Friday, October 27, 2006

Bush Trips Over His Own Rhetoric

Did I say there were at least 30 times that Bush has mentioned 'staying the course' even when he denies that it's his own policy? Dan Froomkin of White House Briefing on The Washington Post says the number is now up to 96 occassions caught on videotape:
It may go down as one of the most ridiculous -- and ridiculed -- utterances of the Bush presidency.

In an interview with ABC News broadcast on Sunday, President Bush gamely suggested that "we've never been 'stay the course'" when it comes to Iraq.

With mid-term elections just around the bend -- and with public opinion starkly and unhappily focused on Iraq -- it's understandable that Bush might want to rewrite history. But his attempt failed miserably.

Less than a week later, there are 96 and counting entries on You Tube making a lie of his assertion, trumpeting videotaped examples of Bush using that particular phrase to describe his Iraq strategy -- over and over again.

In contrast to press secretary Tony Snow's insistence on Tuesday that his office could only find eight times when Bush had used the phrase, the official compilation of presidential documents contains 52 such public utterances by the president since 2003.

Deceiving the American people just isn't as easy as it used to be. You cannot have a democracy unless the people are informed and clearly the internet is making it easier to be informed, if you're careful. Now if we can just get a president in two years who also takes the trouble to be informed. In the meantime, I want a Congress that can politely say to the president when he utters nonsense, "What's that again, Mr. President? We think we misheard you. Would you like to try that again?"

Froomkin's post today is well worth reading; here's more on the president who never learns from his mistakes:
Linguistics professor George Lakoff writes in a New York Times op-ed: "The first rule of using negatives is that negating a frame activates the frame. If you tell someone not to think of an elephant, he'll think of an elephant. When Richard Nixon said, 'I am not a crook' during Watergate, the nation thought of him as a crook.

"'Listen, we've never been stay the course, George,' President Bush told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News a day earlier. Saying that just reminds us of all the times he said 'stay the course.' . . .

"'Stay the course' was for years a trap for those who disagreed with the president's policies in Iraq. To disagree was weak and immoral. It meant abandoning the fight against evil. But now the president himself is caught in that trap. To keep staying the course, given obvious reality, is to get deeper into disaster in Iraq, while not staying the course is to abandon one's moral authority as a conservative. Either way, the president loses."

And the nation loses. We're stuck with Bush for another two years. We need a Congress in Washington that will speak the facts loud and clear and not just rubber stamp the president.

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