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December 2, 2003 8:07 PM   Subscribe

If you refer to Russia as the Soviet Union three times while discussing foreign affairs should you really be President of the United States?
posted by Mick (72 comments total)

 
Oops, make that four:

"Iran is a more complex problem because the problem support as clearly verifiable as it is in North Korea. Also, we have less-fewer levers much the key, I believe, to Iran is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran, I believe, most likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union and it may require us to buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran to prevent Iran from them developing nuclear weapons."
posted by Mick at 8:09 PM on December 2, 2003


It's a common mistake, especially for people in the 35-50 age bracket who grew up with the Red Menace. Why, I've made that mistake myself, and I'm way smarter than Howard Dean.

(and I shouldn't be President, either)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:12 PM on December 2, 2003


I guess it depends on your perspective. I'll take a "Soviet Union" over a "terriers and barriffs" any day.
posted by pineapple at 8:14 PM on December 2, 2003


If you send young men and women in borderline poverty to die in an unnecessary pre-emptive war, all the while lying through your teeth, just so you can line the pockets of enormous general contractors, should you really be President of the United States?

If you're a B-movie actor with a gentle voice who looks good on TV, and not much else, should you really be President of the United States?

If you're an aristocratic slaveowning ex-general with wooden teeth, should you really be President of the United States?

etc. etc.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:17 PM on December 2, 2003


Early in the program he mentions the "Former Soviet Union" so I guess you could just say he was confused. Either way, be thankful he didn't break out Burma and New Amsterdam.
posted by Henry Flower at 8:19 PM on December 2, 2003


Yeah, I'm guessing he just had "former Soviet Union" stuck on repeat in his head, as a sound bite. Maybe Drudge will turn it into, "Dean pines bitterly for Stalin."
posted by inksyndicate at 8:21 PM on December 2, 2003


I'm pleasantly surprised -- I assumed, given the FPP and MeFi's general nature, that it would be a "Bushisms" thread.

Kudos, Mick.
posted by davidmsc at 8:22 PM on December 2, 2003


Plus, he says "Soviet Union" after talking about the importance of buying the uranium stockpiles from the former Soviet Union (which is different than just saying 'Russia'). Really, do you think that Dean is unaware of the fall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Bloc, or is it possible that he mis-spoke?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:27 PM on December 2, 2003


Maybe it was cleaned up in the transcript, but it seems like he at least knows how to pronounce "nuclear", unlike our current president. I cringe every time I hear Bush say "nucular".
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:29 PM on December 2, 2003


Course, we all knew that the USSR was superceded by the Commonwealth of Independent States? Right?
posted by dash_slot- at 8:35 PM on December 2, 2003


Maybe it was cleaned up in the transcript, but it seems like he at least knows how to pronounce "nuclear", unlike our current president.

I thought he sounded great. He didn't seem to ride the fence too terribly much, and actually SAID something, which none of the other democratic candidates ever seem to do.

Dyslexic Bushisms/Nucular/Soviet Union are all good for a good laugh and a poke, but in the end, who gives a damn? It's the policies that I'm concerned with.
posted by Espoo2 at 8:44 PM on December 2, 2003


That's funny, davidmsc, that's the exact same thing that I thought. I generally like Dean, so there were a few entertaining moments of mental flip-flopping about exactly what was going on there, before the brain settled on, "hrm, that's kinda bad."

Super fakeout, though.
posted by majcher at 8:45 PM on December 2, 2003


If this is the worst thing anyone can think of to pick on Dean for, well, ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner. Bush says and does more stupid things than that every single day between the time he wakes up and the time he brushes his teeth. Gimme a break.

For the record, I watched that show, it was a very fast paced discussion, and I think he did just fine. If you really believe this is an indication that Dean is not aware that the Soviet Union is no more, even though he referred to it as "the former Soviet Union" earlier in the interview, then you are kinda grasping at straws, dontcha think?
posted by spilon at 8:53 PM on December 2, 2003


I call "Bullshit".

He says "former Soviet Union" the first time and it is clearly the implication the second, third, and fourth times. Did he forget in the span of 10 seconds?

Super lame.
posted by McBain at 8:54 PM on December 2, 2003


I mean, is "Soviet Union" an unacceptable way to block together the former republics if that is what you are talking about? Especially if you said "former" the first time?

Again, "Bullshit".
posted by McBain at 8:56 PM on December 2, 2003


When it comes to talkin' right, George W. Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:00 PM on December 2, 2003


Not to cause trouble, but if this same exact fpp (a one-liner with one link) pointed to a Bushism, there would have been an outcry against it. Now, though, there is a one-liner with one link to something dumb that Dean said and it's a pleasant surprise that deserves thanking?

Seriously, though:

HATEDEANFILTER
posted by crazy finger at 9:01 PM on December 2, 2003


It isn't even something dumb that Dean said. His meaning is clear and he doesn't butcher grammar, which defies the idea of a Bushism (unclear butchering of English). This is just silly.
posted by McBain at 9:07 PM on December 2, 2003


(In Soviet Russia, English butchers you!)
posted by brownpau at 9:12 PM on December 2, 2003


Wow.

According to Chris Matthews, Franklin Roosevelts middle name was 'Governor'
posted by seanclarke at 9:25 PM on December 2, 2003


From a rich family, went to Yale, used to be an alcoholic, doesn't touch the stuff now, can't identify foreign countries correctly... Yeah, I'd see he has the stuff to be prez.
posted by chaz at 9:36 PM on December 2, 2003


well, he may be unsealing his records as governor, so that's something refreshing, after the secrecy and refusal to cooperate of the current administration re: 9/11 and energy meetings.
posted by amberglow at 9:49 PM on December 2, 2003


Anyone who actually wants the job of president should not be allowed to have it. Considering the headaches and the low salary (compared to what all the job entails), it's obvious that anyone who wants the job has an alterior motive, that being the obvious power it entails.

The presidency should be like jury duty. It should be given to someone who doesn't want it. Someone drafted into the position. Someone who is NOT in a position to take advantage, or maneuver it into something benefiting only special interests or corporate entities.

I don't care how many times they say "Soviet Union" in a minute, if they're wearing a suit and tie and actually want the job, it should be denied them.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:52 PM on December 2, 2003


He did say former Soviet Union on the first instance. When I read it again I was wondering if he was refering to former Soviet Sattelite countries selling goods to Iran. Of course with the outcry in Washington and London over Putin's aresst of Boris Berezovsky maybe Dean is just being ahead of the curve anticipating a return of the Cold War. Or maybe he is just being so like 1991!
posted by thedailygrowl at 10:03 PM on December 2, 2003


See, I did what I like to call the "Old Switch-A-Roo!"

You thought you were getting another Bushism and then WHAM! I hit you with the good doctor.
posted by Mick at 10:14 PM on December 2, 2003


McBain makes a point. If youre speaking without stopping and have already put the qualifier in, perhaps it can be assumed that "former" doesn't have to be said everytime. I guess it depends on what people heard, did he sound like he was making sense or does it just look bad on paper?

Dean: And we’re not spending money on human intelligence and on cyber-intelligence and on cargo inspection and on buying the enriched uranium stocks of the former Soviet Union.

Didn't Bush fail a simple geography quiz he was given during an interview early in his campaign?
posted by skallas at 10:16 PM on December 2, 2003


Meanwhile, in the former Roman Empire...
posted by spazzm at 10:35 PM on December 2, 2003


"Not breaking any ground, Bush highlighted the accomplishments of his administration, saying he had eliminated the terror threat from Afghanistan and weapons of mass destruction from Iraq and ensured that Medicare will remain solvent."
posted by homunculus at 10:49 PM on December 2, 2003


Meanwhile, in the former New Amsterdam...
posted by spazzm at 11:02 PM on December 2, 2003


"And we’re not spending money on... buying the enriched uranium stocks of the former Soviet Union."

This isn't true since we are spending some money on buying them. It would have been accurate to say that we're not spending enough money on buying them, and that we need to do a lot better.

Bush and Dean should both read this report: Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: A Progress Update (PDF).
posted by homunculus at 11:08 PM on December 2, 2003


Well, it's not as if he claimed that there wasn't any Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. :)
posted by ed at 11:13 PM on December 2, 2003


Mick, thanks for the post. Even if the guy flubs a "former" i still agree with what he's spouting so i can't really get that upset

...Meanwhile in Constantanople

great, now i have they might be giants stuck in my head!
posted by NGnerd at 11:40 PM on December 2, 2003


Meanwhile, in the former Confederate States of America...

Good one, NGnerd!
posted by spazzm at 11:51 PM on December 2, 2003


Dear Friends at Metafilter:

Today, I taught my students about theatre in Burma. I called it Burma a dozen or so times. At one point, I scratched my head and said, "I think Burma changed its name in the last few years." One of my students assured me that it was still Burma and we all had a good laugh at silly Mr. Michaels for thinking that Burma would change its name. I mean, as a Google search moments later demonstrated, the CIA still calls it Burma.

For this, I apologize to all of my friends in Myanmar, the country once known as Burma. Since I clearly have no business being a teacher, I am going to go and hide out in Ceylon.

Love, Joey

PS - Dean in '05! Whoo!
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:15 AM on December 3, 2003


FWIW the CIA calls it Burma because they don't want to legitimize the Myanmar government.
posted by skallas at 12:25 AM on December 3, 2003


if this same exact fpp (a one-liner with one link) pointed to a Bushism, there would have been an outcry against it.

proof positive of the insideous right wing conservative bias on metafilter.
posted by quonsar at 12:26 AM on December 3, 2003


skallas: I did not know that. I can tell you all about yokthe pwe, though.

And I apologize for the derail...
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:33 AM on December 3, 2003


proof positive of the insideous right wing conservative bias on metafilter.

I knew we were on to that late August night all those years ago, Q.
posted by The God Complex at 1:03 AM on December 3, 2003


errr, on to "something". Enact phase two!
posted by The God Complex at 1:05 AM on December 3, 2003


you remember august?
posted by quonsar at 1:37 AM on December 3, 2003


I suppose I depends on when the president or prospective president made this speech. Well I don't know who is stirring the shit more at the moment those chaps from the former soviet union or our old friends from the former holy roman empire.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:05 AM on December 3, 2003


Oh, come on....the comment, while it shouldn't be blown out of proportion, was a flub. NO, it's not apparent that the qualifier of "former" was supposed to be applied to his references to the Soviet Union in the present tense. These guys know the importance of a sound bite -- he wouldn't ever intend to say something so dumb because it's too easy to take out of context.

That being said, the comment might give one pause (is this indicative of how he views Russia? will he have a Connie Rice-type policy towards the region?), but he's obviously not an idiot.
posted by jennak at 2:20 AM on December 3, 2003


*blushes* um... look world, he is actually a very goooood president. Yes, very special. So special we even got him his own helmet and got boeing to make a short version of the presidential air force one plane.


These allegations that he will be remembered as a flawed president are untrue, because that is just a bunch of hip bullshit propagated by people who don't understand politics or human rights. Besides, when was the last time anyone talked about corporate rights? Where was the ACLU when Roger and Me came out?
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:37 AM on December 3, 2003


keyser swallows, hook, line and sinker!
posted by quonsar at 2:50 AM on December 3, 2003


"If you refer to Russia as the Soviet Union three times while discussing foreign affairs should you really be President of the United States?"

It's OK, Mick - in plenty of people's eyes, he's not really "President of the United States."
posted by Blue Stone at 4:08 AM on December 3, 2003


I call "Bullshit".

He says "former Soviet Union" the first time and it is clearly the implication the second, third, and fourth times. Did he forget in the span of 10 seconds?

Bull***t yourself. The four references to "Soviet Union" come roughly 40 questions after he says "former Soviet Union."
posted by Daze at 4:35 AM on December 3, 2003


It's OK, Mick - in plenty of people's eyes, he's not really "President of the United States."

"and Blue Stone steps up to the bait, bites and HE'S RUNNING WITH IT, HOOK, LINE, SINKER, ROD AND FISHERMAN!"
posted by quonsar at 4:59 AM on December 3, 2003


Russian official: The Soviet Union will be pleased to offer amnesty to your wayward vessel.

American official: The Soviet Union? I thought you guys broke up.

Russian official: Yes, that's what we wanted you to think!
posted by RobbieFal at 5:04 AM on December 3, 2003


I remember traveling to Formosa.
posted by the fire you left me at 6:34 AM on December 3, 2003


What a country!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:39 AM on December 3, 2003


Meanwhile, in the former Colonies...

Okay, I'll stop now. Honestly.
posted by spazzm at 7:40 AM on December 3, 2003


I weep for Rhodesia
posted by johnnyboy at 7:44 AM on December 3, 2003


Whilst Kant weeps for Koenigsberg
posted by johnnyboy at 7:54 AM on December 3, 2003


Although Petrograd at the turn of 1917 was awash with revolutionary unrest
posted by johnnyboy at 7:59 AM on December 3, 2003


If this is the worst thing anyone can think of to pick on Dean for, well, ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner

no, the worst they'll say (they're saying it already) is that he "attacks the President for attacking the terrorists", ie Dean's with Bin Laden. oh, and Dean's got a Chamberlain tattoo as well, according to Dennis Miller.
they'll probably even hint that as a physician he personally performed abortions. things'll get so ugly that saying "Soviet Union" a few times is really not the worst that can happen to Dean. but Dean should be more careful with this stuff -- I just hope he has the right people helping him do the foreign policy homework he obviously didn't need to do in Vermont. and he should know by heart how many people are enlisted in the Armed Forces (even if Russert acted like a dick -- or even worse, like a hitman). Dean doesn't need any gaffes -- and it's wrong for him to dismiss important questions like who's going to try Osama. if he's going to accuse Bush of being an incompetent President, Dean can't really look like an amatuer himself. Small-state governor Bill Clinton, bless his cheating heart, in '92 demolished the "inexperienced" charges by looking like a dutiful foreign policy wonk, asking Sam Berger all the right questions and committing ther answers to memory. Dean should do that as well, when he has a few minutes
posted by matteo at 8:04 AM on December 3, 2003


Kerry: "If Howert Dean cannot distinguish between present tense and past tense, then Howert Dean is not the...."


If you're an aristocratic slaveowning ex-general with wooden teeth, should you really be President of the United States?

come on, everyone knows they where Ivory. (or was it porcelan) Also, many of the Generals peers called him "General". He will always be the "General" also, he freed his slaves. I think.

so, should the son of a Fascist appeaser, anti-semite, skirt chasing hollywood rumrunner be president?
(son was a chronic shirt chaser, drug taker, waffling opportunist who used the mob to help him STEAL the 60' election)

ahh, historical irony, like Democratic Kampuchea
posted by clavdivs at 8:07 AM on December 3, 2003


Ah, sitting here in the former Ottawa Nation LMAO at parts of this thread.

Oh, and Dennis for Prez.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:39 AM on December 3, 2003


Are you guys REALLY willing to put the Republican candidate up against the Democratic candidate to see which one is more rediculous, ignorant, deceptive and oafsome? As decided by a non-American judge, to avoid a question of party partisanship?

Are you willing to put your vote where your mouth is?

Heck, I'd take that wager with one hand tied behind my back...

Who else is willing to - especially from the Republican camp...?

By the way - if anybody knows that guy MRMANLEY, remind him it's almost time for him to come in here to make his public admission...
posted by Perigee at 9:04 AM on December 3, 2003


Who here seriously believes that Howard Dean, out of almost everyone in the Western world, failed to notice that the Soviet Union broke up a decade ago? Anyone? So just how much political significance do you seriously attribute to a mental slip of the kind everyone makes as they get older? He might have trouble finding the big red button now that the label's changed? His speech-writers might have to do an extra search-and-replace? He's unfit for the role of Cartographer-in-Chief?

I'd be more concerned about his choice of favourite movie. And not particularly concerned about that.
posted by rory at 9:15 AM on December 3, 2003


I'll bet that if we tally up the typos, grammatical errors, and general misstatements in this thread alone, we will have eliminated a couple dozen possible future candidates for President using Mick's measure of fitness for the job.
posted by briank at 9:43 AM on December 3, 2003


It is not my measure of fitness for the job. It is to point out how silly people are for pointing out other people's slip of the tongue (especially when you can argue that they are planned, so as to get his opponents to underestimate him again and again and again).
posted by Mick at 10:29 AM on December 3, 2003


Why are you all defending Dean. It shows to me you had your share picking on others and you're now defending yourself for it. He is a man that has/will made/make mistakes. Nothing new, laugh, bet he is. If it keeps up then be worried; roll with it, it's politics as usual, nit picking everything.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:58 AM on December 3, 2003


(especially when you can argue that they are planned, so as to get his opponents to misunderestimate him again and again and again).

You're right, but I couldn't resist.
posted by homunculus at 11:32 AM on December 3, 2003


Seven-year-old boy corrects Bush whom laughed
posted by thomcatspike at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2003


That should be "...WHO laughed".

*titter*
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:47 PM on December 3, 2003


Who here seriously believes that Howard Dean, out of almost everyone in the Western world, failed to notice that the Soviet Union broke up a decade ago? Anyone? So just how much political significance do you seriously attribute to a mental slip of the kind everyone makes as they get older? He might have trouble finding the big red button now that the label's changed? His speech-writers might have to do an extra search-and-replace? He's unfit for the role of Cartographer-in-Chief?


The implication isn't that he doesn't know; instead, what one might find upsetting is that potentially, when speaking to foreign heads of state for example, he might give the impression that he doesn't care.
posted by juv3nal at 3:01 PM on December 3, 2003


You thought you were getting another Bushism and then WHAM! I hit you with the good doctor.

Nah: when we saw your name, Mick, we knew it was cheap shots from the far right.
posted by riviera at 3:21 PM on December 3, 2003


bluestone is silly. read 'em first brotha.
posted by Satapher at 3:41 PM on December 3, 2003


By the way - if anybody knows that guy MRMANLEY, remind him it's almost time for him to come in here to make his public admission...

July 17th + 6 months = Jan 17th, so he's got another month.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:42 PM on December 3, 2003


The implication isn't that he doesn't know; instead, what one might find upsetting is that potentially, when speaking to foreign heads of state for example, he might give the impression that he doesn't care.

So, anyone here upset by this mighty potentiality? Keeping in mind, of course, that no foreign head of state would ever imagine that any U.S. politician didn't care about the fate of America's main rival of the past fifty years, whether they called it the Soviet Union, Russia, or the Evil Empire.
posted by rory at 4:39 PM on December 3, 2003


Nah: when we saw your name, Mick, we knew it was cheap shots from the far right.

Goose-step when you say that!
posted by Mick at 5:02 PM on December 3, 2003


I'll take a "Soviet Union" over a "terriers and barriffs" any day.

Because it's so much better to use an incorrect (and highly loaded) name for a foreign power, which indicates a state of affairs not present, than to mispeak the initial consonants of two words.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:00 PM on December 3, 2003


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