Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We didn’t necessarily agree with his decision

Hillary’s new ad says the Republicans are attacking her “because they know that there’s one candidate with the strength and experience to get us out of Iraq.” Er, exactly what experience does she have that would get us out of Iraq?

Speaking of experience, former sweaty White House press secretary Scott McClellan has a memoir coming out next year called “What Happened.” Which is odd, since there was never a day as press sec that he looked like he had any idea what was happening. Maybe his publisher decided to leave off the question mark.

Bush was gently interviewed by Charles Gibson of ABC. Bush talked about General Musharraf, and how wonderful and democratic and honest and just plain dreamy he is: “he’s been a loyal ally in fighting terrorists. ... so far I’ve found him to be a man of his word.”

Asked if there is a line Mush could cross that would lose him this fulsome support, Bush said, “Well, he hasn’t crossed the line. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that, uh, he will cross any lines.” You’ll notice he didn’t say where the line(s) are. Bush went on, “And he made a decision, we didn’t necessarily agree with his decision, to impose emergency rule, and I, my, hopefully he’ll get, get rid of the rule.” He’s backing away even from his weak protests of last week. He’s not demanding Musharraf lift military rule, but expresses hope that he might. Indeed, Bush doesn’t disagree with, much less denounce, the imposition of martial law, he just “didn’t necessarily agree” with it.

And he just can’t stop praising the military ruler as a Jeffersonian democrat: “I think he truly is somebody who believes in democracy.” In the way Buffy the Vampire Slayer believes in vampires. Great democrat, or the greatest democrat?: “he has done more for democracy in Pakistan than, than any modern leader has, and one of the reasons you’re seeing the blowback that you’re getting in Pakistan is because of the reforms that, that President Musharraf has put in place.” See, the massive unpopularity of and opposition to his rule is actually a sign of what a great democrat he is.

“Today I thought was a pretty good signal that he released thousands of people from jail.” You know what would have been a better signal? Not putting thousands of people in jail in the first place.

(Biden responded to the interview, “If the president sees Musharraf as a democrat, he must be wearing the same glasses he had on when he looked in Vladimir Putin’s soul.” I wonder if optometrists have an eye chart for soul-reading? “Just read the highest line you can.” “Uh, good soul, good soul, Islamofascist, good soul, that one is just black so it must be Cheney, good soul...”)

Gibson asked Bush whether presidential politics is now preventing him accomplishing anything for the remainder of his term. Bush thought “we may get some health-care reform done. But you’re right, it’s, uh, you know, and we’re not gonna raise taxes.”

Speaking of things Bush might accomplish with the remainder of his term, he claims he didn’t actually threaten to start World War III if Iran develops nuclear weapons: “I said, if you want to avoid World War III. And the reason I said that is because I take the words of their leader very seriously when, for example, he says he wants to destroy Israel. And you know, an attack on Israel, as far as I’m concerned, would draw the United States into a very serious conflagration in the Middle East. At least it would under my presidency.”

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