Tuesday, May 22, 2007

20 months is a long time during this presidency

More stupid Hollywood remake ideas, just green-lit: Barbarella, The Long Good Friday.

I’ve been reading Paula Poundstone’s book There’s Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say (Quickie review: if you like her stand-up, you’ll like the book; if you don’t, there’s no accounting for tastes). She suggests that Kansas, which had just put “intelligent design” into science classes, should actually abolish the study of science and instead tie up each student in a burlap sack and throw them into a pool. The students God thinks are really good science students will float and get an A... Intelligent flotationism, she calls it.

Bush gave a not hugely interesting interview to Reuters aboard Air Force One today.

On Iraq, Bush reached out in that very special way of his: “There is a way forward, there’s a compromise to be had. My hope is that the Democrat leader sees it.” Yes, clearly the problem with everybody who is not George Bush is that they are stubborn and unwilling to compromise.

On immigration, he twice said the issue was “emotional,” which I believe is a word he reserves for Republicans who disagree with him. He also said he’d “ask people to actually look at it before they opine; study the bill.” How many of those thousand pages have you read, George?

Interviewer Steve Holland asked about some, presumably Democratic, presidential candidates who are “trying to convince people that there really isn’t a war on terrorism”. Bush: “If that person -- if the people who say we’re not having any war on terror ever gets elected, they’ll sit in the office, the Oval Office, and realize we are in a war on terror. They’ll realize there are people that are out plotting and planning. They’ll see the complexities of taking on this enemy. I think that we’re in for a long ideological struggle.”

On Putin, “I’m still close to him, personally. ... He thinks that they’ve got a democracy emerging there in Russia. Obviously, there’s a lot of suspicion about that, and I look forward to continuing to talk to him as to why he thinks his country is on the path to democracy. It looks like at times it’s not, to me. ... It looks like some of the decisions he has made aren’t leading the country to democracy. He, on the other hand, says it’s a special kind of democracy that we in the West don’t understand, and therefore I’d be willing to listen more about why he thinks that what he’s doing is democratic in nature.”

“I have been a President during a war,” he said.

Asked what his legacy will be, he said, “Whatever it is, I’m not going to be around to see it.” Since he’s pretty healthy and his father is still jumping out of airplanes, I assume he means not so much that he won’t be around as he won’t see it, in that he won’t be paying any attention, and it’s not like he has that clear an understanding of what his effect on the world is right now.

But he has aspirations for the legacy thing: “I hope it is that George Bush fought the war, he laid out a strategy for America and her allies to ultimately defeat these ideologues; he recognized the nature of the enemy, he spoke clearly [!] about the nature of the enemy; he went on the offense in order to protect his own country; he put in place a variety of measures to help deal with this threat, and he had great faith in the capacity of liberty to ultimately conquer this ideology.”

Asked his top successes and failures, Bush said “I’m not through being President yet” and added the most devastatingly truthful words he has ever spoken: “20 months is a long time during this presidency.”

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