George W Bush
Former US President George Bush. (Image: AP)

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community' ... 'That's not the way the world really works any more,' 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.'

Ron Suskind, "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush", October 17 2004, The New York Times

Reality, alas, had the last word, as it so often does. When Karl Rove -- who denies he actually said those words -- claimed to be "history's actor" in 2004, few would have disputed that the Bush administration was creating its own reality. The problem was, it believed its own reality as well.