Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bush press conference: Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas

This post is brought to you by Percocet and in loving memory of my abscessed right lower wisdom tooth, Pointy. For the first time in my life, I have an even number of teeth (I am a mutant).

Speaking of abscesses, this morning Bush held a press conference.

He started off by claiming that Democrats only support expanding the S-CHIP program of health insurance for children for political gain. How dare they support health insurance for children just because it’s popular with the American public! He said they “have decided to pass a bill they know that will be vetoed” (note the passive voice). So because they know that Bush is a stubborn bastard, they must intend to fail in order to have a campaign issue. “Health coverage for these children should not be held hostage while political ads are being made and new polls are being taken.” Was there ever such a cynical charge of cynicism?

One reporter got him on the record specifically opposing an increase in cigarette taxes to fund the program.

IN OTHER WORDS, IS WHAT HE SAID: “And I also said that progress will yield fewer troops. In other words, return on success, is what I said.”

He immediately followed that up with a U-Turn IN OTHER WORDS, in which two IN OTHER WORDSES took him right back to the original words: “There are two types of reconciliation, David. One is that reconciliation, that very visible reconciliation that happens through the passage of law. In other words, it’s reconciliation that shows the Iraqi people that people from different backgrounds can get along and, at the same time, that government can function. Clearly there needs to be work there. In other words, there needs to be the passage of law.”

A game of IN OTHER WORDS Bumper Cars (about North Korea): “In other words, whether it be the exportation of information and/or materials is an important part -- it doesn’t matter to us whether they do -- in terms of the six-party talks, because they’re both equally important, I guess is the best way to say it. In other words, we want -- it does matter -- let me rephrase that -- it matters whether they are, but the concept of proliferation is equally important as getting rid of programs and weapons.”

A PLAIN VANILLA IN OTHER WORDS: “The folks like Blackwater who provide security for the State Department are under rules of engagement -- in other words, they have certain rules.”

He said about the Blackwater incident, “Obviously, to the extent that innocent life was lost, you know, I’m saddened.” But only to that extent. So there will be a joint US-Iraqi commission to investigate the extent to which Bush is saddened: “I want to find out the facts about exactly what took place there in the theater and that’s exactly what we’re about to find out.”

But that’s not the only thing ensaddening him. Asked about the Jena incident, he replied, “The events in Louisiana are -- have saddened me. I understand the emotions.” Well, he’s heard of them, anyway.

(Before I forget, the White House issued one of those “Responding to Key Myths” papers about Iraq. Among other things, it proved that Maliki is not an agent of Iran thusly: “Maliki is an Iraqi nationalist who does not speak Persian”. Quod erat demonstrandum.)

Maliki is not, however, a Nelson Mandela: “I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where’s Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.” Even Winnie?

This Mandela line, which passed from Ryan Crocker to Condi and now to Bush, provoked this comment from me last week: “So basically what they’re saying is that if any of the current crop of Iraqi politicians had been any damned good, they wouldn’t be alive.”

Bush thinks the MoveOn “General Betray Us” ad was “disgusting,” and an attack on the entire military. Which is nonsense. Also disgusting: Democrats. “And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad. And that leads me to come to this conclusion: that most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like -- or more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military.”

So sad:
Q: Mr. President, former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld recently was asked if he missed you. He said, no. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: I miss him.
(Update: see, I knew I’d miss something, with the drugs and the pain and everything: “We dealt with a recession, a terrorist attack and corporate scandals. And we did it by cutting taxes.”)

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