Sunday, December 28, 2008

And they’ll do whatever

Today, Laura Bush was fronting the Bush Legacy of Delusion Tour in an interview on Fox.

She says that she realized just how much power she wielded when a woman at a cosmetic counter in a department store thanked her for talking on the radio about the plight of women in Afghanistan. This is how people in power stay in touch with the common folk when they can no longer converse with cabbies, the fount of all wisdom, as Thomas Friedman will tell you.

I said a week ago that with hurler of the Shoes of Death, Muntadar al-Zeidi, having been beaten and tortured and facing a long prison sentence, Bushies were no longer calling the incident a sign of freedom in Iraq. Laura didn’t get that memo, saying it showed “that Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves.” I don’t think al-Zeider is feeling a lot freer right now. She also said that it was “an assault, and I think it should be treated that way, and I think people should think of it that way.” It’s an assault, it’s a sign of freedom, it’s a floor wax and a dessert topping, it’s a Freedom Assault.

She declined to ask for leniency for al-Zeidi, saying it’s “to the Iraqis. And they’ll do whatever. But I know that if Saddam Hussein had been there, the man wouldn’t have been released.” Laura? He hasn’t been. “And he probably wouldn’t — you know, would have been executed.” Really? I don’t think Saddam would have minded so much if someone threw their shoes at George Bush. Still, way to set the minimum standard for freedom really, really low, Laura.

“They’ll do whatever.” This all matters for al-Zeidi because 1) Maliki is a blowhard, who is unlikely to want to be seen to give in to protests and indeed is likely to dig in, 2) Obama won’t want to call for leniency for an act against his predecessor (in the way that Clinton had to bomb Iraq in 1993 in response to an “assassination attempt” on Bush the Elder he had to know was a lie concocted by the Kuwaitis). So the only person who can get him released without Maliki losing face is Bush.

She complained that Bush got blamed for Katrina, and blamed it on the press (“Do I think the press is fair? No, absolutely not.” Except for her interviewer, Chris Wallace, she added): “There was a — the reporting was — ended up being not really factual, but many, many people heard the first reporting, and that’s what they think happened, that 10,000 people died”. And only 1,800 did, so it’s all good.

She summed up George’s inner core: “And I think that the — his inner core and his belief in freedom — and that means not just freedom from tyranny, but freedom from disease and freedom from illiteracy — is what really is the basic of American values, and that’s what I think he’s shown the whole time he’s been president.” Yeah, other countries really enjoy disease and illiteracy. Because they lack the basic of American values.

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