Thursday, July 20, 2006

Spin and The Dumbing Down of the Presidency

It's beginning to dawn on a growing number of Republicans that there aren't a whole lot of good stories to tell about Iraq despite the spin from the White House and its allies. I sometimes go a week or two without checking Today in Iraq but a casual look at it today punctured the myth that Baghdad is the only trouble spot. Well, we've known that for a while.

While reading Today in Iraq, I noticed the following story by Cenk Uygur over at The Huffington Post:
As you read this transcript, remember that this is not a small child talking, but the President of the United States of America:
The camera is focused elsewhere and it is not clear whom Bush is talking to, but possibly Chinese President Hu Jintao, a guest at the summit.

Bush: "Gotta go home. Got something to do tonight. Go to the airport, get on the airplane and go home. How about you? Where are you going? Home?

Bush: "This is your neighborhood. It doesn't take you long to get home. How long does it take you to get home?"

Reply is inaudible.

Bush: "Eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country."

At this point, the president seems to bring someone else into the conversation.

Bush: "It takes him eight hours to fly home."

He turns his attention to a server.

Bush: "No, Diet Coke, Diet Coke."

He turns back to whomever he was talking with.

Bush: "It takes him eight hours to fly home. Eight hours. Russia's big and so is China."

Russia's big and so is China??????? This guys sounds like a third grader. Do you know anyone who would have a conversation like this with their neighbor, let alone a business associate, let alone a world leader? Who's proud to know that Russia is big and so is China?

(snip)

Unfortunately, right now we are in the position of being pitied by the rest of the world. We have third grader for a President. And worse yet, the Vice President has him convinced he is the second coming of Winston Churchill. Scared yet?

It strikes me that Bush sounds exactly like Karen Hughes when she's been on tour doing whatever she does when she's talking to people in Muslim countries. Her listeners have complained that she talks in a simple-minded way as if she talking down to children.

This is a very strange administration. Apparently what is important is not diplomacy but the fact that Bush and Hughes take these trips. The actual work of diplomacy and the building of relationships are left to.....who? Even Colin Powell was not capable of doing it all alone. And we have instead Condi Rice who acts more like a spinmeister than a foreign policy expert.

Scared yet? I forget which Apollo astronaut it was but one of them said about the Apollo trips that if you weren't scared, you didn't understand what was happening. I was scared four years ago when Bush first started talking about his bizarre policy of unilateralism and his preemptive strike principle. But my fear has turned to disgust, concern, being informed and action. But, believe me, I understand the feelings of those who are still catching on.

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