Thursday, May 17, 2007

We filled a lot of space together

Bush and Blair held their very last joint press conference today. So sad.

Bush on Blair: “And it dawned on me, once again, what a clear strategic thinker he is.” “I do congratulate the Prime Minister for being a -- when he gets on a subject, it’s dogged.” “I appreciated Tony’s willingness to interface with our people there” (military commanders in Iraq). “There’s a lot of blowhards in the political process, you know, a lot of hot-air artists, people who have got something fancy to say. Tony Blair is somebody who actually follows through with his convictions, and therefore, is admired in the international community.” “I have enjoyed working with Tony Blair more than I could have possibly imagined.”

Blair on Bush: “You’ve been unyielding and unflinching, and determined in the fight that we face together.” Yeah, that’s the fucking problem.

Bush on the Middle East: “We understand the fright that can come when you’re worried about a rocket landing on top of your home.”

I’ve noticed before that when these two get together, Blair often starts picking up Bush’s speech patterns or phrases, like it’s viral. In other words, like it’s a virus. (Joke. I’m okay, really.) Today the virus was “of course”:

Bush: “We talked about, of course, Iraq. ... We talked about, of course, Africa. We spent a lot of time talking about Africa. ... Can I work with the next guy? Of course... And we talked, of course, about climate change.”

Blair: “And we discussed, of course, the Middle East... And of course, also, we talked about the upcoming G8... Again, in respect of Afghanistan, where American troops, and of course, British troops ... of course I wish [Gordon Brown] well... And then, of course, there are various domestic issues, too, as well. ... And the fact is, the decisions are difficult; of course they’re difficult.” Etcetera.

Incidentally, “Africa” has become one of those place names that stand for something else, like Vietnam or Hiroshima or Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Blair, for instance, spoke of “the cause that is Africa” and said that the G8 would have discussions “over the issue of Africa.”

Bush on Gordon Brown: “I met him, thought he was a good fellow. ... I hope to help him in office the way Tony Blair helped me.” BREAKING NEWS: BUSH TO BE BROWN’S POODLE.

Brown will not be comforted that Bush also made this character analysis: “I admire Paul Wolfowitz. I admire his heart.”

Asked about the news that Gonzales and Card pressured former Attorney General Ashcroft in his hospital bed after surgery to sign off on a wiretapping program they knew he considered illegal, Bush pretended that the question was about the warrantless surveillance program, defended it at length, and talked instead about the importance of spying on people: “Kelly, there’s a lot of speculation about what happened and what didn’t happen; I’m not going to talk about it. It’s a very sensitive program. .... And so there will be all kinds of talk about it. As I say, I’m not going to move the issue forward by talking about something as highly sensitive -- highly classified subject. I will tell you, however, that the program is necessary.”

He added, “No matter how calm it may seem here in America, an enemy lurks. And they would like to strike.” Although they do kind of enjoy the lurking too. “They would like to do harm to the American people because they have an agenda.”

Finally, Bush described the Bush-Blair relationship: “And so I -- we filled a lot of space together.”

(Update: One more picture. Just because.)

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