Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I would hope he would define my government as pro-freedom

When you (Americans, anyway) change the time on your computers, VCRs and what have you this weekend, remember to turn off any automatic Daylight Savings settings, or they’ll “spring forward” 3 weeks later.

Bush, in advance of his trip to Latin America, had a group interview yesterday with reporters from the region. He explained his purpose: “My trip is an opportunity to remind the folks in our neighborhood that the United States has a robust policy toward empowering individuals to realize their full potential.” Indeed, in his speech to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce the day before, “I outlined a vision of a nation that cares about the human condition.” Because so many of us actually are humans.

He repeated that tripe later: “My trip is to remind the people of Central and South America that we live in the same neighborhood and that the United States is committed to empowering individuals to realize their God-given potential.” Oh, I think they’re all too aware that they live in the same “neighborhood.”

“It is a reminder that the United States’ approach to the region is not a political approach, but it is a human approach.” Politics, as we all know, being inhuman. “It is one that emphasizes that human potential exists, and that the best programs are those that elevate the potential.”

HE HAS AN MBA FROM HARVARD, YOU KNOW: “The best way to alleviate poverty is for there to be prosperity.”

REALLY, AN MBA: “And a direct foreign investment -- that means somebody believing that the investment climate is worthy of investment...”

GEORGE? HARVARD’S ON THE PHONE. THEY WANT THEIR MBA BACK: “When I grew up in Texas, the border, la frontera, was like a third world on both sides of the border. And then in the early ‘90s, NAFTA was passed. But there wasn’t instant successes. It took a while for people to realize how the inevitable adjustments that will come when people start accessing market.”

IMPERIALISTS? NO IMPERIALISTS HERE. An Uruguayan reporter brought up President Vázquez’s comment about relations with the US that his is a “popular, democratic, anti-oligarchic and anti-imperialist government.” Bush, to whom this was news, responded: “As anti-imperialist? Fine, that’s -- I would hope he would define my government as pro-freedom.” “As to characterizations of the United States, I will remind him that we are a generous, compassionate nation that believes in peace.”

DO NOT FEAR THE AMERICAN MILITARY. THEY’RE VERY QUIET. “Our military -- people think of the United States military as war fighters, and they are when the Commander-in-Chief puts them in such a situation. But our military is building health clinics throughout Central America, for example, in a very quiet way.” Very quiet building? Could have used them when my next-door neighbors were building that new deck.

On the future of Cuba: “Vamos a ver, cuando -- how long he [Castro] stays on earth, that’s a decision that will be made by the Almighty.” Funny, three or four American presidents thought it was their decision. “We believe it ought to be up to the people, the long-suffering people of that island to decide their fate, not the fate -- not to be decided because somebody is somebody’s brother; the fate ought to be decided because that’s what the people want.” Yeah it would be terrible if “the fate” was decided because somebody was somebody’s brother, the governor of Florida, f’r instance.

No pictures of that interview, so below is one from his meeting with Bob Dole and Donna Shalala, who he’s appointed to investigate veterans’ and soldiers’ health care. Dole, who is 83 and doesn’t like a day over oh-dear-lord-shouldn’t-they-have-buried-him-by-now?,

will ensure that every wounded soldier will get Viagra and a pen. Shalala’s qualifications, according to Bush: “She lived after eight years in President Clinton’s administration, she knows what to look for, she knows the questions to ask.”

CAPTION CONTEST: what is Bush indicating with this gesture during his meeting with Dole and Shalala. For extra points, what is it that 8 years in the Clinton administration has taught Shalala to look for and to ask?

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