I mean it's just unbelievable, isn't it? That
Bush and Cheney are insisting on appearing together, and not under oath, and
refusing to let their testimony be recorded. Could they act any more guilty?
My friend Aaron pointed out this week that really all this hindsight and finger-pointing
about 9/11 is so much partisan hooey. Nobody was expecting the attacks; that's
the whole point of a "surprise attack." It's the administration's
evasive, craven, and hostile behavior toward the committee that's so outrageous.
(Their behavior is actually not unlike Saddam Hussein's, defiantly acting
like they have something to hide when in fact they don't.) This is only the
most blatant and embarassing example of their consistent, deeply-held contempt
for the impositions of democracy. I heard one right-wing flack on the radio
this week trying to spin the President's attitude toward press conferences
as "disdain" instead of what it plainly is--fear. (This guy also
referred to Bush as "inarticulate" instead of stupid, and kept insisting
that we'd have to wait and see whether the American people actually considered
his articulateness an issue, even as caller after called complained that they'd
been embarassed by the President's inability to answer a few simple questions.
By "the American people" he clearly meant the uneducated and illiterate,
not a bunch of eggheaded cranks who read the Times and listen to
NPR.) The President is lucky if he can maintain control of his bowels through
one of these perfunctory little shows. Anytime he has made an unscripted appearance
before any audience that wasn't rigorously screened he's seemed exactly like
what he is: a dumber-than-average guy with a short fuse who's never been called
to account for anything in his entire life and resents being questioned, struggling
to appear aloof and good-humored instead of snarling and punching people.
Hence that weird, smug half-smile he gets on his face when he's testy, a combination
of arrogance and insecurity that I haven't yet been able to capture accurately.
Bush's press conference was unfortunately during my going-away dinner in New York, so I missed it. At the time I was glad I didn't see it since it only ever infuriates me to see his face or hear his voice. But now I'm sort of sorry to have missed out. It's always fun to watch him try to grope his way out of a sentence like a blind man in an unfamiliar room. Also, my friend and Jaegerbuddy Elena described Condoleeza Rice's demeanor during the press conference as that of "the angriest little princess in Storybookland." However, reading the transcripts without visuals is illuminating in its own way. It becomes clearer how Bush recites his handful of simple talking points, wanders off, gets lost, confused, frightened, and then scrambles in retreat back to his talking points. And the print media are merciless about transcribing his vague, rambling, repetivive remarks verbatim: "You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet." He actually suggested, only half-jokingly, that one reporter should've submitted his question in writing beforehand so he could've prepared an answer. Like, did he not know that there would be a press conference? And that reporters would be there? Asking their mean scary questions? Don't they brief him on this stuff? O the poor little monkey-faced President boy!
I will go to Hell because of my misplaced pity and love for George Bush.
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