Friday, January 18, 2008

It’s really to prove for peace

Bush was interviewed in Saudi Arabia earlier this week by Nightline.

He admitted that he had something to prove on his Middle East trip, “but it’s not so much to prove for my sake. It’s really to prove for peace.”

He says he believes there will be a peace deal because he (sigh) looked into the leaders’ eyes and did the soul-reading thing: “I have talked to these leaders face to face. I have asked them point blank, ‘Do you understand how difficult these issues are?’ Yes. ‘Are you prepared to make the painful political compromises?’ They say they are.” Lean back, close your eyes and visualize Bush walking up to Olmert/Abbas and asking if they understand how difficult these issues are. As they say in the Middle East, oy.

He’s worried about “stereotypes.” Specifically, the stereotypes of him: “I’m sure people view me as a warmonger and I view myself as peacemaker.” (Update: John Oliver on the latest Bugle podcast says that Bush is half-right here, which is a major step up for him. Fair enough.) “My image [is] ‘Bush wants to fight Muslims.’ And, yes, I’m concerned about it. Not because of me, personally. I’m concerned because I want most people to understand the great generosity and compassion of Americans”. There doesn’t seem to be a full transcript, so I don’t know if the Nightline guy asked which people he doesn’t want to understand the great generosity and compassion of Americans.

He said that “freedom is advancing quite amazingly in the Middle East.” I know I’m amazed.

“The other thing is, if I could be perfectly blunt about it, I think people who say we can be free, but you shouldn’t be, are elitist.” He does not name any of these elitists. Never does, really.

One of those places where he thinks freedom is advancing quite amazingly is evidently Saudi Arabia. But “The American president doesn’t come and lecture somebody. ... And for us to say that you can’t have a democracy if you’ve got a king is just not right.” Yeah, because that’s the only reason people say Saudi Arabia isn’t a democracy.

Speaking of dark-skinned people and democracy, he says that if Obama gets the Democratic nomination, he’ll campaign against him, “But it won’t be in a personal way.”

Today he visited a lawnmower factory owned by Wright Manufacturing Inc in Maryland. Standing next to some guy named Wright, he said, “Do you wonder where they got the name ‘Wright?’ That’s his name.” That’s why I keep reading these transcripts of Bush speeches: you always learn something.

He talked about a possible economic stimulus package, which he anthropomorphized: “Any package has got to remember that jobs are created by small businesses.”

(He also talked about that package earlier in the day at the White House. The expression on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s face probably tells you everything you need to know.)

He got all choked up with his pride and love and shit: “Anyway, thanks for letting me come by. I’m proud to be -- I love the entrepreneurial class in -- I love people who have a dream and work hard to achieve the dream.”

He also loves playing with toys, and driving them right at the assembled press corps.

So long, suckers!

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