Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bush Can Read. Not! Who's Funded Ben Feller's AP Article?

(Note: Below are public displays of opinion.
They were not noticed by the Bush administration, but should have been)

Or Is This Just A Low Point for Associated Press?

Truly intelligent people are comfortable with their intelligence. The Presidency, however, does not allow for that luxury. Any hint of a President's lack of intelligence must be countered or answered immediately. Was there any time when Bush and his administration attempted to counter his image as a simpleton? For almost eight years he gave people the idea that he was really Dan Quayle in disguise.

Then the country finally realized that his image was an insult to Dan Quayle.

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush will be judged on what he did. He will also be remembered for what he's like: a fast-moving, phrase-mangling Texan who stays upbeat even though his country is not.
He stays upbeat because he doesn't consider himself accountable. This article by AP journalist Ben Feller is almost disgustingly cloying and patronizing. Read it here.

There are some points to this schmaltz-fest that should be addressed:
He stays optimistic in even the most dire circumstances, but readily tears up in public. He has little use for looking within himself, and only lately has done much looking back.

He tears up in public only because someone told him to do it (probably Karl Rove). His tears have always been staged. He probably wants to laugh at very inappropriate times. And he's finally looking back on policies that have all but ruined the country and destabilized the world's economy. His last-minute "legacy building" has been a joke. This article is proof of that.
In sessions with policy experts, Bush tends to ask questions that get right to the nub of a sticky issue.
That's assuming that he knows what the issue is, sticky or not. And if he got answers from experts, he paid no attention to them.

You can tell the issues that really get Bush going, because he talks about them differently, more passionately: education, AIDS relief, freedom. They happen to be ones that can be viewed more clearly through a moral lens. That's how he sees the world.
No Child Left Behind, according to the NEA, is not exactly something to be proud of. AIDS relief? For Africa, yes, but only if faith based programs are involved and those programs better preach the highly ineffective "abstinence only" doctrine. And, like Janis Joplin sang, "freedom's just another word..." a buzz word that he thought would get him through every speech, especially when he was on foreign soil.

The man from a land of cowboy boots orders proper dress in the White House. No jeans allowed in the West Wing. Coat and tie in the Oval Office.

What about flip flops? He didn't upbraid tourist groups before photo-ops. And he only hosted ONE state dinner in eight years. He probably misheard: he thought it was a STEAK dinner.
Invariably, though, people who talk to him privately — historians, journalists, dissidents — come away with a very different impression of a meticulous thinker.

Meticulous thinker? One who couldn't spell meticulous. Or know what it means. Feller is really laying it on thick. This is where one becomes very suspicious of the journalist and his motives for writing the piece.
Bush is insistently — some say unforgivably — optimistic, no matter how low his poll numbers get.

Primarily because he never paid attention to the polls, or the public's opinion about anything. He was in his own fantasyland thinking everyone in the world loved him because he performed backslapping familiarities with heads of state. And some of those heads of state were not amused (think Angela Merkle).
[At the Crawford ranch] Bush chops cedar, clears brush and builds mountain bike trails there. The summer heat doesn't bother him so much as enthrall him. He even set up a little competition, true Bush: People who work for him get a coveted T-shirt and bragging rights if they run for three straight miles on days hitting 100 degrees.
He probably hopes they'll drop dead before pay raises. "Coveted T-shirt" is really another euphemism for poor people who will take just about anything. Or idiots who think the T-shirt really has some worth. Or both.

For eight years, Bush has been trying desperately to channel Will Rogers. It didn't work. Will got upset because he finally met a man he didn't like.

Now THIS is the part that really delves into the realm of patronizing fantasy:

He relaxes by reading quite a bit, mostly U.S. and world history.
Hey, Feller - give us a break! Most of the country didn't think Bush could read at all - at least not important PDBs. And if he did read U.S. and world history IT WOULD SHOW! He knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about any country outside the U.S. That much was evident every time he set foot on foreign soil. He knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about Iraq before the invasion. He knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about Sunni and Shiite differences. He knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about Israel, the Palestinians, Iran or about dissidents such as Hamas or the Shin Bet! NOTHING! NOTHING! NOTHING!

O.K. I'll calm down. But this article is a mockery, a shortchanging of the American public's intelligence.

Fuller ends with a "noble quote" from Bush:

"I will leave the presidency with my head held high," Bush says.

Considering the countries and world organizations that want him tried as a war criminal, the last posture would be difficult: or is it possible to hold your head high while at the same time watching your back and covering your ass?

Just a thought.