Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bush press conference: People would rather not aggressively pursue people overseas

Amongst the other Democratic cave-ins, you may have missed one that got lost in the shuffle: they gave up on an attempt to ban federal aid to overseas family planning programs that include abortions.

Many of the presidential candidates aspire in their fundraising emails to a certain faux-folksiness. One sent out today, signed by Barack Obama personally, began with the salutation, “Hey –”. Is for horses, Senator Obama, is for horses.

Bush held a press conference today.

DOESN’T KNOW WHAT “MOMENT” MEANS: “I think recent days have been a moment that the country can be proud of.”

DUDE, ANY YEAR IN WHICH YOU “GOVERN” IS, BY DEFINITION, A PRETTY GODDAMNED ODD YEAR: “The American people did not elect us to govern in odd years, and campaign in even years.”

ORDINARY NON-RENDITION: About the CIA’s destruction of the torture tapes: “Until these inquiries are complete, until the oversight’s finished, then I will be rendering no opinion from podium.” Until the oversight’s finished? I’m waiting for it to fucking start.

When a politician starts talking about their recollection, we all know what it means: “It sounds pretty clear to me when I say I have -- the first recollection is when Mike Hayden briefed me.” Not even my first recollection (of when he heard about the destruction of the tapes), but the first recollection. He’s distancing himself from his own memory.

THAT’S MY HOPES: “My hope, of course, is that Russia is a country which understands there needs to be checks and balances, and free and fair elections, and a vibrant press; that they understand Western values based upon human rights and human dignity are values that will lead to a better country. That’s my hopes.” Notice how he defines “values based upon human rights and human dignity” as “Western” values.

IN OTHER WORDS, AND STUFF GEORGE FINDS “INTERESTING”: “What will be interesting next year is how the Russian President carries on his business -- the new Russian President. In other words, we’ll be together probably a couple of times next year, and it will be interesting to see how foreign policy is conducted and what the role of President Putin may be or not be.”

“Interesting” has returned as Bush’s one-size-fits-all adjective. He used it 9 times in 48 minutes.

THE PROCESS: “You know, I don’t view -- I just don’t view life as zero-sum. I think all of us deserve credit for getting some things done. The president constantly has to make sure that the executive branch is involved in the process, and one way is to -- is to use the veto.” So he wants credit for getting some things done, like using the veto to prevent getting some things done.

HE TRIES TO MAKE IT LESS THAT WAY: “I know we live in an environment here in Washington where -- I’m not saying you try to stir this up, but sometimes it’s beneficial to constantly harp on, well, they don’t get along here, or maybe they can’t agree here, it’s so-and-so versus so-and-so -- it’s an antagonistic world from some people’s point of view. I try to make it less that way and to focus on high priorities.”

WHATTA WE GOT? “And we got a lot of priorities for next year.”

LEAVE NO CHILD STRENGTHENED: “I spoke to Senator Kennedy on this issue, and Congressman Miller and Senator Enzi and Congressman Boehner about how to strengthen No Child.”

Asked about the presidential race, he came out in favor of candidates being consistent and having principles. Which winnows down the field just a little bit. Another important question he would ask candidates: “who are you going to surround yourself”. “And so my question would be, how do you intend to set up your Oval Office so that people will come in and give their advice?” I’m guessing some sort of a, you know, door?

Asked about the announced review of the strategy in Afghanistan, it turns out it isn’t actually about reviewing strategy, but about “assuring” people and making them “realize” things: “Part of the review is to -- is to assess how best to make sure our coalition partners realize there is a coherent strategy of which they are an integral part, all aiming to make sure that there is a presence that will assure the Afghan government and the Afghan people that people will be trying to help them with their security.”

IN OTHER WORDS, IS LIFE CHANGING BETTER?: “The question, of course, is, just like in Iraq, is there a follow-up to the security gains? In other words, is life changing better for the average citizen? That’s the question that we all got to be looking at. Unity governments are important, but does the average citizen realize that a free society is in his or her interest.”

VISITING ON THE SVTS: “And I visited with President Karzai on the SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference System] the other day, and it’s a question I basically asked him. I said, we were successful militarily, what’s happened in your country that you can point to that indicates that you’re taking advantage of better security in certain places? And he pointed out some interesting things. He talked about the, I think it’s 5 million children now going to school. It was an interesting measurement for him. He says, I believe we’re taking advantage of the security because more of our children are getting educated.” So NATO is now one giant group of crossing guards?

ALL OF A SUDDEN: “And now, all of a sudden, he [Karzai] talks about an expanding health care system and the infant mortality rate dropping. He talks about the roads that are being built so that the average citizen there can get their [ahem] crops to market.”

GEORGE, WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN? “Any my biggest concern is that people say, well, we’re kind of tired of Afghanistan, therefore we think we’re going to leave. That would be my biggest concern.”

STRAW MAN ALERT! STRAW MAN ALERT! “I believe if people are given a chance to be free, they will do so. Now, I understand some don’t believe that. It’s kind of like we’re the only ones that can be free; it’s kind of the ultimate isolationism, isn’t it?” No, it isn’t.

WHATTA WE GOT? On why he thinks the economy is strong: “we got flexible workplace”.

I KNOW I’M CONCERNED: “I know Americans are concerned about whether or not their neighbor may stay in their house.”

WHY THE BEST THING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT IS FOR AMERICANS TO BE RICH. REALLY REALLY RICH.: “See, it is hard to develop the technologies necessary to be able to make sure our standard of living remains strong and deal with greenhouse gases if you’re broke. If you don’t have any money, it is really hard to develop new technologies. And so we need to be prosperous for a lot of reasons, primarily so our citizens can have a good life; but also so that we’re wealthy enough to make the investments necessary to deal with greenhouse gases.”

GEORGE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT “ADVENT” MEANS: “I am -- to me, I am amazed that our country isn’t more robust in supporting the advent of nuclear power.” Because we don’t want to be robustly glowing in the dark?

WHAT GEORGE UNDERSTANDS: “And there’s isolationist tendencies in this world. People would rather stay at home. People would rather not aggressively pursue people overseas, and aggressively pursue freedom. I understand that.”

WHAT GEORGE IS NOT SURPRISED BY: “I’m not surprised we get criticized on a variety of fronts. And – on the other hand, most people like to come to our country, and most people love what America stands for. And so, it’s like I say about the presidency, people in America like the presidency and sometime they like the President. Get it?” I think so. You’re saying that most people like America but Americans, not so much.

WHEREIN BUSH SAVES THE TREASURY THE COST OF A LONG-DISTANCE PHONE CALL: “my patience ran out on President Assad a long time ago. And the reason why is, is because he houses Hamas, he facilitates Hezbollah, suiciders go from his country to Iraq, and he destabilizes Lebanon. And so, if he’s listening, he doesn’t need a phone call. He knows exactly what my position is.”

WHAT GEORGE DOES DURING HIS PREZNITZY: “That’s what I do during my presidency. I go around spreading goodwill and talking about the importance of spreading freedom and peace.” That’s a lot of spreading.

HAS THEY: “Pro-growth economic policies has worked.”

No one asked a question about the Turkish bombings and incursions into Iraq.

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