Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I’m trying to set an example

Patt Morrison on why Bush should run for president of Iraq:
• Bush could wear his "mission accomplished" flight suit all the time.
• Iraq is running out of its own politicians.
• Unmarried daughters have to live at home and stay out of trouble.
• No term limits.
• Iraqis love faith-based initiatives.

Shrub finally talks publicly about the earthquake (I guess he got all that brush cleared--first things first), but his statement seemed fuzzy even for him. Bush being Bush, his notions of how to respond were very top-down, both domestically and internationally. Domestically, there is no call for Americans to help, although I gotta think American generosity would provide a little more than the $35 million Bush has promised. In the q&a, he does say, “the American people will be very generous... there’s... a lot of individual giving in America.” Not exactly a rousing rallying cry, and he doesn’t say that he’s setting an example, not in the generosity department anyway:
Q Any plans for New Year’s Eve?

THE PRESIDENT: Early to bed.

Q New Year’s resolutions?

THE PRESIDENT: I’ll let you know. Already gave you a hint on one, which is my waistline. I’m trying to set an example.
As I said, first things first.

Internationally too, it’s all about government action: “This morning, I spoke with the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia... I praised their steadfast leadership during these difficult times” (the White House website even has a carefully posed picture of him speaking on the phone to the Sri Lankan president); “The United States will continue to stand with the affected governments as they care for the victims.” If he has also called the International Red Cross or any other relief organization to ask what they need, offer to stand with them and praise their steadfast leadership, he doesn’t mention the fact. I’m especially worried about this because so much of the devastation was in the Indonesian province of Acheh, where the government has been fighting separatists ruthlessly, and I don’t trust it not to take advantage of this situation. Ditto Sri Lanka.

In the q&a, a reporter asked about the Sunnis pulling out of the Iraqi elections, and while Bush correctly pointed out that it was actually just a Sunni party (albeit the largest one), he then said that he’d talked to Prez Yawer, “who happens to be a Sunni,” and he’d rather take the word of, well, the only Sunni he can actually get on the phone (and that’s only because Bush appointed Yawer to his current position).

Bush also quoted Osama bin Laden’s statement, even though the tape hasn’t been authenticated yet. Also, you can tell that the American elections are over, because Bush actually said out loud the name of He Who Must Not Be Spoken Of.

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