Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In One Ear...

Just a few words in response to the comment, yesterday--thanks, Dennis!--with a link to the Stephen Colbert performance at your White House Correspondents' roast the other night. In fact--did I mention this already, Bush?--I had read the transcript and had enjoyed it as a brilliant piece of satire. You, I gather, did not. Enjoy it, I mean. Granted, it was a tough piece. And the assembled media remained largely silent, perhaps embarrassed by its biting accuracy.

What's interesting to me, though, is that the media's silence persisted even after the event. Total silence. Contrast that with the adulation poured on the other comic of the evening, that Bush impersonator from Texas, and you'll see what I mean. That guy has been all over the TV news and talk shows for days! They've been rattling on about his childhood, his early years as an impersonator, his Clinton imitation, the hours it takes to put on his make-up... it's been endless.

So, okay, he does a really good job. It's mildly funny, too. The press ate it up. You collaborated--anxious, no doubt, to put a more human complexion on your image. But it was essentially friendly, Bush, no? Not real satire. The Colbert piece, on the other hand, cut close to the bone. And was rewarded with the silent treatment. I can understand that it would seem tasteless and disrespectful to you personally, Bush, but don't you think the discrepancy is interesting? Does it not say something about how cautious the media have been when it comes to anything critical of your good self? What's going on here? Why do you always manage to get a virtually free pass?

Well, not so free, perhaps. A thirty-one percent approval rating in the polls this morning. The uproar surrounding your latest appointment of Air Force General Michael Hayden to succeed Porter Goss as Director of the CIA suggests that you no longer inspire the timid silence that you did for far too long from the media and the U.S. Congress. I can't claim to know much about Hayden--though his impeccable uniform and his ramrod stance do bug me a bit, I have to say, as does his record of loud defense for your habit of spying on unknown numbers of our fellow citizens without warrant.

Your choice reminds me, too, of something I have long believed: that you have a tin ear for political realities. As the lead editorial in today's New York Times noted: "the choice of Gen. Hayden sends a politically tone-deaf signal" to CIA agents and employees whose morale "is at an all-time low." How could you possibly not have anticipated what kind of response this choice might receive amongst your political allies in Congress, as well as with your critics? Did no one of your advisors mention this to you? Did you just not care about others' judgment, even when well-informed and insightful? Or did it simply, like so much information you receive that fails to justify or confirm your stubbornly-held preconceptions, go in one ear and out the other?

5 comments:

dennis said...

The Colbert video showed their faces, the choked laughter, the glancing back and forth from Colbert to Bush, the nervous reactions of Scalia, and McClellan. Unbelievable.

Colbert is a genius. A Fox parady flipped back at the 'decider'.

Cspan and Google now are pulling it from the net. Millions have seen it. They see a profit in it.

If it's still on, don't miss it, folks, relish the delight:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-869183917758574879

Fred said...

Colbert was great. How brave of him to speak truth to power in that chilly atmosphere.

Re: General Hayden, his confirmation may give congress an opportunity to dig back into the evesdropping on America issue, since he was in charge of it.

David said...

Along these same lines, I saw in the news today that Bush was briefed on Ahmadinejad's letter to him. Is that wierd or what? Someone else read the letter, and then explained to him what the "Axis of Evil" leader had to say? Who's steering this boat, anyway?

dennis said...

Airhead's Best Moment in Office?

WASHINGTON (May 7) - President Bush says his best moment in office was the time he caught a 7 1/2-pound largemouth bass.

President Bush said it was not easy to pick a best moment of his presidency because "I've had a lot of great moments."

During his more than five years in office, Bush has traveled the world's most impressive cities, met with world leaders and entertained celebrities.

But when the German newspaper Bild asked him to name his best and worst moments as president, Bush gave an offbeat answer about the best moment, while giving a more predictable response about his worst.

"The most awful moment was September the 11th, 2001," Bush said, adding that it took time to understand the depth of the terrorist attacks on the United States. "I would say the toughest moment of all was after the whole reality sunk in and I was trying to help the nation understand what was going on, and at the same time, be empathetic for those who had lost lives."

Bush admitted it was not easy to pick a best moment because "I've had a lot of great moments," according to a transcript of the Friday interview released Sunday.

"I would say the best moment was when I caught a 7 1/2-pound largemouth bass on my lake," Bush said, laughing.

PeterAtLarge said...

Re: "the most awful moment," Dennis. While the reality was sinking in, remember, our Bush was reading about a goat to a bunch of schoolchildren. What a moment that was! Thanks, all, for the responses. Cheers, PaL