Thursday, January 27, 2005

Ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive

Fish in a barrel, and me with a gun...I dunno, doesn't seem fair. But, if the fish paints a bull's eye on its back, jumps into the barrel and says "Hello, Sailor", then I'm pretty sure it's OK to take aim.

In that vein, we examine Elizabeth Bumiller's latest love note in today's NYTimes:

President Bush's opening statement at his news conference on Wednesday was striking for what it left out: any mention of the 31 Americans who died overnight in the crash of a Marine helicopter in Iraq, the largest number of American deaths in a single incident since the war began.

Coming from Mr. Sensitive ("I call upon all countries to denounce terrorism. Now, watch this swing"), it hardly causes any mental anguish. After, Freedom is on the marchTM! But it comes. The most far reaching rationalization I've heard in a long time:

The president's words were part of an aggressive White House communications strategy this week and next to frame the risky Iraqi election - a critical test of his assertion that the country is on the path to stability - in the best possible light.

Wow! That's heavy. Did you follow that? Let me repeat it for our hearing impaired viewers:

OUR TOP STORY...sorry. I'll try again.

The President didn't mention the war in Iraq where folks are, you know, DYING, so he could put a rosy face on the bull**it elections happening on Sunday.

I see two possibilities here:

1. She's right, and he made a careful decision to spin the day this way.

2. She's wrong, and he is so devoid of feelings and is so disconnected from the reality based world that he has no empathy for the feelings of the families of the newly dead.

Well, as has been seen many many many times, the guy really doesn't do well extemporaneously. Anyone remember the debates? As coached as he was, in the moment, he choked.

So what happened today? My guess is that he wasn't able to skip around his prefab message because of his natural tendency to stumble, and also felt a need to present that message to the exclusion of all else. A normal politician would have prefaced his remarks with something indicating sadness and regret.

So the correct answer is both 1 & 2. What a class guy. Always there to comfort the anguished and devastated families in their time of grief. Not only does he look like Alfred E, Newmann, but he's adopted his slogan: "What, me worry?"