Revelation. These people aren't "neo-conservative"; they're Neo-Feudalist.
(Yes, registration is required, and the New York Times seems to have one person dedicated to cancelling the accounts generated at BugMeNot. I HATE having to register for news sites -- but I did for this article.)