Some of that delusion was on display at the White House on Thursday, when President George Bush painted the Palestinian election as a "healthy" and "interesting" exercise in civic reform:

"Obviously, people were not happy with the status quo," Bush explained. "The people are demanding honest government. The people want services. They want to be able to raise their children in an environment in which they can get a decent education and they can find healthcare. And so the elections should open the eyes of the old guard there in the Palestinian territories.... There's something healthy about a system that does that. And so the elections yesterday were very interesting."

Please, Mr. President. If a slate of neo-Nazi skinheads swept to power in a European election, would you say that the voters were seeking "honest government" and "services"? Palestinians are not stupid, and it insults their intelligence to pretend that when they vote to empower a genocidal organization with a platform straight out of Mein Kampf, what they're really after is better healthcare. Islamist extremism isn't needed to fix Palestinian hospitals any more than Fascism was needed to make Italian trains run on time in the 1920s. If Palestinians turned out en masse to elect a party that unapologetically stands for hatred and mass murder, it's a safe bet that the hatred and mass murder had something to do with the turnout.

By the same token, Hamas's new duties are not going to turn it into a moderate group of diligent civil servants. When violent Islamists win political power, their brutality and zealotry do not diminish. (See "Khomeini, Ayatollah" and "Taliban, Afghan"). The notion that Hamas now has "a choice to make" is just another example of the delusional thinking that is so pervasive when it comes to the Palestinian Authority.