The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901 Message #1657501
Posted By: Amos
29-Jan-06 - 03:54 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
In an analytical piece called "All the President's Dodges", Slate examines Bush's favorites gimmicks for not confronting an issue or answering a straight question:
Hamas: Put on a Happy Face
President Bush believes in a simple formula. Democracy is good. Terrorism is evil. When democracy is introduced in hostile countries it acts like enchanted water: Apply a drop and liberty flowers. That theory, never plausible, obviously has now been undone: The victory of the radical Islamic organization Hamas in the Palestinian elections demonstrates that democracy and terrorism are not mutually exclusive.
Instead of dealing with the topsy-turvy result, the president focused on the sunny side. He said the elections "remind me of the power of democracy" and added, "I like the competition of ideas." Groovy....
NSA Spying: Just Trust Us
The president was asked six questions about the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping, which he carefully calls a "terrorist surveillance program." The questions and answers hopped around over well-worn territory. Finally, Bush played the trump card that shuts off further discussion: To talk any more about the program, or even consider legislation to codify it, would help the terrorists. This doesn't avoid the question so much as it makes asking too many pointed ones an act of treachery. "This program is so sensitive and so important that if information gets out to how we do it, how we run it, or how we operate, it will help the enemy," he said. "I think the American people understand that. Why tell the enemy what we're doing, if the program is necessary to protect us from the enemy?"...
Abramoff: Look at the Shiny Ornament!
Another trick: Distract the questioner with something else. Show reporters a sparkly ornament, and hope we'll forget the tree it's hanging on. (Talking about Saddam Hussein has served this purpose in ducking tricky Iraq questions.) When talking about Jack Abramoff, Bush focused on the pictures of the two together rather than the larger issue of what influence the lobbyist had with White House officials and what, if anything, he may have gotten in return for all of that campaign cash.
The president continued to define the photographs as a few of the thousand taken at "grip and grin" sessions. This wasn't a dodge: It was a deception. At least one of the snapshots with the chairman of the Kickapoo Indians was clearly something more. Bush had a scripted joke for this eventuality. "Having my picture taken with someone doesn't mean that, you know, I'm a friend with them or know them very well," he said setting up the gag. "I've had my picture taken with you at holiday parties."
Bush's questioners' fixation on the pictures helped him stay focused on just the pictures. (Have you seen how shiny the ornament is! Yes, and he just mentioned us!) The real questions are: What happened in the rooms where there were no photographs taken and where Abramoff met with White House staff? Whom did Abramoff meet with, what did he want, and what did the White House officials want from him?
Other White House officials have refused to answer those questions. And today, the president just ducked them. ..."
Alternative title: Anatomy of a Slimeball (my notion, not Slate's.)