"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." -George W. Bush quoting William Borah (R. ID)
I've wasted far to much mental energy over the last several days trying to determine exactly what William Borah said that was so laughably reprehensible. Suppose for a second that the Idaho Senator did posses a silver tongue and a superhuman power of persuasion. Suppose he could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. Isn't that precisely the sort of man we'd want negotiating with Hitler? And suppose nothing would be gained from a conversation with Hitler. Suppose sending Borah to chat him up would have been a waste of every one's time. And therefore what exactly?
As a good friend pointed out to me this afternoon, Chamberlain isn't remembered as one of history's great jack donkeys because he went to talk to Hitler. He's remembered as a jack donkey because he let Hitler take him to the cleaners. His crime wasn't conversation. It was capitulation.