Less smug, more beleaguered, I'd say

Forced myself to endure the press conference tonight. Pretty standard stuff, although, as always, the farther we get along in these tangled webs the more startling the surreality of it all is, i.e., the nation has been pretty unanimously shocked or at least seriously alarmed by the violence in Iraq over the past weeks. Regardless of the initial justification, there is a general consensus that we are through some kind of looking glass there, and no one is really sure if this is an isolated incident or a sign of terrible things to come. But Bush seems to have the same talking points he did for the State of the Union 2003 i.e., "No one ever said the war on terror would be easy." Um, yeah, we got that.

Otherwise, he seemed especially confused tonight, as though he hadn't been briefed very well, or is running out of the composure to deal with these sorts of questions and criticisms. I may have to concur with the people who suggested he just do a regular speech instead of a press conference, if only to avoid another one of these merciless charades where Bush puts on blinders while the media try to distract him from his cue cards with their questions. It's like a Fear Factor episode where the contestant must sit in a tank of bees and not flinch or even acknowledge the bees' presence, lest he get stung.

As far as the apology thing goes, I maintain this question is kind of a waste of time, but it has some drama to it so whatever. It's the media's prerogative now. That said, Bush's desperate evasions and deer-in the headlights expression reminded me of a certain Happy Days where the Fonz is so adverse to apologizing to someone that he is physically unable to form the words. Maybe we were spoiled by too many years of (too many) soulful Clinton pleas for forgiveness, but the refusal to even entertain the emotional need for an apology is becoming almost a neurotic tick. But I guess that's what it means to have a macho president.

Other items and quotes of note:

  • Bush referred to our anti-terror campaign in the "Caucus area". I'm pretty sure this is not a legitimate synonym for the region known as the "Caucuses", but I could be wrong. Hell, maybe he was talking about the campaign.

  • "People don't like seeing dead bodies on their TV. I know I don't." Gasp.

  • He called Saddam an 'ally' of terror. I think this is a downgrade for Saddam. I know it's semantics, but since he uses so few words that haven't been through the WH communications shop, I think it's fair game.

  • Why did he keep going on about how maybe we could still find some weapons? I was pretty sure I detected a central directive a month and a half ago about cutting the losses on that one. That makes me nervous.

  • "Calling George Tenet. Please return to your upright position. You have been bending over for this administration for nine months." I don't know if I can handle G2 making Tenet his bitch from now through the final report of the intelligence commission. It's like watching Oz but everyone's out of shape. And yet people still earnestly debate if he's going to be fired. These people obviously do not understand how the bitch system works.

  • Ok. Back to work.


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