Of all the theater of the Bush years, I have always drawn a perverse pleasure from watching Junior at a press conference. Easily the dumbest president in history – making even the greatly-challenged Ronald Reagan look like a Rhodes scholar – Bush doesn’t participate in a press conference, he survives it. The look of relief on the faces of Bush’s handlers when he heads back to the shadowy safety of the inner sanctum after another embarrassing performance speaks volumes about the minor talents of their barely-passable puppet.
The attitude that Junior wants to project during a press conference is that of an impatient parent talking to annoying children. This is the tone taken by all senior Bushies, exemplified primarily these days by hired wing-nut Tony Snow. Each question is treated in a “how can you ask that?” manner, followed explanations that rarely go beyond “because we said so”. While Snow is snotty, glib and dismissive, Bush is simply ham-fisted, wrestling with words and phrases that keep bumping into each other in his empty head. All the while, he pretends to be chummy with a press corps he hardly knows.
The moments I savor in Bush pressers is when the light goes on in his head and he remembers what he is supposed to say about a given subject. At first, he puts on his “thoughtful” face. But, by the end of the sentence, he always winds up chuckling. Remembering and repeating the script they’ve given him (when he can) is a joy to Junior. He speaks as if, if he can understand things that are explained this way, what’s wrong with you? “Don’t you get it?” he wonders. “Christ, even I can figure this one out.”
You can imagine the brain-feed sessions in the Oval Office. “Mr. President, remember that big wall in Texas Stadium? What happened when balls went over the wall?” "Home run!” shouts the president. “OK, now, this escalation, uh, surge is like that big wall that we just need to get over so we can score some runs.” “Yeah, runs!” And so forth.
But, with Junior, as with all dim bulbs, a little knowledge and a clever phrase can be a dangerous thing. At his press conference on Wednesday, Bush was asked what we should say to countries that trade with Iran and that would lose an important market if that country were to be economically isolated. His off-the-cuff response was a moment of clarity rare in the carefully constructed fog of Bush Inc. No doubt it sent his handlers scurrying off to the back rooms to make sure the elite media either didn’t notice or ignored the gaffe of truth. (no need -- they ignored it)
“Sometimes, money trumps peace,” declared the president.
What a remarkable statement. Who, other than these greedheads that have run our government into the ground, talks like that? But it says a lot, opening a window into their dark souls. It explains what we are doing in Iraq.
In Iraq, money is oil. Money is contracts for Halliburton and other political contributors to provide services for our troops, security for our politicians and rebuilding the infrastructure we have destroyed. Money is the military industrial complex, that have tried to keep us stocked with bombs, tanks, guns and ammunition. Forget the maimed and dead soldiers and Iraqis, the shattered buildings and lives. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has done very well for Money in all its forms.
Money trumps peace. Of course, its so simple. If there is money to be made, then the peace be damned. And so it has been.
Thanks, Junior, for that brief, shining moment of truth.