Bono meets at White House

June 2, 2001 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Bono meets at White House
"We have an ongoing discussion here with people in the White House about the AIDS issue and Africa. It's very, very important to this president and the administration." Huh?
posted by Gilbert (18 comments total)
Could be titled "Bono meets with Clinton and the Pope, but is blown off by Bush."
posted by mrbula at 6:40 PM on June 2, 2001

Doesn't Bush usually spends weekends at his ranch or Camp David? (And why is the pointless Bush-bashing necessary?)
posted by gyc at 6:50 PM on June 2, 2001

How is this "Bush bashing"? Why is it off limits to criticize the President's actions, or lack thereof, when it comes to issues of policy or governance? No one's attacking his family, or history of drug use, or even his intelligence (or lack thereof).

More on-topic: If he wasn't there because he "usually spends weekends at his ranch," that brings up an important point. I don't understand why this 35-hour-per-week President doesn't catch more heat for his banker's hours. "It's his style" just doesn't cut it for me.
posted by jpoulos at 7:10 PM on June 2, 2001

It's Bush bashing because the start of the thread disagrees with the statement with a "huh?" without going into further details on why the author disagrees with Bono's statement. Furthermore, the first comment on the thread makes it clear that he was without reason bashing him. I don't see any constructive criticism of the President's Actions or his policy, simply a cynical "huh?"

And just because he spends weekends away from the White House doesn't mean he isn't hard at work.
posted by gyc at 8:36 PM on June 2, 2001

In an absolute rarity, I can agree that this does seem a little bit of Bush bashing by the poster. The article gives no direct evidence of any malfeasance or incompetence. Granted, one might infer that because Bono met with a Bush staffer as opposed to Bush (the way Bono had previously met with Clinton or the Pope directly), this is a semi-shun, but that's a stretch. I mean, I agree with the debt-relief cause but it's damn presumptious to suppose that any President is going to make time with Bono just because Bono happens to have time off from U2's touring schedule!

That said, let me return to typical hincandenza form and concur with the ancillary question as to why the President doesn't get more criticism for his shortened work week. :)
posted by hincandenza at 10:02 PM on June 2, 2001

Perhaps "huh" refers to the fact that the only things "very important" to the administration are issues that increase corporate profits. The administration has no real compassion or interest in AIDS or Africa. You never know, maybe they'll get interested if a business buddy says there's profit to be made.
posted by neuroshred at 10:16 PM on June 2, 2001

While I agree with neuroshed in general, in regards to the particular post/ linked article, the point still remains that it's Bono making the quoted statement. I think it's wishful thinking on his part, but it's a quoted statement of Bono's nonetheless.

God, it's weird to be defending Bush... I feel all icky... so... so... dirty...!
posted by hincandenza at 12:19 AM on June 3, 2001

Frankly, if we stop for a minute and think, do we really want the leader of this nation taking time out of his day to sit down with over the hill rock singers to discuss stuff? I hope that he has a hell of a lot more important things to do with his time than meet with Bono to talk about anything! He's Bono. He sings in a band. He's the leader of a rock group, that's all. It doesn't make him important and it shouldn't grant him extraordinary entre to the halls of power by any stretch of the imagination.
posted by Dreama at 12:48 AM on June 3, 2001

He's the leader of a rock group, that's all. It doesn't make him important and it shouldn't grant him extraordinary entre to the halls of power by any stretch of the imagination.

Maybe it shouldn't. But in our world, his fame and money makes him powerful. And he knows it, and makes use of it, and abuses his own fame to do these things - at the cost of his own 'image'.

He knows he'll get flak for his involvement (in anything), and he doesn't care. He goes in and talks to these people, using anything from his Irish charm, rockstar charisma to just plain intelligent reasoning and in depth biblical knowledge to reduce people like Jesse Helms to tears. To talk to administrations like apparently no other can. He gets things done. The man is relentless, he never stops working. Whether it is improving the tour, or speaking up for Jubilee 2000.

And he's smart enough to sugar up Mr Bush. He knows damn well this subject *isn't* important to this president and the administration. But he says they are... so they might start to believe it themselves.

Oops... I'm doing it again. Your resident U2 apologist.
posted by prolific at 1:32 AM on June 3, 2001

He's Bono. He sings in a band. He's the leader of a rock group, that's all. It doesn't make him important...

Dreama: since Bono is one quarter of Ireland's second biggest export after Guinness, why not regard it as precisely the kind of corporate lobbying that has become so de rigeur at the White House? That might make you feel a little better. (It could go the other way, so we'd be seeing the MBNA/Enron World Tour and Live Album.)
posted by holgate at 4:19 AM on June 3, 2001

Bono is an idiot. The whole Jubilee thing is a despicable attempt to induce responsible nations to take pity on nations that willingly took on debt to improve their lot and then, through mismanagement, criminal activity, civil unrest, and just plain old bad politics, squandered it. Bono's cause-celebre is a non-starter. And re: Bush's hours - lay off. As referenced in earlier threads about AG Ashcroft, these people have virtually no "private life." At levels of power like this, they are "on" round-the-clock. Simply being at a desk in the Oval Office does not constitute "work," so don't make the mistake of thinking that when he's not sitting at said desk he is not working. And Bush does care, to a degree, about AIDS and Africa, but his primary duty is to America and it's many, many interests and causes, of which AIDS is a relatively small portion.
posted by davidmsc at 5:08 AM on June 3, 2001

The whole Jubilee thing is a despicable attempt to induce responsible nations to take pity on nations that willingly took on debt to improve their lot and then, through mismanagement, criminal activity, civil unrest, and just plain old bad politics, squandered it.

Oh, fuck off. If you're a rich nation, just as if you're a rich person, you get credit thrown at you on easy terms; capitalism is essentially sustained by debt, which is why Jeff Bezos is a billionaire. If you're a poor nation, you go to the equivalent of the international loan shark, and get throttled by the interest payments. And normally, foreign credit is given with enough strings attached to ensure that it benefits the donor, through a tied imports and the opening of national resources to foreign investment.

Is the US any more "responsible" than, say, Bangladesh, when it runs a trillion-dollar balance of payments deficit, maintains a massive national debt, or supports a deregulated system of personal finance that means the population spends more than it earns? No, it just has a good credit rating through a mixture of historical good fortune (fr'instance, not being subject to civilian bombardment over the past century) and the collusion of the international financial community.

I assume you'd have campaigned against the Marshall Plan, or Southern Reconstruction?
posted by holgate at 5:28 AM on June 3, 2001

I think Dreama's reaction is the closest to what I was thinking with my overly-vague "huh?" Why in the world would the White House care what Bono thinks? Why would the pope? Who's the "we" that Bono says have an ongoing relationship with the White House? Him and the Edge? Has Bono decided to carry water for the Republican party? The whole thing smacks of a publicity stunt. The White House has nothing to lose by sending a staffer to talk to a rock singer. What's Bono's angle?
posted by Gilbert at 8:56 AM on June 3, 2001

Bono's angle? He's been doing this for two years now. (I think he got into it through Perry Farrell). He went to the G8 summit in 1999, attended the IMF meeting in Prague in 2000, and basically spent so much time on Jubilee, flying to and fro that the recording of U2's latest album got delayed again and again. Rather elaborate publicity stunt, if you ask me.

He does this because someone has to - and at this point in time, he apparently is the only one around who has the stamina, the brains and bloody mindedness. As for his reasons... well, I would call it a mixture of Catholic & Protestant guilt (he was raised in a 'mixed' Irish family), but I'm sure he'd care to disagree.

Search for tons of articles on this.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke's involved in Jubilee as well, but he hasn't got the stomach to deal with politicians - so he focuses on informing his fans, through the Radiohead website.
posted by prolific at 10:13 AM on June 3, 2001

Even though I'm not a bush supporter, I think its pretty standard to meet a staffer when you have a concern about
a particular issue.

It's proably most effective way to get something done vrs. photo op.
posted by brucec at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2001

Here is the Drop the Debt site if anyone wants to learn more about it. As for Bono, this is a cause that he believes in and whether or not it is the right thing for him to be concentrating on, I applaud him simply for trying to do some good.
posted by bargle at 3:04 PM on June 3, 2001

You need to be educated about just how these IMF and World Bank type loans work. Typically, the dispersing of loan money is controlled by the heads of these poorer nations, ostensibly to fund the privatization of publicly owned industries (telco, power, etc.) and to improve the infrastructure of the nation. However, it's not exactly unheard of for much of that money to disappear into the million-dollar condos and swiss-bank accounts of those same authority figures (not unlike the S&L scandal- which, if you'll recall, was ultimately paid for by taxpayers bailing out folks like Neil Bush). Then, the IMF/ World Bank will come storming in and insist they take a new loan be accepted solely to pay back the original, but of course the country hasn't invested that original or new money in infrastructure requirements so the nation now has to pay back the loan in addition to still supporting its own citizens without any improvement in manufacturing, etc. This unsurprisingly can lead to a lowering of standards of living for the vast majority of that country's citizens, who never received the benefit of the original loan to begin with.

On the flip side, of course, when loans or investments really bomb (a la Asian crisis a few years ago or the LTCM fiasco) those bankers demand they be bailed out by someone else. It's classic modern capitalism: if you hold the reins of capital, when a good decision is made you reap all the rewards, but when a bad decision or loan is made, you scream and holler like little children that you need a bail out from taxpayers or nations or anyone else- in short, privatize profit, socialize risk.
posted by hincandenza at 4:49 PM on June 3, 2001

I see no wrong in Bush bashing in the same way that those on the Right spent 8 years in bashing Clinton and the Dems. At least under Clinton, there was a surplus. Where is it now?
posted by Postroad at 6:53 AM on July 10, 2001

« Older Tapez 3615 Pour Fair Votre Resérvation sur Minitél...   |   Woohoo! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments