The Best Of The Dish Today

Now that the drive-by media, to borrow a term from Rush Limbaugh, has moved on, new documents that reveal the inner life of Bowe Bergdahl paint an utterly different picture of him than the traitor/deserter/Islamist/anti-American profile broadcast by Fox News. Instead, you find a deeply troubled and mentally unstable character, clearly prone to deep depression, and struggling to find a way to live in the world. We learn that he was discharged from the Coast Guard for psychological reasons, for example. And then there are simply painful passages of juvenile prose that reveal just a lost soul:

“I’m worried,” he wrote in one journal entry before he deployed. “The closer I get to ship day, the calmer the voices are. I’m reverting. I’m getting colder. My feelings are being flushed with the frozen logic and the training, all the unfeeling cold judgment of the darkness.” A few pages later, he wrote: “I will not lose this mind, this world I have deep inside. I will not lose this passion of beauty.”

At another point, using his often un­or­tho­dox spelling, he wrote: “Trying to keep my self togeather. I’m so tired of the blackness, but what will happen to me without it. Bloody hell why do I keep thinking of this over and over.”

As for his intellectual influences, he has this in common with Dave Brat and every other adolescent who cannot quite find a way to live in a complicated, social world: Ayn Rand. The one novel in his possession when he walked off the base was Atlas Shrugged. And scene.

Today, we grappled with the fallout from the Cantor earthquake – and I attempted to gauge the power of right-wing populism in this volatile political environment. We also tackled the inevitable disintegration of Iraq, as the sectarian forces unleashed and only barely contained by the US invasion gradually resurfaced, aided and abetted by Maliki’s Shiite sectarianism. Plus: George Will’s blind spot; the Clintons’ fabulous Hamptons mansion; and the near-miraculous slowdown in Medicare costs – perhaps the most important factor for our future fiscal health, and what may well be another part of Obama’s broadening legacy.

The most popular post of the day was The Cantor Shocker: Blog Reax, our trademarked round-up of online commentary; followed by Engaging the T, Ctd., where I defend Dan Savage from the language police.

Many of today’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here.  You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 30 more readers became subscribers today. You can join them here for a little as $1.99 month.

See you in the morning.