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The Hiding of the President
August 22, 2006 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Keep Bush away from the press. Joe Scarborough (in the news lately for asking rude questions about the President's intelligence) opines that "If George Bush has lost his ability to give a commanding presser, then stage manage him differently. Play to his strengths... Show him only in settings where he is in control." Curiously, while Bush's press conferences have become unsetllingly less coherent in recent days -- even for him -- the so-called liberal media and even the blogosphere have barely mentioned it (perhaps in the spirit of preserving the dignity of the office, like FDR's wheelchair?) Example: watch this video -- what happens at 1:34 or so, right before the President abruptly terminates the questioning? Will Bush in his twilight years, as Foxborough advises, become like Ronald Reagan, protected from public humiliation by his faithful staff?
posted by digaman (156 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Show him only in settings where he is in control.

I can only watch the guy clear brush so many times.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:14 AM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


So sorry, Scarborough Country is on MSNBC, not Fox.
posted by digaman at 10:15 AM on August 22, 2006


This post is dangerous and should be deleted.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:16 AM on August 22, 2006


so, what happens at 1:34 or so?
posted by poppo at 10:17 AM on August 22, 2006


Guy is exhausted, hey? That video made that much clear.
posted by jon_kill at 10:17 AM on August 22, 2006


I wish they would hide that yokel from the press. His folksy, down-home vernacular grates against every cultured and educated bone in my body.

The village Crawford has lost its idiot.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 10:18 AM on August 22, 2006


Years from now we will begin to realize the wit and wisdom of GW Bush and that lefties have maligned him out of a sense of their own inadequacies. The Bush policies both domestic and foreign will prove to be monumental in keeping our nation Number One!
posted by Postroad at 10:19 AM on August 22, 2006


Obviously not the brightest bulb on the tree though IMO not as dumb as some would say, but that looks to me like pure exhaustion.
posted by chris24 at 10:19 AM on August 22, 2006


Bush's "pressers" have been incoherent from day one. It's just five and a half years of accumulation of detail and incident that make them seem less coherent in August 2006 than they did in January 2001. Similarly, the White House press corps have always been Bush's lapdogs. He could stand there and do nothing but drool all over the podium for 45 minutes and they would call it a success.
posted by blucevalo at 10:20 AM on August 22, 2006


Bush is clearly medicated. For what? Severe depression? Maybe? I don't know. But those are classic anti-depressant side effects.

Or. He is drinking again. Or both.

AS predicted his presidency has fallen apart. At this point it's all stage craft, damage control, and Dick Cheney burning the midnight oil desperately searching for scapegoats.
posted by tkchrist at 10:21 AM on August 22, 2006


No one listens to Cheney now anyway, he might as well spare himself the trouble of actually speaking in public.
posted by clevershark at 10:23 AM on August 22, 2006


Will Bush in his twilight years, as Foxborough advises, become like Ronald Reagan, protected from public humiliation by his faithful staff?

We can only hope. My fear is that by the end of his presidency, Bush will be found cradled, whimpering, in Condi Rice's lap- a Pieta for our times.
posted by mkultra at 10:24 AM on August 22, 2006


Bush is clearly medicated [or] He is drinking again.

It really seems like it to me, too. He's acquired all these weird facial tics in the last year and gets more incoherent. He's never been The World's Greatest speaker, but compare him now to his campaign in 2000; it's like night and day.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:27 AM on August 22, 2006


Whoa, is that how most of his press conferences are going these days?
posted by bshort at 10:27 AM on August 22, 2006


Didn't he just get back from Camp David or something? The fellow has more vacation days then I do (6 1/2 weeks) but I guess that isn't enough.

It is just speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is on meds, or at least self medicating.
posted by edgeways at 10:28 AM on August 22, 2006


Bush is stupid. News at 11.
posted by mattbucher at 10:29 AM on August 22, 2006


Show him only in settings where he is in control

My god, have you been paying attention? That's what they've been doing! If anything, his own party is actually expecting him to answer questions with some depth and he's just unable to.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:35 AM on August 22, 2006


The fact that Scarborough is speaking pooly of Bush is hardly surprising. He's a lame duck and a lot of the rgith wing media and politicians are trying to distance themselves.

Watching tha video of Bush's press confrence, however, was just sad. He seems more freaked out and upset than he did in the aftermath of September 11th. His legacy is ending on a terrible note, hie power grabs aren't working anymore, and nothing he is trying is solving hte problem.

As much as I disagree with him, I can't help but really, really feelsorry for the guy. I do, however, hope this promps some deep soul seaching about the thousands of lives he's ended or otherwise affected negatively.
posted by piratebowling at 10:35 AM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


It really seems like it to me, too. He's acquired all these weird facial tics in the last year and gets more incoherent. He's never been The World's Greatest speaker, but compare him now to his campaign in 2000; it's like night and day.

Perhaps there is something about the job that really ages its holder. I remember how youthful Clinton looked in 1992 — in 2000, he was grey and paunchy, with the bags under his eyes carrying more bags. I imagine being in this position carries a serious physiological and psychological burden that takes its toll, year after year.

I dislike Bush intensely for the damage he's done to my country and the world, but he is a human being, at the end of the day, and I can't help but feel some sympathy for him.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:36 AM on August 22, 2006


Then compare that to footage of his earlier texas governorship bids, and it's clear what a biochemical trainwreck the guy has become.

I'd guess we're seeing a mixture of intermittent alcoholic relapse, combined with some fairly heavy antidepressants.
posted by stenseng at 10:38 AM on August 22, 2006


The part the freaked me out was when he salutes as he walks away. Who is he saluting to, the invisible army man?
posted by Outlawyr at 10:39 AM on August 22, 2006


He looks lost. It's like when the school teacher calls you out for not paying attention. He doesn't have an answer.
posted by yeti at 10:41 AM on August 22, 2006


>>> so, what happens at 1:34 or so?

"We... I made my position clear about this war on terror and I, uh ... and by the way, the enemy made their position clear, yet again, when they ... when ... when, when we are able to stop 'em. See?"

The President starts this bit at the 1:23 mark, ends it at 1:48. The pauses, the stuttering make him appear incredibly distracted.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:41 AM on August 22, 2006


Although this quote comes in second place for freak out potential: "We... I made my position clear about this war on terror and I... by the way, the enemy made their position clear, yet again, when they... when we are able to stop them." That's how the enemy makes their position clear, by being stopped?
posted by Outlawyr at 10:41 AM on August 22, 2006


I don't think Bush's demeanor in the press conference indicates medication or drinking; it indicates a weary, lost, old man. Compare his posture, body language, and locution during the press conference to his speeches during the 2000 election, or even moreso, to his speeches during the Governor's race in Texas. During those speeches, Bush is bright, confident, and sure of his words. He believes in what he's saying, and he has a clear message. He's lost all that now, and I don't think it's because of alcohol or medication. I've watched nearly 150 appellate arguments during this past year, and Bush's problems are typical of a speaker who knows that he has lost, knew he had lost before speaking, has no answers to questions, and is weary of the battle. The questions of reporters no longer give him an opportunity to showcase his policy plans, but instead require him to justify and obfuscate. He doesn't have a clear message, and it shows. The blip at 1:34 is characteristic of a speaker who doesn't know what to say next, doesn't know how to answer the question, and in the process of thinking through several alternative answers, loses track of what he has already said. I've seen lawyers do the same thing in court, when asked questions by judges to which they have no answers, knowing they've already lost the case.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:42 AM on August 22, 2006 [10 favorites]


i won't speculate about drugs and alcohol ... but bush is suffering from an obvious case of burn-out

i actually wonder if he's going to make it for 2 1/2 more years
posted by pyramid termite at 10:42 AM on August 22, 2006


"Show him only in settings where he is in control"

...

When's that.. exactly?
posted by ZachsMind at 10:44 AM on August 22, 2006


I agree with monju_bosatsu's analysis. However, I can't help but think the "Bush had a stroke" theory is racking up more validity.
posted by piratebowling at 10:44 AM on August 22, 2006


*blink*
posted by ZachsMind at 10:44 AM on August 22, 2006


"Bush had a stroke." Lots of pretzel-related speculation.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:47 AM on August 22, 2006


I think he was about to mention the arrests in High Wycombe (at 1:34 or so: ..."when the enemy.... uh...") and then remembered those people had not been charged with anything yet- and he couldn't finish his thought.
posted by wfc123 at 10:48 AM on August 22, 2006


Hey, being the President is hard work.
posted by clevershark at 10:49 AM on August 22, 2006


Apparent coherency aside, has he ever not seemed like someone who just lost his notes?
posted by Bearman at 10:49 AM on August 22, 2006


I can't help but really, really feelsorry for the guy.

You should NEVER let pity into your heart for fools who have power. Never.

While he is not "stupid". He is a fool. He has had the best of everything his entire life. And he has willingly squandered the best that his civilization had to offer for his own glory and the glory of his greed and mistakes.

Time and time again his own ideological comrades had shown him a better way to accomplish what they want. And he has chosen to stick with his obvious mistakes rather than admit them. And tens of thousands of innocent people died as a result. Millions more will faces decades of a broken living.

He has never known struggle nor success on his own merits. Yet the man is the most powerful single human on earth. In the history of the earth. He could, on a whim, lay waste to this planet and still have duck eggs for breakfast. Pity him?. Are you crazy?

You SHOULD hate him. It's the only intelligent thing left to do.

If there's a better candidate for the village stocks I can't think of one. Fuck him.
posted by tkchrist at 10:50 AM on August 22, 2006 [22 favorites]


I dislike Bush intensely for the damage he's done to my country and the world, but he is a human being, at the end of the day, and I can't help but feel some sympathy for him.

I like to consider myself a very empathetic guy, but for all this guy's done and let happen, topped off with his belief that I'm going to Hell- fuck him.
posted by mkultra at 10:50 AM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


i actually wonder if he's going to make it for 2 1/2 more years

Since around the start of the year, I've had the feeling he isn't going to make it. I've never thought he was dumb (though obviously he's anti-intellectual) but he's always struck me as a frightened by the spot he's found himself in. When he had the popular support he could puff up his chest and manage it. Now that it doesn't look like that support is ever coming back, he seem really, really lost.
posted by bendybendy at 10:55 AM on August 22, 2006


So sorry, Scarborough Country is on MSNBC, not Fox.

Same difference.
posted by wfc123 at 10:56 AM on August 22, 2006


do, however, hope this promps some deep soul seaching about the thousands of lives he's ended or otherwise affected negatively.

I hope this prompts some deep soul searching by the manipulative, cynical, moral bankrupts that got the guy to run in the first place. None of 'em are remotely acceptable enough to be elected themselves so they prop this guy up as 'head of state' and hide behind his public persona which includes, get this, a profession of Christian faith, bonus!
posted by scheptech at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2006


On the contrary, please put more of this kind of footage on. Why should the press defend this yahoo from the well-deserved glare of public opinion? So that he can cling to his last remaining shreds of credibility? This guy has started a war, lost a city, squandered billions of dollars and continues to ignore the 9/11 commission. He has broken the law numerous times during his presidency, has openly championed torture and arrest without probable cause or warrants or judicial oversight. I don't care if it hurts his feelings to hear it, the man is too damn stupid for the job he holds and if any of the people around him actually cared about him they'd convince him to resign.
posted by Sara Anne at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2006


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
a personal favorite..
posted by cavalier at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2006


@ monju_bosatsu:

i wish mefi had moderation points, you deserve them for your accurate statements.
posted by bobjohnsonmilw at 11:03 AM on August 22, 2006


He seems hungover to me. The deep breaths, pained expression, and the inability to complete complex thoughts.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:04 AM on August 22, 2006


if any of the people around him actually cared about him they'd convince him to resign.

I guess it's Weekend at Bernie's time, huh?

has openly championed torture

The universal desire for institutionalized torture among neocons, more than anything else, illustrates to me the fundamentally irrational and reactionary nature of the movement. It's unforgivable.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:04 AM on August 22, 2006


Pity him: 1

Fuck him: 2

OK, make that 3.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:05 AM on August 22, 2006


I really, really need to second tkchrist and mkultra on this one. That pinheaded fiend has earned no pity, only fear and loathing. May he burn in the fires of a million suns for the breadth and depth of his crimes and sins of omission.

To hell with him, and with all those talking heads and minions and puppetmasters who manipulated him into the insane policies of the past six years and continued to support him long past the time his folly became truly clear.

"His methods became...unsound"
"He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in (office) commanding troops."

Damn them all to hell for what they've done to the USA. He's done more damage than 100 planeloads of terrorists could ever do.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 11:05 AM on August 22, 2006


tkchrist: well said, unfortunately
posted by milarepa at 11:06 AM on August 22, 2006


What else happened in that press conference? He commented on one newsie's seersucker suit, called one guy 'Stretch' and made fun of another guy who was wearing shades indoors because of an eye infection. It will be a long two+ years.
posted by fixedgear at 11:07 AM on August 22, 2006


He has given up. He knows he failed the nation. He knows history will label him the worst president ever. He has nothing to do but sit on his hands for the next two years. He took on a job which was much too big for him, and now just wants it to all be over.

When you decide to run the country - economy, foreign policy, wars, everything - using narrow folksy wisdom, you eventually run into a problem were simple just doesn't match up with reality. It's like trying to restrict the courts to using the ten commandments for determining guilt rather than case law.

Said another way - His world view has crumbled and he is confronting his own failure. If he isn't getting treated for depression we're all in trouble, because he could flip out at any time.
posted by Wizzlet at 11:08 AM on August 22, 2006


Well, it's hard work. For the people who matter, Bush's presidency has been an amazing success. Tax cuts, a Mideast invasion, the successful introduction of the War on Terror (tm) brand -- this is a trifecta, the only thing left is bringing Reagan back from the dead and I'm sure Cheney and Rove are still working on that. Yeah, he didn't kill social security but he did legitamize the effort. It's only a matter of time at this point. Most everybody has already lost all confidence in the "bloated" SS system. Really, at this point, Bush deserves to take it easy. He should spend the next 2.5 years coasting. Maybe invest in some happy pills if he hasn't already. As long as there's not another major terrorist attack, he doesn't have to do anything but keep the base pumped up and maybe kill a few more Arabs. Long term, sure, he'll be remembered as having intiated and presided over the worst military defeat ever sustained by the country but this actually fits well with his What-me-worry-Cowboy image. I'm sure in ten years he'll be canonized along with Reagan and much of the country will fondly remember the "war president."
posted by nixerman at 11:13 AM on August 22, 2006


...because the president shouldn’t be among the best of men? He should be a man of most excellent character able to withstand the stresses and the burdens of the office. That’s the bare minimum. That’s without going into his policies, his ideas, the quality of his reasoning. Bush has never undergone a real test of character. I didn’t agree with much of Bush the elder’s work, but at least he was strong enough to grasp the sword. What if we had a crisis on par with the civil war? People forget that Lincoln did things perhaps deserving of revolt by the people, but it was his strength of character and his conviction (and ultimately his good sense) that kept the country together.
But we can’t forget Andy Johnson (who was drunk at his inauguration). He wasn’t eloquent and was very combative. He had experiance in nearly every non-judicial level of office and yet still let his ego and assheadedness get in the way of restoration. Still...they impeached Johnson, didn’t they. Not sure what the excuse is here.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:15 AM on August 22, 2006


Last week Scarborough asked, "Is George Bush stupid, or just inarticulate?" (Yesterday's follow-up.)

The "He's An Idiot" Trial Balloon and What Will Happen If It Floats

In yesterday's press conference, President Bush said that Iraq had 'nothing' to do with 9/11 and claimed that "Nobody’s ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq." He also said--twice--that Saddam Hussein "had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction," which means he's either lying, or didn't read the Duelfer Report.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:21 AM on August 22, 2006


I have never found a way to express this before... but the other unpardonable sin that Bush has committed is this:

He has made nearly 1/3 of our country deeply and sincerely proud that the rest of the world hates our guts.

Think about that.

The US spent a good deal of it's early history trying to make our piss-ant little country respected by the world powers who had toyed with us.

WWII came along and we finally got respect.

Then we worked a ways to make our country feared. From that evolved the natural antipathy the less powerful feel for the powerful. We abused our new power and made fear turn to suspicion and anger.

In our history we have only a blip of time where the world truly respected us. In that Blip was where we became great.

From the tragedy of 9/11 the world wakes up to what a fragile experiment Democracy can be. They saw our heart. What the US really can stand for... that our principles are sound, our people strong. That the US is a force for good in this world. We could be great again.

We had a clean slate and an opportunity to influence the world positively... with out stomping around and bombing the shit out of babies. For once.

And then Bush happens.
posted by tkchrist at 11:22 AM on August 22, 2006 [11 favorites]


I dislike Bush intensely for the damage he's done to my country and the world, but he is a human being, at the end of the day, and I can't help but feel some sympathy for him.

Bush is a human being, granted, but he is a human being who wields an inordinate amount of power and wants to make sure that everybody knows it and bows to it.

In yesterday's press conference, part jokingly and part not, Bush said, "I'm a thoughtful guy. I listen to people. I'm open-minded. I'm all the things that you know I am." He was almost exulting in his status as a divisive figure.

The damage that you refer to is damage that is worldwide and that is going to be, in many cases, irreversible.

Thus, although sympathy is normally called for in such situations, I find it almost impossible to find any for this man.
posted by blucevalo at 11:22 AM on August 22, 2006


Although I'm sure it's fashionable to sneer at him, Tom Clancy, in the Jack Ryan novel Executive Orders, did a rather striking job of depicting the "President as prisoner" phenomenon. When you read how hard a time the protagonist has of adjusting to the 24/7 role, it's a wonder that anybody sane would go to the incredible trouble of runnning for the office, and I can understand (if not entirely empathize with) how much trouble W's having now and why he'd spend so much time on vacation.
posted by pax digita at 11:23 AM on August 22, 2006


I guess the country, well, out-countried him.

"I vowed to never get out-countried again."
-George W. Bush

"Don't Call It A Dynasty"
by Matthew Cooper

Time Magazine,
Person of the Year 2004,
December 19, 2004.
posted by Freen at 11:24 AM on August 22, 2006


He has made nearly 1/3 of our country deeply and sincerely proud that the rest of the world hates our guts.

I think about that quite a bit. I'm planning on applying for a US passport soon, and I'm going to be at least embarrassed if not actually fearful I ever go through with using it. Gee, thanx W. & Co.
posted by pax digita at 11:27 AM on August 22, 2006


I want to second what BP said re: the presidency taking its toll physically. I thought it was common knowledge that eight years of presidency makes one look twenty years older. That isn't to say it necessarily makes one incoherent, depressed, or alcoholic, but hey, you can't win 'em all.

another vote for fuck him, btw
posted by kaytwo at 11:28 AM on August 22, 2006


Thus, although sympathy is normally called for in such situations, I find it almost impossible to find any for this man.

When we lose sympathy for monsters, we've become monsters ourselves.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:29 AM on August 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


When we lose sympathy for monsters, we've become monsters ourselves.

I don't disagree with you. Bush has engendered millions of monsters. He reapeth the whirlwind. And so do we.
posted by blucevalo at 11:36 AM on August 22, 2006


I feel some small faint stirring of sympathy for the man, another slight measure for his wife and family, and the overwhelming balance for the United States of America and the rest of the world.
posted by pax digita at 11:39 AM on August 22, 2006


When we lose sympathy for monsters, we've become monsters ourselves.

Oh. PAH-lease. he went into office with both eyes open and his jaw slack.

BTW. Pity (sympathy) and compassion are NOT the same thing.

Bush deserves to be punished. He does NOT deserve sympathy.
posted by tkchrist at 11:40 AM on August 22, 2006


I reserve my sympathy for those who suffer for reasons beyond their control. If I'm supposed to feel sorry for Bush because of the toll his job has taken on him, then I'd also have to feel sorry for Clinton. And I don't. Bush was arrogant enough to take a job he was in no way qualified to do. Let him take the consequences.
posted by orange swan at 11:48 AM on August 22, 2006


This is a good time to watch the video from his debate against Richards in 1994. No, he wasn't always like this.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 11:49 AM on August 22, 2006


PS. Bush is also not a monster. He is not "evil." That is hyperbolic goofiness.

What he IS is a failure that cannot be excused, and rather, must be made an example of. If we don't we WILL have actual monsters in his place.
posted by tkchrist at 11:51 AM on August 22, 2006


After he leaves office, he'll have a lucrative career waiting for him in the oil or lobbying industries (like his Dad). He just wishes he could get on with it already, and forget all this presidentin'.
posted by fungible at 11:52 AM on August 22, 2006


We've seen this before. It's the same exhaustion and psychological stress that was apparent in Lyndon Johnson as his handling of the Vietnam war spiraled out of control and the pile of body bags grew ever higher. It's the humiliated body language of Nixon as Watergate undid his presidency.

Bush's failed misguided policies are going to haunt the country and the world for years. I take cold comfort in the knowledge that he's going to have to defend them for the rest of his life.
posted by Skygazer at 11:53 AM on August 22, 2006


re: Scarborough et al. It's always messy to watch people eat their own. Took long enough, but I guess like maggots they have to eat away the diseased flesh with the hope that a new pinker, fresher version wins through.
posted by edgeways at 11:57 AM on August 22, 2006


the knowledge that he's going to have to defend them for the rest of his life

Sorry, but that's a very generous overstatement. Has Bush spent his middle years "defending" or giving a second thought to the scandalous failure of his oil company, Arbusto Energy?

Bush has gone from one hapless misadventure to another, inevitably bailed out by his own father or the Saudis. You have to ask what role the Saudis are playing behind the scenes in the current attempts at damage control.
posted by digaman at 11:59 AM on August 22, 2006


/nixerman don’t make the mistake of equating Reagan with Bush. In fact Reagan and Bush the elder hated each other. There are valid criticisms that can be leveled at Reagan’s presidency, but many people forget what a mess the country was in at the time. (And indeed, how much was end running done by the Bush wing? That doesn’t exculpate Reagan of course...indeed we still haven’t paid our fines to the U.N.) But Carter to Reagan is nearly a mirror image of Clinton to Bush, particularly in zeitgeist.

It’s no good for anyone to have the leader looking like this. But that’s not his handlers fault or anyone elses, it’s the fault of leadership. Picture you’re on air patrol and your radar shows an unidentified something incoming. You need a situation report. “Sir, what are our orders?” and your squadron leader’s voice comes over the headphones: “We... I made my position clear about this war on terror and I, uh ... and by the way, the enemy made their position clear, yet again, when they ... when ... when, when we are able to stop 'em. See?”

tkchrist - seconded. With the exception that Bush didn’t just happen. Some people wanted him there. And some people were fooled. I think I’m the only conservative in America - hell, the only person in America - who will actually admit to being suckered. Yes, I thought, overcoming my common sense, that Iraq might have posed a threat to us. I thought Bush was right and perhaps the nay sayers and people in general didn’t have all the information that the administration had. It never occured to me that so many people would willingly go along with something like that (in retrospect people were falling out and resigning left and right, it just didn’t get widley reported). So yes, I’m the guy that was fooled by these bastards. Now what I don’t understand are the people who still support him.

I am indifferent to his plight. I have no sympathy for him. I do not hate him. If he is a monster he is an obstacle for humanity to overcome - whatever the means (without losing our own humanity of course). Think I look back and feel any sympathy for Gacy or Hitler or Stalin? I pity the children they were and their upbringing, but the best thing we can do is neutralize them before they trap themselves and others within the same cycle.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


PS. Bush is also not a monster. He is not "evil." That is hyperbolic goofiness.

Just to clarify: I do not consider or label Bush a monster, whatever that word means anymore (it is a word that is used so often these days as to be completely meaningless). I reserve the epithet "monster" for men like Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, and Adolf Hitler.

I was just responding to Blazecock Pileon's comment that losing sympathy for monsters makes us monsters ourselves. Bush isn't a monster, but that doesn't mean that his actions (or lack thereof) won't engender future monsters.
posted by blucevalo at 12:06 PM on August 22, 2006


Yeah, it's hard to imagine Pol Pot or Stalin cutting farts for a few laffs. And of course, 40,000-plus Iraqis dead and hundreds of thousands maimed -- along with a few thousand US teenagers killed and maimed -- is hardly a Holocaust. Of course, the scientific jury is still out on that climate-change thingie. The other Way Evil Dudes may end up looking like small potatoes.
posted by digaman at 12:24 PM on August 22, 2006


Smedleyman, you are me and I claim my indifference. I'll cop to being suckered myself, despite my self-identification as a liberal. I listened to Biden and Powell and (foolishly) believed them.

Regarding Bush, honestly I do feel bad for the guy. I hate with the fury of a thousand suns what he has done to the state of discourse in the world and the criminal incompetance his administration has shown, but I think this more than anything demonstrates that Bush isn't evil or a monster, he's just a man who was clever enough to get elected but not smart enough to master the forces behind that election.

I think Bush et al should be impeached with swiftness because I think that is the best thing for everyone, including him. The more we as liberals make this about anti-bush the more disservice we do ourselves as a movement/party/ideology.
posted by Skorgu at 12:26 PM on August 22, 2006


"Of course, the scientific jury is still out on that climate-change thingie."

actually digamon, they AREN'T. They are debating whether anyhting can be done to halt or stop it or not, but there is no actual research being published in any peer reviewed scientific journal that debates or proposes to counter the claim that climate change is most certainly occuring.

There are plenty of 'pseudo-scientists' (or, rather, oil executives appointed to overseeing the environmental positions in the administration) and appologists, pundits and editorial writers who are 'debating' climate change...but scientists are not.
posted by das_2099 at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2006


Wow. I was afraid he was about to go on about the strawberries and how he used geometric logic to prove that a second key to the locker, in fact, existed.
posted by klarck at 12:30 PM on August 22, 2006


Smedleyman writes "I’m the only conservative in America - hell, the only person in America - who will actually admit to being suckered. Yes, I thought, overcoming my common sense, that Iraq might have posed a threat to us. I thought Bush was right and perhaps the nay sayers and people in general didn’t have all the information that the administration had. It never occurred to me that so many people would willingly go along with something like that (in retrospect people were falling out and resigning left and right, it just didn’t get widley reported). So yes, I’m the guy that was fooled by these bastards. Now what I don’t understand are the people who still support him."

I don't describe myself as conservative, but otherwise I'm exactly in the same boat as Smedleyman: I admit I was suckered.

At the outset of the war, I assumed the Bush administration had better information than I had, and that partisanship stops at the water's wedge. And so I -- very tepidly -- supported the war. It was Colin Powell's pictures of "WMD factories" at the UN that put me over; I was reminded of Adlai Stevenson's similar UN address, describing photos of Soviet missile bases in Cuba during the Missile Crisis. I couldn't imagine that we -- that is, the full might of the US intelligence apparatus-- would fake those "WMD factory" photos, or could even be mistaken about them.

I was suckered. Hell, I was suckered in 2000, when I wanted Bush, the "compassionate conservative" with a track record of getting along with moderate Democrats in the Texas legislature to win, to show Clinton and Gore that a President shouldn't lie to the American people.

I was a fool, and I got fooled. Smedleyman, you don't get the sole distinction, sorry. ;)
posted by orthogonality at 12:32 PM on August 22, 2006


Digaman:

I don't think Arbusto Oil going bust and the Iraq war are analogous. The Iraq war isn't going to be forgotten anytime soon.


Bush has gone from one hapless misadventure to another, inevitably bailed out by his own father or the Saudis. You have to ask what role the Saudis are playing behind the scenes in the current attempts at damage control.

Well if accounts are to be believed, these mysterious omnipotent Saudi's are fu*king up royally so far.
posted by Skygazer at 12:33 PM on August 22, 2006


I'm reminded of a scene in Fahrenheit 911. It's when we see the video of Bush reading to the kids as he's told about the WTC attack. Dial down Moore's sophomoric commentary, and just look at the man's face.

He is scared out of his wits.

He has the glazed deer-in-the-headlights look of someone who's just been told their entire family has died in an accident. It's the look of someone who has not the slightest, faintest clue what to do next... so he just keeps doing what he had been doing the moment before his entire world derailed.

It was then I realized I pitied him more than hated him. Tho not by much.
posted by InnocentBystander at 12:35 PM on August 22, 2006


Just last night I was wondering if the man had a stroke. I humbly draw your attention to the curious mumblings which start shortly after 1:50 in this speech.
posted by HAMFIST at 12:35 PM on August 22, 2006


The policies are the real problem; the presentation is just where its most obvious.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:41 PM on August 22, 2006


its = it's
posted by stinkycheese at 12:41 PM on August 22, 2006


its = it's

Wow, it's a good thing you corrected that, it could have been confusing.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:43 PM on August 22, 2006


the only conservative in America - hell, the only person in America - who will actually admit to being suckered

Nah. Lots of people have. Including me. Though I never voted for the guy. I was supportive of "regime change" in Iraq. until the WMD thing and Shock and Awe. And then I realized how bad it was all gonna get.
posted by tkchrist at 12:50 PM on August 22, 2006


That video honestly scared me. I hate Bush with the passion of a thousand suns, and can't imagine a less appropriate man for his job, and wish for him to spend the rest of his days in the ass-poundingest prison block one could find, but like BP, for that moment I felt sorry for him. I doubt he's on antidepressents, because I simply imagine they're too stigmatized in his mind, and I doubt he's drinking again, simply because he's never really alone anymore.

No, this was the look of a guy who'd gotten himself in trouble and couldn't get out. Who, for the first time in his life, was in a situation his father couldn't solve for him. His look said that he expected the next guy to have to deal with all of this, and didn't realize that he'd be the next guy for three years. His look said that he doesn't trust anyone right now. His stuttering proved how incapable he is, and that each of his "solutions" is just causing more problems. He wants it to be over already. He wishes he could give up and hand it all over to someone who knows what they're doing, and he has to keep reminding himself that he can't do that. I hate him, so yeah, fuck him, but I had to pity anybody who'd gotten themselves into that position. Put it another way, I like fishing, but I don't like watching the fish gasping and flopping around in the boat, which is what that was.

So yeah. It scared me. I don't know if it's better to have a detestable leader or no leader at all, but we're slipping towards the latter, and I shudder to think of the people behind the scenes who'll pick up the slack.

I really do think that Bush and Co. are evil, in the truest sense of that word. They have lied, cheated, killed, and otherwise sacrificed the common good of the country their supposed to serve in favor of their own personal interests. I feel like I've been holding my breath since 2001, waiting for the administration to pass, and now I've got uncertainty to throw into the mix as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:52 PM on August 22, 2006


I think I’m the only conservative in America - hell, the only person in America - who will actually admit to being suckered.

You're not alone. I voted libertarian, but rooted against Gore. Earlier posts of mine on MeFi will show me arguing in favor of the war.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:52 PM on August 22, 2006


I have never seen George Bush show any emotions. Whenever he is questioned on anything, its, like he needs to think for half an hour before replying.

Is this man really the most powerful man in the world!

John
posted by johnsaunders at 12:54 PM on August 22, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by stenseng at 12:59 PM on August 22, 2006


And. I must also cop to being out for "AY-rab" blood for a while. Honestly, I did feel blowing up some Ay-rabs may solve something.

But this, smed and et al, illustrates why guys like us should not be president. And. We KNOW it.

Keee-rIIIIst! If I was president? Can you imagine? Every other fifteen minutes my aids would be tackling me as I exploded up from some policy meeting and dove accross the oval office for the button.

"THAT'S IT! I'm nuking some mother fucker right now!"
posted by tkchrist at 12:59 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


This has nothing to do with the issue at hand. I don't care if the president is locked in a room far, far away, and nobody even knows what he sounds like, so long as he's a good president.
posted by koeselitz at 1:01 PM on August 22, 2006


room far, far away, and nobody even knows what he sounds like, so long as he's a good president.

But if he choked on a pretzel would he make a sound?
posted by tkchrist at 1:06 PM on August 22, 2006


Reactions to yesterday’s press conference, in which the President vowed repeatedly to “complete the mission” in Iraq.
posted by homunculus at 1:10 PM on August 22, 2006



"Just to clarify: I do not consider or label Bush a monster, whatever that word means anymore (it is a word that is used so often these days as to be completely meaningless). I reserve the epithet "monster" for men like Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, and Adolf Hitler."


Anyone who can't see that this man is a danger to the world, and completely lacking any sort of ethical center is blind.

He's got the blood of thousands of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis on his hands.

He has flushed the respect and international goodwill garnered by fifty years of careful international diplomacy, and has actively worked to make this cowboy isolationism acceptable, and even desirable in the public consciousness.

He has, wittingly or not, done everything possible, from Abu Ghraib, to Gitmo, to Haditha, to foment hatred against America, and in doing so, has placed every American in far graver danger than ever before.

He has lied, cheated, acted in bad faith, squandered opportunities, alienated allies, misspoken, misstepped, and mislead. He has spent the country into a deficit unprecedented in human history. And he has done all this, at our expense, to make his backers richer men.

Meanwhile, he has completely neglected the many very real problems that a President should deal with here at home, and has actively ignored or exacerbated domestic crises, again at great cost, both human and financial.

If all that doesn't make him a monster, I don't know what would.

For better or worse, when you sit in the Oval Office, the buck stops at your desk.

I won't be happy until they frog march that traiterous motherfucker out of the white house in leg irons, and I wouldn't shed too many tears if they lined he and his cabinet up and shot them all for treason.
posted by stenseng at 1:16 PM on August 22, 2006 [4 favorites]


Bush's failures in his mind are not the ones most of you are talking about. He's had notable success in allowing the hyper-rich to make and keep more money. Federal restraints on corporate activities have been radically scaled back. Corporate lobbyists are still the most powerful voices that legislators hear. Diebold voting machines are still in use in lots of precincts.

True, the Iraq war didn't get us all that oil in a readily-usable way, but Halliburton made out like bandits. As for the dead Iraqis, the dead U.S. soldiers, Katrina victims and the whole of New Orleans - he doesn't care; they aren't his "base". And he didn't quite manage to turn Social Security into the cash cow for Wall Street he thought it should be, but his prescription drug smokescreen preserved the Big Pharma/Health Insurance shell game for a while longer.

I don't think that, in his mind, Bush has failed.

I remain mystified at how so many who are not coupon-clippers could delude themselves into believing that voting for Bush would somehow benefit them. And at how, after four years of his activities, they could do it again.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:18 PM on August 22, 2006


re: being suckered into support of the war...
- Bush admin. unwilling to let Hans Blix et al finish their job on the ground - this is where I got especially suspicious. Why were they so dismissive of the inspections? Perhaps they knew that the findings wouldn't be to their liking, hmmmm...? I don't mean to belittle anyone who did fall for it. It WAS just so damn bizarre - why would they do such a thing? Can they really be this nuts? And like others, I am especially disappointed with Colin Powell's performance. His (perceived) credibility probably brought a few fence-sitters over, I imagine. Also, I enjoyed the joke going around then:
"How do we know Iraq has weapons of mass destruction?"
"We have the receipts!"
Gotta love the trial happening right now. So, what were we doing at the time all those Kurds were being killed?
On topic, could W. really be drinking again? Surely his handlers wouldn't allow that? And sympathy....well. He should off himself, then maybe he'll get some sympathy.
posted by zoinks at 1:19 PM on August 22, 2006


Hmm. The main thing I got out of this story is that Scarborough is obviously a malevolent blowhard who cares only about getting people riled up - just like about a zillion other pundits. Why does anyone listen to a damn thing he says?
posted by Western Infidels at 1:32 PM on August 22, 2006


Why does anyone listen to a damn thing he says?

The reason I listened and made the FPP was because I was so alarmed by Bush's declining performance in press conferences, curious as to why the media was politely not mentioning it -- to the point of heavily editing the President's quotes to skip over the places where his syntax completely falls apart -- and figured that Scarborough had hit upon an idea that would take hold in the White House fairly soon.
posted by digaman at 1:37 PM on August 22, 2006


"I won't be happy until they frog march that traiterous motherfucker out of the white house in leg irons, and I wouldn't shed too many tears if they lined he and his cabinet up and shot them all for treason."

And let me just clarify that I'm describing a trial in the legal system with due process. None of this secret military tribunal crap.
posted by stenseng at 1:41 PM on August 22, 2006


Sympathy for W? Maybe a few years ago. Not now. It should have been clear to him in 2004 that he was in over his head. He could have allowed the 2004 election to go on fairly and let the American public vote him out of office like the majority of us wanted to. Instead, we got Ken Blackwell and Diebold. He wanted another 4 years so badly, and now we're supposed to pity him because he can't handle it? The only pity he should get is a swift impeachment and possible indictment.
posted by SBMike at 1:42 PM on August 22, 2006


I just want to be the fourth person to say "a thousand suns" in this thread.
posted by longbaugh at 1:45 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Is that today's version of "a thousand points of light"?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:48 PM on August 22, 2006


Anyone who can't see that this man is a danger to the world, and completely lacking any sort of ethical center is blind.

I don't know how you get from what I wrote to equating it with not being able to "see that this man is a danger to the world" -- unless you completely ignore what I wrote.

But I always love a good-old-fashioned Ideological Purity Test. "You're not angry enough at Bush unless you call him the worst monster in human history!" It's precisely the same kind of blindness that led the GOP to go bonkers about Bush's predecessor ten years ago. David Brock, rise from the dead!
posted by blucevalo at 1:58 PM on August 22, 2006


I am in the No Sympathy camp only because POTUS is the most important job in the world and the person who holds that job should be able to withstand constant scrutiny and still be able to form coherent sentences. This man is a complete fraud, a puppet, and as we have all seen, does not come close to possessing the qualifications, communication skills, wisdom, fortitude, or intellectual horsepower for the Most Important Job in the World (for eight years).
posted by mattbucher at 2:12 PM on August 22, 2006


I reserve the epithet "monster" for men like Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, and Adolf Hitler.

You forgot one.
posted by gigawhat? at 2:15 PM on August 22, 2006


I think I’m the only conservative in America - hell, the only person in America - who will actually admit to being suckered.

To derail slightly, I have a question that's been weighing on my mind. I've seen similar comments about bush popping up in the past 6 months. My question is; how? I saw it all from the beginning. I never believed a word that came out of the administration. ANd I never believed we could be persuaded to go down the path we have.

I'm not trying to pretend I'm smarter than those that did, I've just been trying to figure out how this fits into my world view. How so many had been duped? I, and many close friends saw through the bold faced lies, why didn't the majority of the country? Many others on mefi also saw the deception for what it was from the beginning. How could we be fed the same information and come back with different conclusions?

I'm sure it has something to do with the nature of human kind and communication. Still, it boggles the mind.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:18 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Before I post anything else, I also will admit to being suckered, but seeing that some of the people I admire most on MeFi will cop to that as well, for the first time in a long time a little bit of the sting goes out of that admission. That said, it'll be a long while yet before I can forgive myself for it.
posted by spiderwire at 2:19 PM on August 22, 2006


Before I post anything else, I also will admit to being suckered,

Given the cronyism seen in Bush the Greater's one term, why would you think things would be better or different with the son?

That is the part I do not understand.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:30 PM on August 22, 2006


If I can float a theory here -- a lot of us were talking before the 2004 election about how the person in office doesn't matter so much as who he appoints and who surrounds him.

Let's go back to that.

I think that a lot of what has happened on Bush's watch can be explained by that fact alone. He is, in many ways, the perfect conservative puppet -- he has an essentially conservative worldview, but lacks the intelligence to really comprehend its nuances. He's the sort of person who's been told his entire life that he's smarter than he really is, and he's obviously a sucker for flattery.

Just listen to how he talks -- remember how you would throw big words into your English essays in high school, even when they were inappropriate, and your teacher would reward you for it?

Now. Given that he's a puppet, when you watch him it's important to keep in mind that he's generally parroting whatever line he's been fed most recently, and the trick is to figure out whose hand is up his ass at the moment -- is it Cheney? Rumsfeld? At the moment, there's really no one working the controls, and he knows it at some level, I think.

The Iraq war is a perfect example of this, too. Everyone in the administration had a dog in that fight: Cheney for the oil; Rumsfeld for the military revolution; the neocons for the vindication of their worldview and for Israel; Bush for sticking it to his father; Powell for security reasons. And all of those things got filtered through Bush, and he expressed them genuinely, and everyone was able to see what they wanted to see, because he was able to believe everything at the same time without having to understand any of it.

Bush isn't evil himself, I don't think, but he's the perfect sucker, and he's surrounded by a lot of people who really are genuine bastards and for whom manipulation is second nature. That's just the state of things.
posted by spiderwire at 2:32 PM on August 22, 2006


ashlar: I was referring to the war. I don't think I've supported him on anything else, and I certainly wouldn't vote for the guy.

Although, comparing the cronyism under Bush I to that under Bush II isn't really much of a comparison at all, to be honest.
posted by spiderwire at 2:34 PM on August 22, 2006


The physical and intellectual decline in office of presidents starting with Reagan have certainly been dramatic, haven't they?

I'd swear I heard (or I would have sworn, if I hadn't just failed to find any trace of it) a snippet of a typically brain salad surgery speech by Dan Quayle talking about the possibility of toxic chemical contamination of the White House. I think the speech was near the end of the first Clinton administration, when there was about a millisecond of media interest in Quayle as a possible challenger to Big Bill.

There was a big move under Carter, paralleled in Europe, to reduce and phase out hazardous chemicals in building materials, but all that was canned instantly by the Reaganites (Europe went forward), along with Carter's energy programs (think where we'd be now), and Nancy proceeded to extensively refurbish the White House in the company of a gnat-like cloud of photographers who managed to capture lots of her primmest expressions, and those showed up in elegant living slicks alongside text describing her disgust at the dreadful and dilapidated condition she'd found things in, and stopping just short of accusing the Carters of being first cousins on both sides, but leaving readers with the impression they'd lived like it.

The White House is a wood building, and chlorinated hydrocarbon and heavy-metal based wood-preservatives are high on the list of dangerous and ubiquitous neurotoxins, so what I recall as Quayle's concern has a chance of having a basis in fact, in my opinion.

Both W. and Clinton have strikingly grayer hair than they came into office with, but more to the point, both have markedly more sunken eyes than they had on their first Inauguration Day, and that can be a sign of brain atrophy. Bush's eyes were pretty sunken to begin with, which I have always attributed to alcoholism and Cocaine.
posted by jamjam at 2:40 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


To be sure, I should clarify. I do not and did not in any way support Bush as an elected official in any office. I would have voted for Kodos over Bush given the choice. I refer to my gullibility solely and entirely in the context of the Should We Invade Iraq decision where my opinion was swayed predominantly by Powell. His involvement and support turned weak data from a deception into a need-to-know limitation, for me at least.
posted by Skorgu at 2:53 PM on August 22, 2006


“How could we be fed the same information and come back with different conclusions?”

Matter of perspective. Depends on the information you’re looking at and what you choose to absorb. If a fireman busts into your house in the middle of the night wakes you up and says “get out of the house it’s on fire” you’re going to go - dispite noticing that his fireman uniform is slightly off, you don’t smell smoke, you don’t feel heat, the smoke detector isn’t going off, you don’t hear fire trucks outside, etc. etc. Once you get outside you might go “Say....waitaminute...” (Meanwhile however you have a cop keeping you from going back inside even though you suspect he’s looting your house.) The other stuff - the details, the cues, didn’t really matter until you got outside and out of danger. Same sorta thing. I was none too happy about the election, et.al. But 9/11 happened and ok - maybe stuff is going on that we’re not privvy to. We pull over for police cars on the same basic trust in authority. There are people who get beaten, raped, etc. by fake police or actual corrupt cops, but rarely do we consider that. In this case, this course of action has been nearly suicidal. It’s like your designated driver buddy telling you that you’re too drunk to drive then purposefully speeding the car into head on traffic. It’s slightly beyond the lie of big magnitude Hitler was talking about. There was an actual emergency going on. So there was a lot of “benefit of the doubt” going on. Yes, the situation with Iraq did seem fishy. But you had congress, generals, the press all these traditional checks and balances that you expect to take care of you. Much like you don’t expect the fire department to fake a fire to loot your house and the cops to cover them while they do it. But there it is. The hard part is doing something about it. Fortunately we have a long tradition of doing something about it. And Bushco has lost the initiative and the momentum.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:57 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


some of you people need to get a grip. Boo-fucking-hoo if he feels sad. He's a self-entitled asshole who thought Presidentin would be fun and he could show daddy he's a bigger man than him. And now he's realizing what a fuck up he is. Good.

but he'll never know the devestation his policies have wrought

he'll never know the hunger that millions feel as he shifts more money to the wealthy

he'll never have to mourn his children because they were killed by a "smart bomb"

he'll leave the white house rich and stay rich, raging against those shadowy figures who kept him from the greatness he was destined for. He'll never truly understand that it's his own damn fault because he never earned anything to begin with so he has no idea what it means to earn something on your own.

Fuck him, there are literally billions of people on this planet more deserving of your sympathy. Billion suns and all that
posted by slapshot57 at 3:05 PM on August 22, 2006


I can't see anything. There's way too much straw flying around.
posted by blucevalo at 3:17 PM on August 22, 2006


Count me as one of the suckers. I've been a libertarian (small-l, personally, though I was registered with the party as sort of a lesser-of-all-evils kind of thing) since before I was old enough to vote, and I grew up in a very conservative, very Republican, very evangelical Christian household. I didn't like Clinton very much, partially, I think, because of my parents' influence, and partially because I really didn't like the fact that he'd lied to the American people.

I rooted McCain in the 2000 primary because he at least seemed like a no-bullshit kind of guy, and I was disappointed when Bush won the nomination. I didn't really think there was much difference between him and Gore, at the time.

After 9/11, I was one of the (many many) people who wanted to give the President the benefit of the doubt. I'd always been one of those people who thought there wasn't much of a difference between the two parties, that politicians were sort of mendacious and greedy, but weren't able to get away with doing anything too horrible, and that my government was at least basically competent and would sort of grind along doing things more or less correctly. If you'd told me the President would be interning citizens indefinitely, torturing people, and deciding he could ignore the law whenever it suited him, I'd have laughed in your face. I wouldn't have believed he could get away with doing anything like that.

I thought Saddam was a bad guy. Still do, in fact. I didn't forsee the chaos that would follow, and I still think at least some of it would have been avoidable if the occupation had been handled in even a remotely competent manner. Nonetheless, it's now clear that both Iraq and the United States were better off with Saddam in power, if this is the alternative.

I was mostly okay with the PATRIOT act in the beginning, mostly because, as I said, I basically trusted the government not to abuse its powers, or at least to not get away with abusing them. My first real problem with Mr. Bush came when it turned out he'd lied in the State of the Union address--the infamous "yellowgate" incident. Just like with Clinton, I was offended that my President would lie to me, but this time, it was far worse. His lie had gotten our country into a war that was slowly grinding into a fiasco. I voted for Kerry in 2004 not so much because I thought he'd be a good President, but because I didn't think Bush deserved to keep his job. If someone who's working for you is dishonest or incompetent, you fire him.

I still wasn't a Bush-hater, though. I was more disappointed than anything. The moment where I felt the first real rush of disgust for him came a few days after Katrina hit, when he finally showed up to look over the damage. It wasn't "Brownie, you're doin' a heckuva job." That didn't even register with me so much. It was when he turned to reporters and said "If there are any problems, we're gonna deal with 'em."

I turned to my co-worker and said, "Did he just say 'If' there are any problems?" We'd been watching the constant news reports of devastation, thousands of people trapped on their roofs, tens of thousands trapped in the Superdome and in the convention center, snipers firing at rescue personnel, people starving to death, and the National Guard still days away, and he was talking about problems as if they were hypothetical? I was floored by the depth of his ignorance. This guy had no idea what was going on, I suddenly realized, and didn't really care. All my illusions about his good will and competence disappeared, and I realized he couldn't be trusted to run a Wal-Mart, let alone an entire country.

I've only gotten angrier since then.

I'd always been a little right-leaning in my political views--never again. I wouldn't vote Republican if my life depended on it. Now that I've seen what happens when these people get their hooks into power, I'll do whatever I can to make sure it never, ever happens again in America. And I'm not the only one. Here on Metafilter and in my conversations with friends in the real world, people who used to be moderates are pissed off. I really think that's going to be the one thing George Bush and FDR have in common when the history books are written: they both created a generation of Democrats.

Wow, that was longer than I expected when I started writing it. Felt good, though.
posted by EarBucket at 3:23 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's the humiliated body language of Nixon as Watergate undid his presidency.

There was definitely some Nixonian hunched shoulder in the last frame of that video. It's all in the body-language.
posted by vhsiv at 3:49 PM on August 22, 2006


Fascinating. The language of atonement from former Bush supporters on this thread alone convinces me that the tide has truly turned, at long last, on this indecent man and his evil, corrupt administration.

I don't give a damn about Bush the man. I never wanted to have a fucking beer with him, and unlike his syncophants in the press, I never condescended to the public that would supposedly believe they could have a collective beer with the president. I think he is stupid. I always thought he was stupid. Incurious? Arrogant? Ignorant? Anti-intellectual? Yes. But at root, also stupid. Sometimes stupid becomes evil as stupid deeds accumulate to become a record that leaves carnage -- Guantanamo, Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, flag-draped coffins, blood-soaked Afghan weddings, beheaded kidnap victims, and all the rest. The man responsible for cheerleading this disaster into being, for standing up in front of a shadowy neocon cabal and acting like a tough guy you'd like to have a beer with, yeah I can call him a monster, evil, whatever. Mostly I wish he would shut up, resign, and go home to Texas, drink himself into a stupor, and die quietly.

But sympathy? No way. I want him impeached when the dems retake congress, as this thread convinces me they shall, unless Cheney and his boys have another little terror attack in the planning stages for, oh, let's say, the middle of October. I don't think a cameo appearance by Osama will do it this time.

America. F*ck Yeah. We're coming to save the motherf*cking day, yeah!

Worst. President. Ever. And he'll be hard to top.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:07 PM on August 22, 2006


I wouldn't vote Republican if my life depended on it.

Seriously. Fuck them. I wouldn't vote for a Republican dogcatcher at this point. The two-bit Democratic corruption looks like a Norman Rockwell in retrospect.

I think an important point should at least be noted: when Bush is gone, when Cheney is gone, the sociopolitical currents in our society that put them in power will not be gone, and they are not party-specific. The damage that has been done to our economy and our rights is not going to go away; no one in the Democratic party has the will to repeal USAPATRIOT or REALID, for example.
posted by sonofsamiam at 4:14 PM on August 22, 2006



posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 5:02 PM on August 22, 2006


stenseng: "I won't be happy until they frog march that traiterous motherfucker out of the white house in leg irons, and I wouldn't shed too many tears if they lined he and his cabinet up and shot them all for treason."

And let me just clarify that I'm describing a trial in the legal system with due process. None of this secret military tribunal crap.


Screw that. Why should he get to have due process when he's so gung-ho about denying it to others? Lock him up in Gitmo for a few years with no lawyer, Uncle Cheney or brush-clearing and see how he fares.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:07 PM on August 22, 2006


I wouldn't vote for a Republican dogcatcher at this point.

It's funny, just last night I received a telephone "survey" call from a Republican Party volunteer. Basically, he described the world in republician terms ( WAR ON TERROR ... OVERTAXATION .... IMMIGRATION....) and then asked, "Which of these would you describe as a deciding factor in how you intend to vote?"

When I replied; "The deciding factor in how I intend to vote would be my belief that the Bush Administration is completely corrupt...."

(Audible sigh...) 'Oh, ( long silence ) OK...

We then ran through the upcoming races (senate, house, county & local). After not getting one republican response, he joked... "Well.... what about dogcatcher? Heh Heh... "

(This time long silence on my part... )

"Well ok sir, thank you for your time..."
posted by R. Mutt at 5:30 PM on August 22, 2006


[insert clever name here] writes "I'm not trying to pretend I'm smarter than those that did, I've just been trying to figure out how this fits into my world view. How so many had been duped? I, and many close friends saw through the bold faced lies, why didn't the majority of the country?... How could we be fed the same information and come back with different conclusions?"

Well, here's a true story, told by a friend of mine. My friend is actually pretty conservative, but also anti-Imperialism and was against the war from the very beginning -- think Pat Buchanan, including the sentiment on immigration. But the story isn't about him. It's about his barber. He told me the story when I asked the same question you did (except my question was more "why didn't I believe the so-called 'wacky left' that warned us of Bush?").

Anyway, months before the 2000 election, my friend is having his hair cut by his usual barber, a fundamentalist evangelical (but a progressive in some ways; she's white, her granddaughter is multi-racial, etc. -- so conservative but not good old boy).

And the barber tells my friend how the 2000 election is the most important ever, that George Bush is a Good Christian, the first Good Christian politician in a long time, a man we can trust because the man trusts in God and has a personal relationship with God. My friend isn't real clear on where she got this information, whether through her church or her social contacts.

But every time my friend got his hair cut in the months leading up to the 2000 election, his barber is more and more ecstatic about Bush, more and more convinced that the 2000 election is the most important in the country's history. She's convinced that Bush isn't just a politician, he's some sort of anointed leader, and that she is living in a special time to have the privilege of voting for this man of God. Utterly convinced of this.

So I think part of the answer is, we all aren't getting the same information, and we all aren't getting it from the same sources.

As my friend explained it, his barber knew something way back before the 2000 election, that the rest of us (that is, us mainstream liberals, and him, a Buchanan conservative, but all of us consumers of mainstream media) just didn't know.
posted by orthogonality at 5:53 PM on August 22, 2006


Highly amusing over at Pandagon right now:

http://pandagon.net/2006/08/21/this-is-not-a-joke/

Many have suggested buying Bush a pair of these. Maybe it'd help with his fears?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:03 PM on August 22, 2006


Perhaps Bush is being poisoned. His death would lead to interesting opportunities for the bastards behind the scenes to really manipulate the situation to their advantage. Imagine they could pass it off as a terrorist action! You'd be living in a full-on police state in a heartbeat.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:44 PM on August 22, 2006


“She's convinced that Bush isn't just a politician, he's some sort of anointed leader, and that she is living in a special time to have the privilege of voting for this man of God.”

That’s it. We have to kill him. There is no question in my mind about it any longer. We have to form plans and assassinate God. I’m tired of being governed by someone I not only didn’t elect, but that wasn’t even on the ballot. I’m tired of parodies like the pastafarians. But mostly I’m tired of him killing kittens every time I masturbate. I think the dystheists are right, the problem is how do we build a gun big enough to kill God?
/also - who takes over afterwards? Is there a vice-God?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:57 PM on August 22, 2006


Bush is just a symptom. Your neighbors are the disease.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:57 PM on August 22, 2006 [4 favorites]


I have long thought the reason for the strong support for the invasion of Iraq was due to (mis)information. I don't watch TV or read the mainstream press. I read and listen to commentaries on the mainstream. There was simply no doubt in me that this war would be a hugh disaster and that it was being dishonestly promoted for unspoken reasons. I did have doubts around the time of "Mission Accomplished". It did not take great intelligence on my part to see thru the smoke and mirrors, in effect I was standing off to the side of the stage next to the guy who was saying, "Watch his hand now, the other one, see how he makes it seem that way?"

My point is this: Please make sure you are not fooled again. Change your habits of where you gather your information. The mainstream press has shown very clearly whom they serve and it is not the truth.
posted by pointilist at 7:16 PM on August 22, 2006


"Bush is just a symptom. Your neighbors are the disease.

Civil_Disobedient wins.
posted by jaronson at 8:21 PM on August 22, 2006



Scenes we'd like to see

posted by madamjujujive at 8:49 PM on August 22, 2006 [3 favorites]


Is there a vice-God?

Larry Flynt. Yes, he'll fix everything.
posted by Jenga at 8:51 PM on August 22, 2006


Add my voice to the "sympathy?!" choir.

A lot of people have tough jobs that take their toll and yet manage to not have anyone killed or tortured in the process. Show me Bush a year after internment at Gitmo and we'll talk.
posted by dreamsign at 9:36 PM on August 22, 2006


My point is this: Please make sure you are not fooled again.

many of the american people WANT to be fooled ... they WANT to be lied to and manipulated ... they WANT an ill defined enemy that will destroy our way of life unless we take military action ... because it is better for them to believe that they are going to keep living the way they are and transfer the uneasy feeling that they aren't going to be able to do that onto a nebulous bogeyman like "the terrorists"

and you can't exactly blame bush for that because he believes the lies he tells us ... the best faker of reality being a sincere one

reflecting on that video clip at work today, i realized that what we're seeing is the confusion of a man who's convinced that he has done all the right things and can't understand why everything has been screwing up on him ... he's surrounded by people who assure him that he's doing it right ... and yet it's all falling apart on him anyway

a comparision to hitler occurs to me ... and please don't invoke godwin, as bush is not like hitler ... hitler met the end of his deluded dreams with more delusion, rage, melagomania and insistence that it would all work out ... bush just stammers and stutters and wonders how it could have come to this ... it's gotterdammerung vs greek tragedy with sad sack playing the role of the hubristic hero ...

worse yet, no one's going to end it for him by impeachment and convictment ... i'm afraid he may "stay the course" until his body or his mind goes out on him

he's not a dead duck ... he's pate de fois gras on a stale ritz cracker
posted by pyramid termite at 10:19 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think an important point should at least be noted: when Bush is gone, when Cheney is gone, the sociopolitical currents in our society that put them in power will not be gone, and they are not party-specific.

The 'sociopolitical currents' didn't put dishonesty and theft in power. That's one thing this thread makes clear.

Whether enough people have wised up to the fact that corruption is the real enemy here, and that it's rapidly becoming systematic, is a question that still remains open.
posted by spiderwire at 10:19 PM on August 22, 2006


Sorry, I meant 'systemic,' not 'systematic,' but it's arguably that as well.
posted by spiderwire at 10:21 PM on August 22, 2006


Color me amazed that anyone would even consider sympathy for Bush.

Regarding Iraq, my pet theory is that he was drawn into it by the neo-cons surrounding him, but it was an easy sell because it played perfectly against the man's deep seated self-loathing for his behavior in the Texas Air National Guard. In his mind, Iraq gave Bush a chance to become The War President, thereby erasing his status as a deserter.
posted by oncogenesis at 12:15 AM on August 23, 2006


What a Moronic Presidential Press Conference! It's clear Bush doesn't understand Iraq, or Lebanon, or Gaza, or …
posted by homunculus at 1:18 AM on August 23, 2006


Sympathy isn't usually something I "consider" -- I feel it or I don't. Being able to turn emotional responses on or off after consideration on whether to experience them would be a neat trick, though.
posted by pax digita at 3:14 AM on August 23, 2006


Its threads like these....I ponder where PP is.

Such a loyal defender, yet no where to be seen.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:08 AM on August 23, 2006


You mean he hasn't enlisted yet?
posted by Optamystic at 7:02 AM on August 23, 2006


I basically trusted the government not to abuse its powers

If we're looking for the difference between the people who were "suckered" and the people who weren't, this is it right here.
posted by ook at 8:22 AM on August 23, 2006


Indeed. The Framers of the US Constitution certainly didn't share this trust -- that's why Bush and his personal secretary, Attorney General Gonzales, are working so hard to undo that quaint document.
posted by digaman at 8:50 AM on August 23, 2006


I ponder where PP is.

He's been banned. But I'm thinking someone should post this to metatalk as an example of how good - and yes, even illuminating - a Bush thread can be when the usual suspects (on both sides) stay away.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:14 AM on August 23, 2006



posted by ericb at 10:30 AM on August 23, 2006


Your President, the Visionary Genius
"Courtesy of the AP, here's a glimpse of Bush's notes at his press conference yesterday..."
posted by ericb at 10:31 AM on August 23, 2006


Associated Press: Bush's Four-Letter Expletives, Shoulder Massages Could “Raise Eyebrows” In Many Office Settings.
posted by ericb at 10:36 AM on August 23, 2006


“My point is this: Please make sure you are not fooled again.”
I think it’s telling that it’s a cliché now - that nearly everyone who runs for political office has that riff from The Who tune in it. Many people don’t have the time to focus their attention on what the administration is doing all the time. In theory that’s the job of the press as well as the other branches of government as well as watchdog groups like, say, the ACLU (et. al). When it came to Iraq - and sundry other decisions like Gitmo - there was no real resistance because the traditional venue of facts had been subverted. So even congress was getting the message the administration wanted them to get. You hear some indie or opposition media (in this case lefty - but it could easily have been the righty talking heads who I pay little attention to as well) spouting off about it and you have no common ground for analysis.
For example, I myself suspect there was some government collusion in 9/11. I’d go so far as to say given opportunity and basic motives (the benefits were/are glaringly obvious) it was planned internally. All the evidence I’ve seen has lead me to that conclusion. But I’m ‘smedleyman.’ Some folks might listen to me and like the cut of my jibe and concur with my reasoning. Some people might think I’m a paranoid goofball and my conclusions are specious. I’m not Rudy Guiliani or someone in a position to have access to primary evidence. And so however right I might ultimately be is irrelevant. I have no justifiable grounds on which to act on my belief. It’s just a belief based on what I could gather without becoming obsessive or an authority on topics from intelligence, terrorism, aeronautics, civil engineering, demolition, metallurgy, etc. etc. But plenty of people who are authorities in those matters support the government position on it, so I have to give them the benefit of the doubt no matter how fishy I think it is and not do something about it. That or I admit utter powerlessness over my own destiny and accept being a peasant.
I think it was a firefighter who said something along those lines, that he didn’t want to think about it because if he truly believed the government had something to do with it, than he’d have to do something about it.
Which is the crux of the situation. We have governments so we can get about the work of our daily lives. When is the last time anyone in this country faced an immediate large scale threat to national security such that they had to arm themselves?
What’s going on now is the administration (and various news outlets) are fostering the illusion of that large scale imminent threat (without actually stating it outright of course) despite the fact the existence of the country hasn’t really been threatened to that point since the Brits took Detroit.
The traditional understanding was that despite political differences ultimately we are (or were) all Americans. Certainly we’d tar and feather or otherwise dirty trick our enemies (the bastards among us). Tammany for example and the Chicago machine would sink to nearly any level to win. But applying the christian/non-christian or believer/heretic style dichotomy to politics and using it to separate Americans politically - that is unprecedented on a large scale here. And the problem might just be that we are too secure in our dominance to consider any threat from the *outside* a real threat. So, much like in 1984, any distortion of reality within our own borders is fair game. Only the most sensitive among us and/or those with the most time, typically college students in both cases, would act on these things and get the ball rolling. That hadn’t happened in large numbers with Iraq (or rather, not reported in large numbers, and certainly not as galvanizing in effect as the Vietnam protests). So a good deal of new ground was broken by this administration and people are typically slow to react to new stimuli that isn’t immediately life threatening. But react they will. And one must admit it was fairly neatly done (in part because they succeeded to this point), much as one might admit the efficiency or novelty of (dodging Godwin) Basil the Bulgar slayer blinding 99 prisoners and poking one eye out of the 100th man and sending them back home to burden his enemies.
But Hitler was correct - tell a big enough lie and people will believe it out of a disbelief that it could be done on such scale. Lincoln was also correct tho’, you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:53 AM on August 23, 2006 [3 favorites]


Smedleyman writes "I think it was a firefighter who said something along those lines, that he didn’t want to think about it because if he truly believed the government had something to do with it, than he’d have to do something about it."


Smedleyman's posts: always physically difficult to read because he doesn't believe in blank lines after each paragraph. always tremendously rewarding to read. It's difficult to nominate a single "best commenter", but Smedleyman's clearly among the top ten.
posted by orthogonality at 11:58 AM on August 23, 2006


Animal House in the West Wing
"He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that."
posted by ericb at 12:54 PM on August 23, 2006


Or what digaman said.
posted by ericb at 12:55 PM on August 23, 2006


Smedleyman, if you've never read Blameless in Abaddon you really need to.

And I second your nomination for Top Ten commenters, but the enter button is your friend.

As for sympathy, as I said above, I'm in the "thousand suns" club (mainly because I didn't catch the first use of the phrase on preview) but watching the video was like seeing Denzel Washington at the end of Training Day, or Hayden Christiansen at the end of Shattered Glass, or Richard III at the end of Richard III - the tragic villain, made all the more tragic because their path to hell was so much more damaging to everyone else than it was to themselves.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:49 PM on August 23, 2006


here's a glimpse of Bush's notes at his press conference yesterday

I hate Bush as much as anyone, and I yucked it up when he sent Condoleeza Rice a note asking for a bathroom break, but making fun of him for writing down some notes before a press conference is silly. Do they really expect him to memorize small details? Are we really supposed to be shocked that he calls on specific people to ask canned questions?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:54 PM on August 23, 2006


I can't say my own handwriting is any better.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:55 PM on August 23, 2006


I often think how prescient Mark Morford was with his April 2002 column Frat Boys Rule The Earth: It's an angry, violent, warmongering world out there right now. You just live in it. And frat boys it is, right down to the sophomoric humor. The article stuck with me because I agreed with it then, but was largely dismissed with a high degree of scorn when discussed here on mefi.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:28 PM on August 23, 2006


Thousands and thousands of 'pages are calling Bush a sociopath these days, and Mark Crispin Miller asserts it baldly at every opportunity, but no clinical evidence for this conclusion is in the offing, of course. Dr. Justin Frank seems to avoid saying 'sociopath' in Bush on the Couch, however, though his book is usually cited by those who do.

But perhaps the pretzel incident can be untwisted to shed some light on the matter. In 1995, John Gottman et al, wrote a seminal paper identifying two classes of domestic abusers, the garden variety who got all worked up and had high heart rates and blood pressure in the event, and a rarer and scarier variety whose heart rate and blood pressure actually went down, and who have been characterized as sociopathic or having a character disorder.

The administration's account is that Bush was eating pretzels watching football, got thirsty, got up to get a drink, choked, fainted, fell and hit his head. An alternate scenario is that he was eating pretzels watching football, got excited and suffered a fall in blood pressure, got up to get a drink and fainted because of low blood pressure. Low blood pressure in moments of high stress might be invoked to explain his amazing career of Malapropisms, as well, of which my favorite is "I know how hard it is to put food on your family."
posted by jamjam at 12:43 AM on August 24, 2006


And don't forget, 'Cubic Nature is Omnific, Infinite, Ineffable and on Harmonic duty today.'
posted by five fresh fish at 8:22 AM on August 24, 2006


/orthogonality (et.al) - doesn't believe in blank lines after each paragraph /= can’t dig head out of ass enough to figure out blank lines after each paragraph on this here machine. Sorry for that. Also - my humble thanks for the kind words.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:02 PM on August 25, 2006


"I'm thinking someone should post this to metatalk as an example of how good - and yes, even illuminating - a Bush thread can be when the usual suspects (on both sides) stay away."

*blink*

I'm still looking for something good or illuminating to come out of this thread.

*shines a flashlight*

...yeah I don't see it. How could Bush have gotten voted in twice? How did Clinton get voted in twice the time before? It's like the American electorate hasn't really had any affect on things in decades. It's just a dog and pony show and then we debate about it.

*blink*

Nothing significant has been said about any of this in years, and if something ever had been, it'd get swept under the rug. Nothing's really changed. We argue about it but nothing happens. We pretend that voting democrat is a solution to voting republican, or voting conservative is a solution to voting liberal, or vice versa. We pretend that these things matter, when we know they do not.

Politicians continue to make promises and people continue to catch them not keeping to their promises. The rich continue to get richer. The poor continue to get poorer. There continues to be less of a middle class. Babies continue getting kissed. The deficit continues getting bigger and I still can't figure out to whom we owe all this money. Sunday morning politics programs continue finding something to complain about. Wars continue being waged and people still act as if there are victors in bloodshed.

No one wins. You end up with dead people, and survivors who have to rationalize to themselves for the rest of their lives that they are not in fact murderers, ordered to kill by other murderers, presumably for a higher cause. So you have dead people and crazy people at the end of any war. Who wins?

The dead horse has been pulverized and doesn't even look like a horse anymore... and it's starting to really smell.

*hangs a pine tree air freshener on the nose of the dead horse*

There. That's better.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:23 PM on August 25, 2006


How could Bush have gotten voted in twice? How did Clinton get voted in twice the time before? It's like the American electorate hasn't really had any affect on things in decades.

Dunno about Clinton, but I've no doubts whatsoever that the previous election was fraudulent. The endless bad news about Diebold machines indicates to me that these machines were deliberately designed for fraud, and I have absolutely no reason to believe they were not used for their intended purpose.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:02 PM on August 25, 2006


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