The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901 Message #1474449
Posted By: Amos
29-Apr-05 - 02:45 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Not Exactly Must-See TV
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, April 29, 2005; 1:24 PM
The television networks -- and, by extension, the American viewing public -- got snookered last night.
Strong-armed, beguiled and wheedled into pre-empting an hour of prime-time national programming last night for President Bush's news conference, the networks were assured they would be getting must-see TV. Instead, they got a clip show.
The White House had promised that Bush would unveil new specifics about how he proposes to resolve Social Security's future funding shortfalls. And he did that -- but only briefly, and using language that was disingenuous at best.
Here, in fact, is the sum total of what Bush had to say that was new regarding Social Security: "I propose a Social Security system in the future where benefits for low-income workers will grow faster than benefits for people who are better off. By providing more generous benefits for low-income retirees, we'll make this commitment: If you work hard and pay into Social Security your entire life, you will not retire into poverty. This reform would solve most of the funding challenges facing Social Security."
You could have easily fit that into a commercial break, with plenty of time left over for a talking head to explain what it really meant -- namely, that Bush is finally, officially endorsing very significant benefits cuts for the wealthy and middle class, relative to what they are currently being promised.
Other than that, Bush's comments about Social Security could have been cut and pasted from the speeches he has been making across the country these past 60 days in his unsuccessful attempt to get people behind his proposal to carve out private accounts. And most of those lines went over a lot better in rooms full of supporters than they did last night, in a room full of increasingly skeptical reporters.
Bush was asked about several other topics, and made some news here and there, but it didn't amount to much. The biggest takeaways:
· Asked about the role of religion in politics, he distanced himself from those who have said that Democrats who oppose his judicial nominees are attacking people of faith. "I don't ascribe a person's opposing my nominations to an issue of faith . . . I think people oppose my nominees because of judicial philosophy," he said.
· Asked about the continued troubles in Iraq -- the No. 1 topic on American minds, according to the polls -- he maintained, "we're making really good progress."
I can only hope this shallow exercise in pulpit bullying actually helps peopel see through his facade and notice the grim realities underneath them.