#1 WITH A BULLET
(OKAY, BAD CHOICE OF WORDS...)
GEORGE W. BUSH
Oh. My. Lord.
Okay, full disclosure - this is the first press conference of his that I've sat through since probably 2004, so maybe I'm just a little shell-shocked because this is the most that I've been subjected to him aside from little soundbytes here and there over the last two years. Then again, given his disdain for these sorts of settings perhaps I haven't missed all that many of them after all. And there's so much that I want to comment on that I'm not sure where to really start. As is usually the case with Dubya, he tends to jump around from one thing to another in an effort to seem like he knows what he's talking about and probably to deflect attention on a subject that he can't seem to wrap a fully formed thought around. I guess I'll start with his demeanor.
As is usually the case, he had his full compliment of ticks and shrugs on display. If I knew morse code, I'd be interested to see if he were actually trying to communicate some sort of secret message using his unending series of eye blinks. To say that these seemingly involuntary ticks were a distraction would be an understatement. Moving on.
I get so many emotions from this guy, and many seem to manifest in the various levels of contempt. He really gave the impression that he was being put upon to have these questions asked of him. And he's so condescending in many of his responses. It's maddening! Oh, and did I mention how he kept making fun of this one reporter because of his unfortunate choice of suits? Seriously, on at least two occasions he was actually belittling this reporter in front of his peers. Now, apparently this guy has been covering Bush for about 12 years (oh, how I feel for him), but that doesn't give the President of the United States the right to openly mock the guy on at least two occasions based on his choice of clothing! How old is Bush, twelve?!
So what about the substance of the presser? Eh, not much. If you've heard him once, then you've probably heard all the talking points. He hammered on the audience repeatedly that Iraq is the central front on the GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR!!! He even went so far as to attempt to slide in a quick 9/11 equals Iraq bit, but the reporter (the poorly dressed one, actually) called him out on it, which of course, annoyed Bushie to know end. He got all pissy and cantankerous, again repeating the line that about how NO ONE in his administration has ever equated 9/11 to Iraq. Nooooo, surely not, sir. Here's the transcript of the exchange:
BUSH: The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.
QUESTION: What did Iraq have to do with it?
BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?
QUESTION: The attack on the World Trade Center.
BUSH: Nothing. Except it’s part of — and nobody has suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a — Iraq — the lesson of September 11th is take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody’s ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq.
Uh huh, except the Vice President. But he's usually in an undisclosed location somewhere so that doesn't really count. (Think Progress notes the various quotes from Cheney over time.)
Let's see, what else? Blah blah blah, more talking points about how the Iraqi people want to live in a free society. Well, yeah, doofus. I just think that perhaps the Iraqis are sort of questioning the "method of transportation" to said promised land. Hell, I'm planning on going to Disneyworld next year, but I'm not looking to crawl through shards of glass while losing members of my family to IEDs in order to get there.
And of course, no presser would be complete without a spurious straw man argument. I think this one went along the lines of, "Some say that the Iraqis don't want freedom, and I strongly disagree with that position.
A reporter asked him to comment on the Lamont victory and how certain people, including his vice president, had made comments about how said victory embolded "al-qaeda types". Well, Bush tried to take the high road, but he didn't seem to necessarily disagree with that assessment. This led, for some odd reason, into a diatribe about the Taylor/NSA ruling (he kept referring to it as an opinion, which to me seemed to be an attempt to downplay the seriousness of the decision, as in, "Well, it's just her opinion." He all but said that apparently, law enforcement has little to do with the GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR!!! Huh, try telling that to the British. (Of course the jury's still out for me on whether the 20 some odd people that were arrested there last week are any more a danger to the world then the yahoos that were picked up in Florida a couple of months back.)
He regurgitated the same tired talking point (and repeated it ad nauseum) about how we will not leave Iraq until the job is done. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like you to indulge me for a moment while I put on my reporter's cap: "Uh, good morning Mr. President. You've state on innumerable occasions that we won't leave Iraq until 'the job' is done. Sir, can you tell me, what is 'the job'? Can you define the parameters of 'the job'? Is there a specific set of circumstances that would define the end of 'the job'? Oh, and one other quick followup - what exactly is your plan for getting 'the job' done?" Bush: "Um. stammer 9/11 stammer stammer, uh WAR ON TERROR! Um. What's for lunch? Uh, cut and run! Next question!"
Some miscellaneous tidbits: Bush borrowed a page from the book of DeLay - he actually referred to the opposition party as the "Democrat Party." Do they say that crap just to annoy me, because it's working. Seriously, do they not know the name of the other major party in this country? JEEBUS, but that bugs me.
Oh, here's another that he dusted off: "I don't govern based on the polls." Yeah. Okay.
Also, I like how he seemed so proud of himself that he knew the name of U.N. Resolution 1559. If you get the chance and can stomach it, check it out. I think it was somewhere around the 30 minute mark; a reporter asks him a question relating to the Israeli/Hezbollah/Lebanon mess and when he says "U.N. Resolution 1559" he gets this look on his face that sort of conveyed, "Heh, heh. Look at me. I know some stuff. Bet ya didn't think I would know it, did ya. Heh, heh."
Wow, this guy is infuriating. I guess it's good to know in a world that's constantly changing around us that a few things in life that are guaranteed - the love of my daughter, the sun rising every day, and Bush being able to totally tick me off before lunch. Well done, sir.
So, on with the updated TOP TEN. I thought it would take a lot to knock Hugh Hewitt out of the top slot given his pure and unadulterated condescension in regards to the Democratic Party, but Bush was able to combine condescension with contempt and a healthy dose of BS to steal the top spot away.
1. George W. Bush
2. Hugh Hewitt
3. Joe Lieberman
4. John McCain
5. Orrin Hatch
6. George Felix Allen Jr.
8. Dick Cheney
9. Rick Santorum
10. Katherine Harris
Dropping off: Carl Romanelli - it was either him or Harris, and I just couldn't bear to drop Harris off just yet.