Diana West

But this is a rock-ribbed Republican moment. Plus, it's a time of war. Sad to say, it's also time for a national shrink, someone to answer the question: Why are we killing ourselves?

The first patient, of course, would be the president himself. The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan has pegged the president's obvious disinterest in securing the border either to a crass effort to placate the Hispanic vote, or to "being lost in some geopolitical-globalist abstract-athon" that disconnects the administration from "the low concerns of normal Americans."

This bubble comes to mind on reading reader e-mail from Arizona, for instance, about home invasions and other illegal alien crime the president seems callous to, even as he seems to view immigration law enforcement as gratuitously brutish -- or, as the Center for Immigration Studies' Mark Krikorian puts it, as "uncompassionate and un-Christian." This is particularly the case, Krikorian writes at National Review Online, when it comes to Mexico, which he believes Bush regards as a "cousin" nation like Britain or Israel.

Familial feelings for seemingly corrupt and non-cooperative Mexico may seem puzzling until one reads Newsweek's contribution to the couch session -- a story highlighting Bush's affection for the Mexican-born women who have always tended him and his family. OK: So Bush regards housekeeper Paula Rendon as his "second mother." That's nice. But does that mean the rest of us have to regard 100 million Mexicans as fellow citizens?

Of course, the end of America as a national idea is being promulgated by forces greater than any one man. From the anti-American Left to bottom-line Big Business, from global elites to media elites, there is less and less any notion of a nation.

Such amnesia may be fine for them. But then there's the rest of us. Is America something we can just forget?

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).