At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers. One at a time or in small groups, he summons leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House to join him in the search.
What I thought of reading that passage was that the writer was somehow trying to cast Bush as Diogenes and how far off that observation was. Then, while I was checking my reference (because I read that story about the lantern and the “honest man” long, long ago), I looked at Wikipedia’s entry on Diogenes and thought maybe the Post hadn’t gotten it all that wrong:
The most shocking feature of his philosophy is his rejection of normal ideas about human decency. Performance artist, exhibitionist and philosopher, Diogenes is said to have eaten (and masturbated) in the marketplace, urinated on the man who insulted him, defecated in the ampitheatre, and pointed at people with his middle finger. Sympathizers considered him a devotee of reason and an exemplar of honesty. Detractors have said he was an obnoxious ragpicker and an offensive churl.
I guess that’s the part they didn’t put into the Golden Book Encyclopedia versions of the lives of the philosophers.