One leader has risen to the awful occasion -- and, so far, it hasn't been President Bush.
September 12, 2001 4:58 PM   Subscribe

One leader has risen to the awful occasion -- and, so far, it hasn't been President Bush. Well, at least I'm not the only to notice."Let's give Bush the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge he's extraordinarily busy." True, but it's hard not to notice these things.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet (65 comments total)

 
I'm not bashing here, just an observation.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 5:04 PM on September 12, 2001


Jesus, what a disgusting comment. And disgusting link.
posted by aaron at 5:04 PM on September 12, 2001


When the walls come crashing down, you don't see things in terms of Republican and Democrat, or whatever.

We're all people underneath the labels.
posted by trioperative at 5:05 PM on September 12, 2001


Good leaders delegate. I don't need President Huggy-Bear. I need important things to be done.
posted by marknau at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2001


It's a solid link that makes a great point about Guliani's poised handling of this crisis. He has been a reassuring and empathetic leader. And unlike our President, he seems to be able to speak without a TelePrompter.
posted by Optamystic at 5:10 PM on September 12, 2001


I'm so sick of plastic speeches by Presidents who can't write an effective speech on their own that reflects their sense of character.
posted by trioperative at 5:12 PM on September 12, 2001


While I agree that Bush's inadequacies are showing, I absolutely line up behind him on this. We have to.

It's extremely hard for him to "win" right now. Please let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
posted by jpoulos at 5:13 PM on September 12, 2001


Optamystic, AIM name "DubyaIsADoofus" is certainly to be commended for such an objective analysis.

Madison warned against factions for a reason.
posted by marknau at 5:13 PM on September 12, 2001


Without clicking the link, I was going to say that it was Giuliani... he seems to be the compassionate, intelligent, coherent leader with the most initiative. He's not "Huggy-Bear", but her sure ain't "dopey-beer".
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 5:14 PM on September 12, 2001


I have to agree. After two dissapointing messages yesterday and another weak message this morning from a Cabinet meeting, President Bush has yet to rally anything in me as a leader. It's been difficult to voice this without being denounced as unpatriotic. I certainly don't mean it that way. He's the President and I support him and hope he succeeds in this hour of need.

Giuliani, on the other hand, has lent a genuine concern and command of how to proceed that I've admired. Kudos, too, to Colin Powell. He seems cooly certain in his direction and possesses a steadfastness that speaks to me.
posted by stevis at 5:15 PM on September 12, 2001


There was a line in a NYTimes magazine profile of Giuliani that I read in February, staying on the Upper East Side with friends: that he was always better at facing down the bad side of the city than bringing out the good side. I think the past few days have proved that the one can beget the other.


Comparisons are odious. Both men are doing their (very different) jobs right now.
posted by holgate at 5:15 PM on September 12, 2001


I'm so sick of plastic speeches by Presidents who can't write an effective speech on their own that reflects their sense of character.

That's a pretty naive understanding of the way the world works you've got there. As long as there have been speeches, there have been speechwriters.

I ask the MeFi conservatives to please take note of these comments I'm making. I'll ask you to remember them when I return to my Bush-bashing ways in a few weeks. :-)
posted by jpoulos at 5:16 PM on September 12, 2001


Screw being patriot. I'm definitely no patriot.

But I will not stand for ignorance and stupidity. Those were people who died, not just Americans.

It may be on home soil, but I'd still feel horrified if they did something of this magnitute to some other supposedly "secure" country.

What if they hit Big Ben in London?

Or Sydney?

Or Tokyo?

This is humans killing humans, it's so pointless.
posted by trioperative at 5:19 PM on September 12, 2001


The least a president could do is write his own speech when something as comparable to Pearl Harbor occurs.
posted by trioperative at 5:20 PM on September 12, 2001


It seems that now is not the time to be partison. Granted he may not be the most charismatic president ever, but that is not what matters at a time like this. What matters now is that we show we are Americans and follow behing Bush instead of bashing him. In a time like this, the terrorists behind this have to be overjoyed and laughing like those Isreal kids on TV by crap posted/written like this thread and news source.
posted by jmd82 at 5:23 PM on September 12, 2001


Yeah, trioperative, that's the REALLY important thing we need in this crisis . . . that would help so much.

Uh, FDR had speech writers, and Samuel Rosenman was one of his favorites.
posted by Big Dave at 5:29 PM on September 12, 2001


Count me in as another who strongly dislikes Giuliani but has been very impressed with his genuineness and his crisis handling, and extremely unimpressed with Bush's. It's not just Giuliani, however. It's fascinating to see politicians and officials reveal which of them are human in moments like this and which see this as merely another opportunity to jockey for political position and advantage.
posted by rushmc at 5:34 PM on September 12, 2001


I stand corrected.
posted by trioperative at 5:34 PM on September 12, 2001


I don't so much expect mindless agreement as I am experiencing disgust at the mindlessness of some people's partisanship.

I am also disgusted that so many people are so hypnotized by image that they form whole world views based on the fleeting impressions they get from the idiot box.

If you want to hold the opinion that Bush is an idiot because he's not articulate, or that Reagan is a genius because he had acting training, fine.

Just don't expect reasonable people to respect any opinions you might hold.
posted by marknau at 5:36 PM on September 12, 2001


This isn't about politics or Demo vs Repub whatever.

But, I'll be damned if I'll EVER follow anyone or anything blindly.

If you do, lotsa luck.


Bush seems indifferent with his cue card statements.

I'm not saying he is and he doesn't have to burst into tears or shake his fist at the screen to convey emotion...

The man is just too programmed and cold sounding.

I guess with all of these spotlights on him, his cracks are showing.

It might not seem like a big thing now, but it will later in retrospect.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 5:36 PM on September 12, 2001


Uh, FDR had speech writers, and Samuel Rosenman was one of his favorites.

I don't recall if Rosenman was the actual writer of the Pearl Harbor speech, but it is extremely naive to assume that any modern president has ever made a major speech that was not wholly written, partially written, or at least edited by his advisers/writers.

Some insight from The New Republic.
posted by briank at 5:39 PM on September 12, 2001


Good link, briank.
posted by marknau at 5:45 PM on September 12, 2001


An essential part of the president's job is to provide reassurance and leadership in a crisis, and he needs to accomplish this with his presence and manner at least as much as with his words. Giuliani's performance yesterday and Powell's today are much closer to how the president should handle the situation than how he actually did. Bush is the president, and I support him in the sense that he is our leader and I hope he makes a prudent and appropriate response, but what I've seen so far only reinforces my feeling that he's not up to the job.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:51 PM on September 12, 2001


Giuliani is charged with NYC's response which is limited (I don't mean that in a "diminished" sense as much as a "by definition" sense) to what is happening in NYC. While that is unquestionably a more daunting task than anything that any of us can imagine, how he carries out his duties is not likely to have an impact on the future of our nation asa whole. Right now, he is concerned with searching, rescuing/recovering and cleaning up.

Bush, on the other hand, is working with his advisors and his cabinet to formulate the response of our entire nation. He is talking with the intelligence community, he is talking to Congressional leaders, he is meeting with NSA officials, he is trying to find out who did this, and what we should do when we find out. The scope of the task at his hand, compared with that of Giuliani's, is immeasurable.

I personally could care less if he comes on TV and comes across as the perfect talking head president. Talking on the squawk box to all of us isn't going to make a damn bit of difference in finding a resolution/response to what has happened. There is no point in comparing, because it is apples and oranges. Let Bush focus on getting to what's important, and if Giuliani wants to give press conferences every hour on the hour, let him do that too.
posted by Dreama at 5:57 PM on September 12, 2001


No, this is NOT a good link, actually. The problem is - and I acknowledged this in a similar thread - that while it is true that Giuliani has been FANTASTIC and Bush has hardly been seen, the people bringing this up are spoiling their argument by using it as a chance to bash Bush. Like this Salon writer, did she really need to say "Bush spent the day in the blue skies over the U.S" and insinuate that he was taking it easy?

These are the same people who complain at Bush's poor speaking skills. What do they want? Are they just looking for a chance for the poor guy to fuck up in his most trying time?


Hey I know, let's use this as a chance to bash Microsoft too! I bet Windows was used somewhere in all this, right?
posted by SiW at 5:58 PM on September 12, 2001


I suppose it's a foregone conclusion that in this day and age we should expect our President to be telegenic and the ideal surrogate parent figure . . .
posted by Big Dave at 6:02 PM on September 12, 2001


I don't so much expect mindless agreement as I am experiencing disgust at the mindlessness of some people's partisanship.

You know what I find mindless? People--and there appear to be a number of them here today--who insist on attributing any and all observations and assessements that a person might make to "partisanship." Especially those which don't jibe with those individuals' own preexisting political view, of course. Those folks should reexamine their OWN agendas, methinks.
posted by rushmc at 6:07 PM on September 12, 2001


When you can't deliver more than one line of a speech at a time without looking to see what to say next , you defeat the purpose, no matter who wrote it.

Besides, if you need to be told exactly what to say at a time like this, are you really responsible enough to be the President of the United States?

Anyone can give a bad speech, but when you do it over and over, you're gonna get tagged.

Ask Al Gore.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 6:07 PM on September 12, 2001


My immediate feeling was one of anger towards Bush, as I had seen the responses of European leaders before any statements by Bush and I was horrified at the lack of conviction or passion within Bush's speeches (which was there in the European leaders, even such vocal anti-Bush leaders as Chiroc), particularly when laced with the vindictive, savage and emotionally justifiable element of retribution. But as much as I dislike the man, we need him as our leader, whatever his inadequacies. But, most importantly, we need ourselves. It's suicidal for us as a nation to carry on without an open heart laced with fortitude. Articles like this are just ill-timed. (Disclaimer: But then what the hell do I know? In my initial blog entries on this, I jumped the gun in damning Bush with the rage that pulsed through my system.)
posted by ed at 6:12 PM on September 12, 2001


I think Joan Walsh did a good job of describing a position that many Americans find themselves in this week. A lot of people haven't been impressed with Bush's ability to command an audience because of the way he avoids extemporaneous public speaking and sticks to short, unambitious speeches like the one he gave Tuesday night.

Is this simply a case of partisanship? I don't think so. Most Americans yearn for the president to project an image of strength and assurance in a crisis.
posted by rcade at 6:18 PM on September 12, 2001


I'm all for rallying behind the President at a time like this regardless of politics. But Bush will be judged by this event alone, his actions in the first 72 hours will probably be the measure of the man in history. Thus far he has appeared unequal to the task.

His speech last night sounded like a campaign speech from a frat boy running for student body president. He spent more time talking about the state of our economy than talking about the thousands of dead Americans. There was really no difference between what he said last night and what was said when the Cole was attacked (and we all know that this is an entirely different thing).

He has one more chance, and that will likely be a speech to a joint session of congress. He made good steps in the right direction this afternoon at the Pentagon, I pray that he proves up the to task ahead of him. It is a defining moment, not just for Bush, but for America.
posted by jonnyp at 6:20 PM on September 12, 2001


No less a conservative personage than the National Review's Bill Kristol observed today that though it really isn't his choice, this is the event on which Bush's presidency will be judged by history.

Is it partisan to begin that judgement process now? What about tomorrow? Saturday? Next month? Or maybe, aaron and marknau, adult citizens may begin expressing their opinions and thoughts now. I support my commander-in-chief, no doubt, and this should remind everyone of how much we have reveled in minutiae the last few years. But George himself is the one who's spent the last three years making paeans to the importance of "character" in the office of the presidency.

It's therefore a question that he himself has opened for cross-examination. Is this neutral enough: I hope, fervently, that he begins showing some.
posted by dhartung at 6:20 PM on September 12, 2001


No less a conservative personage than the National Review's Bill Kristol observed today that though it really isn't his choice, this is the event on which Bush's presidency will be judged by history.

Exactly, and we can only hope nothing more dramatic than this happens in the next 3 years.

They will show the plane crashing from 47 different angles, people running in the street and then they will show a clip of.......Bush.......reading......a.......speech......like......this.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 6:33 PM on September 12, 2001


When you can't deliver more than one line of a speech at a time without looking to see what to say next , you defeat the purpose, no matter who wrote it.

Yes, I for one would feel much better if Bush would have spent more time memorizing a speech to make BarneyFifesBullet feel better rather than Bush spending time assimilating information and beginning to organize a response. Pah! I'm interested in results and action, not window-dressing. But this is the MTV generation which is all about 30 second attention spans and instant fucking gratification...

Ask Al Gore.

I'm really glad I don't have to.
posted by RevGreg at 7:21 PM on September 12, 2001


You know what the crazy thing is? Out of the two likely candidates, Gore was the one with the wooden speaking manner.
posted by jaek at 7:23 PM on September 12, 2001


But this is the MTV generation which is all about 30 second attention spans and instant fucking gratification...

Oh bullshit. Two years ago, all we heard about was how important it was for a President to be "Presidential". If there's partisanship in this room right now, it's coming from over there [gestures to the right].

What matters more than anything right now--more than finding who did this, more than even recovering the bodies--is that the American People maintain their faith in their government. I propose we do everything we can to support that government, no matter where our political hearts may lie. But if you ask me objectively, I think that Bush's inadequacies could be a major hindrance in the average American's ability to maintain that faith.
posted by jpoulos at 7:43 PM on September 12, 2001


Relax - the image thing (to quote a DaddyBushism) is so overarching important in this day and age that his spin magicians will soon have him acting the part, even if they have to coach him like high school drama teachers. And then everyone can heave a sigh of relief and point to how Presidential he seems.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:54 PM on September 12, 2001


Doesn't the fact that Guiliani is a Republican take the teeth out of the "blind partisainship" argument? While I may think that DubyaIsADoofus, I'd love to be proven wrong. So far, there has been little proof forthcoming.
posted by Optamystic at 8:13 PM on September 12, 2001


To those who voice the opinion that Bush "doesn't seem to be equal to the task", I have to ask, what do you consider the task to be?

When Bush came on TV last night, I fully expected him to say, "As we speak, American bombers are delivering their payloads to Afghanistan..." After all, we've done that before. The fact that he didn't speaks volumes. Yes, he's stilted and unemotional. It would be so easy, and so satisfying in the short run, to lash out at the apparent perpetrators and bring the awesome military might of this country to bear on the problem. The fact that we haven't done that speaks to the quality of leadership. When Bush talked about a "quiet unyielding anger", he was expressing exactly what we need right now.

I know those concerned with Bush's leadership are not advocating replacing him with a blubbering teddy bear with perfect hair, but the criticisms just seem to me to be ridiculous. What matters now are not appearances, but concrete action and results. I'm no Bush fan, but so far he's done very, very well. We need methodical, well-reasoned, unemotional judgment right now, and if that comes across as boring in the evening news sound bites, so be it.

Dreama, on the Giuliani vs. Bush in the media argument, you hit the nail right on the head. Giuliani has a more localized and immediate situation to deal with, and one that demands that he communicate frequently with his constituency. Bush's problem is global in scope, and he has much, much more information to process. More frequent and lengthier TV appearances -- to improve his image as a leader -- would be a waste of extremely valuable time. In fact, I'm sure it's been suggested to him, and kudos to him for not caving in to the pressure.
posted by JParker at 8:19 PM on September 12, 2001


Yes, I for one would feel much better if Bush would have spent more time memorizing a speech to make BarneyFifesBullet feel better rather than Bush spending time assimilating information and beginning to organize a response. Pah!

Skipped all the posts and links, I see.

Wow, so you really think Bush is "assimilating", RevGreg?

Yeah, I'm sure he's analyzing figures right now...

I can't really reply without bashing, so I'll let it go.

I'm interested in results and action, not window-dressing. But this is the MTV generation which is all about 30 second attention spans and instant fucking gratification...

Tsk, tsk, you're the type of people that want to bomb the shit out of SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, RIGHT NOW!

Well, I for one would feel much better If we level a country right away just to appease warmongers, like yourself.

Besides, Using MTV as a reference really....ah, fuck it...

I won't type anymore because you're already confused.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 8:44 PM on September 12, 2001


We need methodical, well-reasoned, unemotional judgment right now, and if that comes across as boring in the evening news sound bites, so be it.

It isn't about entertainment. It's about engagement. About presence. About taking charge, directing the program, and connecting with the needs of the American public to know that this is being HANDLED, that the ship is not drifting in circles with no hand at the till. Presidents have historically handled this very well in times of crisis. I don't think we are out of line for expecting this president to be...presidential.
posted by rushmc at 8:59 PM on September 12, 2001


As a self-proclaimed lefty, didn't McCain look rather presidential yesteray? All that said. Two days ago, Buush was illegitimate. Now, He's my president.
posted by trox at 9:10 PM on September 12, 2001


As a self-proclaimed lefty, didn't McCain look rather presidential yesteray?

Absolutely. I heard tell of an interview he gave tonight. In the midst of the standard "we need a reasoned, objective analysis, blah blah blah" he stopped himself and said "Now, make no mistake, I want to see the bastard dead!" Words to that effect. Maybe someone has a quote?

McCain is what Bush claims to be--a real straight-shooter.

I hate his politics, but I really like the man.
posted by jpoulos at 9:26 PM on September 12, 2001


BarneyFifesBullet - It's one thing to demonstrate your ignorance, and belittle people's opinions who differ from yours...but please, must you seperate every line of your posts with spaces? What you have to say is just not that important.
posted by canoeguide at 9:32 PM on September 12, 2001


To those who voice the opinion that Bush "doesn't seem to be equal to the task", I have to ask, what do you consider the task to be?

Showing up late for this one, but here goes.

What I want from our president is a play-by-play detail of the events as they unfolded. I want an up-to-date briefing on the survivors and the victims so far. I want preliminary evidence for how the crimes were committed and brief speculation into why they were committed. I want to know what leads investigators may be following and approximately how close they think they are to breakthrough. And by God, I want to know what my government's official stance on this inhuman act is. How we expect to find the perpetrators. What, exactly, we plan to do once the perpatrators are found. Who our allies are in achieving this, who our potential enemies may be.

Note that all of this information has at one time or another been available through differing sources from interviews with senior cabinet members, high-level investigators, and other politicians. George W Bush is the one person from whom I did not hear a comprehensive and detailed account of what happened yesterday morning. Nor did he say exactly what was happening at press time. Nor did he inform us what was expected to happen in the immediate or near-immediate future.

In my eyes, it was more important for him to communicate to the American people where exactly we stood than to recite overly-metaphorical, overly-repititive, prophetic-prosaic tripe about the strength of America. What the country needed at that moment was clear hard facts from the mouth of our leader, not poetic BS.
posted by dogmatic at 9:50 PM on September 12, 2001


I'll say the same thing I said in the other thread on the exact same subject: Some people have to hate Bush. Before anything else, they have to hate Bush. And express it. They literally cannot emotionally handle him having a single success whatsoever.

Which, of course, means they're all going to have major agita when the next round of polls come out and Bush's approval rating skyrockets.
posted by aaron at 9:56 PM on September 12, 2001



yeah, i bet W's hanging out in the oval office with a cigar watching CNN, right? someone comes in -- 'hey! time to speak to america again!' right?

god, people, get off this shit.

do you people realize NO president has ever had to deal with anything of this magnatude? the only reason you even know of pearl harbor is because of what happened there. do any of you know what fort bragg is? unless you've been in the military or are from NC -- i doubt it. it's the biggest military installation on american soil. right near it is pope air force base. both are about 20 minutes from where i grew up. if pearl harbor had never been attacked, i know i wouldn't know what or where it is. i can't name any military base in any other state, really. now -- how many of you knew where new york city is before yesterday? how many knew what the world trade center was? how many knew what the pentagon is? what would YOU do? how much better would you handle it to stand here on your soapbox and bitch about how our president is handling this situation? would you rather he take time from surveying the damage, communicating with the FBI, CIA, NATO, UN, and our armed forces trying to determine who's responsible, trying to figure out how to hold the country together after the biggest attack to a civilian installment in our country EVER to memorize a speech? yes, guiliani has been brilliant, but i assure you his responsibilities aren't as great as bush's. it's not a time for politicking -- it's not a time to try and deposit votes for the next election. mccain can say that because he's not president. yeah, i think my emotion would love to hear bush say 'kill the bastards,' but how mature, how presidential would that be?

personally, i think he's done well. he's kept his composure, though he is visibly shaken, but who wouldn't be?

really -- think a little bit before you attack the president. the author of the article is trying to be inflammatory, just as the liberal media likes to be. '...spent the day in the blue skies...' fucking moron. evidently, said author didn't bother to find out that both the white house AND air force one were likely targets. as if common sense wouldn't say that from the very beginning.

but i digress -- i for one am 100% behind president bush, whether i voted for him or not. i hope he continues to remain composed and if that means speaking slowly and succinctly in a time of great duress, so be it.
posted by aenemated at 10:09 PM on September 12, 2001


Some people have to hate Hillary Clinton. Before anything else, they have to hate Hillary Clinton. And express it. They literally cannot emotionally handle her having a single success whatsoever.

Which, of course, means they're all going to have major agita when the next round of polls come out and Hillary Clinton's approval rating skyrockets.
posted by Rastafari at 10:13 PM on September 12, 2001


Just what, exactly, is your point "Rastafari"?
posted by canoeguide at 10:16 PM on September 12, 2001


Something by FDR from Jan. 6, 1941, for those who wish to find comfort in the wordcraft of a president who would never have won an electoral race in today's TV-addled, scandal-consuming America.

I tried listening to Bush's address last night without looking at the video -- I have to agree with a comment from a prior thread, he sounds better as a radio personality. Granted, he's no FDR, but FDR would probably not have looked as effective a leader, sitting in his wheelchair, looking old and frail, stilting through a speech that is meant to rally the American public
posted by linux at 11:27 PM on September 12, 2001


Sorry for double comment -- wanted to note, this speech was addressed to the public. Note the rhetoric and hyperbole, its simple words. The Day of Infamy speech was addressed to Congress as a plea to declare war, and therefore was more detailed in information and actually, when heard in full, not quite as rallying as many would have thought.
posted by linux at 11:32 PM on September 12, 2001


It appears that Bush is being trotted out as some sort of spokesperson figurehead but its too early to pass judgement on his leadership ability. On a semi related note, where is Dick Cheney?
posted by euphorb at 11:54 PM on September 12, 2001


linux: FDR would not have even run for president today, because we have TV, so your comments are beside the point. FDR had a radio voice in a radio era, and took full advantage of that fact.

Meantime, if a pollster called me and asked whether I approve of his performance or not, I'd say yes. He's all we have in the Oval Office. But Bush didn't sound very reassuring, even given that you know that there's no playbook for such a situation. "This makes me angry, and it makes me sad." He says, taking about an entire awkward 30 seconds to get that out. I'll support him, but goodness, a little more authority is direly needed. I hope the better members of Congress continue to speak out loudly and often, and in a unified voice. Dubya needs all the assistance he can get.

(And please. No bickering over the budget. No stupid crap like one House erroneously saying - in responding to a fellow member's tactless use of the occasion to call for greater counterterrorism spending as opposed to what he called the waste that missile defense would be - that "provide for the common defense" is the first instruction in the Constitution. Someone get him "Schoolhouse Rock" already, then Federalist Paper No. 51 a bit later for reinforcement as to what the first order actually is, if he's ready.)
posted by raysmj at 12:01 AM on September 13, 2001


. . . Oh, linux, not "quite as stirring?" Gosh knows he voice contains boatloads of immediacy, immediacy to spare and then some. You gotta be kidding me. Wow. Being bored by detail might have something to do with being used to sound bites, and listening to the speech with totally modern ears.
posted by raysmj at 12:11 AM on September 13, 2001


dogmatic,
I read your reply to my post and .... have you thought that through? Do you really want your President giving you periodic progress reports instead of meeting with other world leaders, planning and reviewing intel? I understand the leadership issue, and I too would like to see our President stand up there and give one of those made-for-TV-movie speeches where they demonstrate unflappable cool, indomitable will, a restrained but unquenchable anger, immeasurable sorrow for the victims, calm assurance and bright hope for the future, and complete and total mastery of all the planning and execution and progress-to-date on all of the hundreds of simultaneous fronts which our government is addressing. But... we live in the real world. Bush did great. He's my President and I'm proud of him.
posted by JParker at 1:02 AM on September 13, 2001


I don't want periodic updates from the President. But when he speaks, I want the assurance that he's informed--more informed than the rest of us. I also want to hear, straight from the horse's mouth, where we stand as a nation.

My problem with his speeches were that they did not dwell in the sordid details of the affair, and they did not dwell in official policy. And I think it should be the president's duty first and foremost to address these issues to the nation.
posted by dogmatic at 4:41 AM on September 13, 2001


Some people have to hate Bush. Before anything else, they have to hate Bush. And express it. They literally cannot emotionally handle him having a single success whatsoever.

And some people have to love him. I can't recall an instance in the last seven months where you have criticized him, even mildly.

If you want to view everything through partisan blinders and babble incessantly about the lefty menace, that's your right. Seems kind of goofy in light of recent events, though. Now's a time we should be able to abandon partisanship and find more common ground.
posted by rcade at 7:16 AM on September 13, 2001


jparker, why shouldn't the president attempt to inform his citizens? we on metafilter seemed more knowledgeable on the topic than he did. he offered cliche instead of fact.

politicians are speech makers, and it is obvious that bush is not a very good one under pressure. politicians are elected on the basis of leadership. he waited an awful long time to address the nation, where giulianni was at ground zero soon after the destruction. giulianni was accessable to the media, and spoke often to the public. there is something mentally reasurring to a nation when a leader can re-enter his own capital to address his people. as i posted tuesday, it seemed to me that giulianni was acting more presidential during this matter than the president himself.

also, do you really believe that the president plans courses of action and pours over intel?
posted by mich9139 at 7:24 AM on September 13, 2001


I don't love the mayor, but have never understood the hate of him: he is a great leader.Will he stay in office beyond his term? Will all the candidates still call for tearing down the fence around City Hall? All the candidates, with the possible exception of Vallone, are dwarfs.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:32 AM on September 13, 2001


mich9139, the president should inform the citizenry, but it is not his job to keep us informed. That's why we have CNN (and MetaFilter, yeah!). The problem is that he simply can't do both - be a TV talking head AND orchestrate government activities. And the latter is more important. I'll grant you that I would have preferred to see a more comprehensive overview and update of the real-time situation from Bush, but I think it is petty to fault him for not providing it.

politicians are speech makers ... yes, but isn't that part of the problem? Aren't actions more important than words, especially at a time like this? FYI, www.danratherforpresident.com is available.

giulianni was at ground zero... giulianni was accessable to the media ... true, but giulianni was not high on the list of likely targets for terrorist attacks. Unless there is an overwhelming need to the contrary - and although the situation was dire, in this case there wasn't - the President should listen to his security team and if they tell him it's too dangerous to go back to DC, he should stay the hell away. Sure, there's something mentally reassuring about a President able to re-enter the capitol to address the nation, but is reassuring people like you more important than his personal safety? Does the potential comfort you would gain from such reassurance outweigh the potential discomfort if he is assassinated? Not in my book.

Granted, I seriously doubt that Bush sits around drafting action plans during crisis situations. And I doubt that he's sitting at the computer screens at the NSA translating Arabic telecom intercepts, either. But many of the actions that our intelligence forces have taken require an Executive Order. He has to approve and sign off on every one. That means, if he takes this job seriously (and while I can fault him on a thousand different things, that's not one of them), he needs to understand the issues. Similarly, when our military goes to high alert status, the supreme commander is the one who makes that call. Sure, most of this consists of being briefed by the department heads where the actual intel is coming in, but I am positive that the amount of information he has to process at a time like this would give me nightmares.

we on metafilter seemed more knowledgeable on the topic than he did … that was a joke, right? Right?

I'll say it again... I'm no Bush-lover. But there were many opportunities to screw up this situation in immortal and cosmic ways, and Bush avoided them all. He even had a few good things to say. The actions of the government, from the swift response of FEMA, to calling up the National Guard, the embassy lockdowns, and the military alert have been impeccable. The restraint we, as a country, through Bush, have shown to the world is a triumph of democracy and freedom over anarchy and terror. Sure, it could have been better. It would have been better if the bombings had never happened at all. I would think that a high-minded and peace-loving group like most MetaFilterians would be applauding what has happened so far.
posted by JParker at 9:22 AM on September 13, 2001


jparker, i'm glad that you agree with me.
posted by mich9139 at 10:46 AM on September 13, 2001


we on metafilter seemed more knowledgeable on the topic than he did … that was a joke, right? Right?

No, not really. I could have composed all three of his statements in the period of a half hour, encompassing as many cliches as possible into each one of those three-minute beauties.

People like Colin Powell, Giuliani, and Rumsfeld were gracious anough to pass on the facts in an honest, straightforward manner. Why couldn't Bush do that?

And I hate to disagree even further, but...maybe some people stared at their TVs all day getting briefed by CNN, but I didn't. If the President is set to make an announcement at 8:30 EST, I'm going to tune in and watch and hope to be informed. All three statements he made weren't worth the effort of turning the TV on. Why even bother scheduling a press slot for a completely vacuous speech?
posted by dogmatic at 11:01 AM on September 13, 2001


I could have composed all three of his statements in the period of a half hour
get a job as a speechwriter
posted by JParker at 4:00 PM on September 13, 2001


mich9139, yes it is interesting how two people can look at the same situation and reach different conclusions, or decide on different courses of action in response. One can either attempt to look at the whole picture and understand what an enormously difficult situation our nation's leaders are facing, take pride in their measured response and diligent efforts to locate the true culprits, and be supportive at a time when we should all be people first, Americans second, and whiny little nitpickers last... or one can go on a fault-finding mission and critique every aspect of our leaders' public performances based on whether they make you feel "reassured." If that constitutes agreement to you, then we agree.
posted by JParker at 4:21 PM on September 13, 2001


I seriously cannot believe that people are still intent, in this time of tragedy and crisis, to snipe at politicians and hence advance their own personal and insignificant agendas.

I cannot believe that I'm actually commenting on this because you would think that this would simply be common sense, but...

Bush is expected to say something. What Bush said to me was perfectly clear, as it should be, to both us citizens and to the people responsible for this attack.

The arguments of the writer of the Salon piece, just as many in this thread, are betrayed by obvious and unconcealed biases.

If you're talking about how someone comes across in the media, you're right, Giuliani has an edge. He's also been in the spotlight for far longer than Bush and has been thrust time and time again into the position of tackling difficult (although not this difficult) issues in front of the cameras and the watchful eyes of his constituency.

But really, who gives a shit? I would prefer a leader who gets crap done than one who makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. No one on this board knows what Giuliani and Bush are doing when they are off the camera, but I can bet you that Bush is handling a far greater and more delicate load.

The long and short of it is, if you need a leader to inspire you in a time like this, you will be often uninspired. Regardless of how Bush comes off in the media (and for the record, I think he's done admirably), the force of the furies to come won't make any terrorists behind this tragedy warm and fuzzy.
posted by fooljay at 5:13 PM on September 13, 2001


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