The Daily Show and other purveyors of humor-based entertainment have had some fun with Bush’s Jan 10 “town hall meeting,” and especially the cute little kid who showed up in this bit.
THE PRESIDENT: How old are you?
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. That’s good. (Laughter.)
Q How can people help on the war on terror?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s the hardest question I’ve had all day. (Laughter.)
I’m just now reading how Bush answered that question. See if you can see why it perturbs me.
First of all, I expect there to be an honest debate about Iraq, and welcome it. People can help, however, by making sure the tone of this debate is respectful and is mindful about what messages out of the country can do to the morale of our troops. (Applause.)
I fully expect in a democracy — I expect and, frankly, welcome the voices of people saying, you know, Mr. President, you shouldn’t have made that decision, or, you know, you should have done it a better way. I understand that. What I don’t like is when somebody said, he lied. Or, they’re in there for oil. Or they’re doing it because of Israel. That’s the kind of debate that basically says the mission and the sacrifice were based on false premise. It’s one thing to have a philosophical difference — and I can understand people being abhorrent about war. War is terrible. But one way people can help as we’re coming down the pike in the 2006 elections, is remember the effect that rhetoric can have on our troops in harm’s way, and the effect that rhetoric can have in emboldening or weakening an enemy.
So that was a good question. Thank you. (Applause.)
Did you see it? A cute seven year-old kid asked how “people can help” in the war on terror. I suddenly remembered Bush’s appeal in October ’01 for American schoolchildren to send a dollar to kids in Afghanistan. And I figured he might answer this kid by telling him about one of the humanitarian projects for Iraqis that are kicking around right now – Gary Sinise’s Operation Iraqi Children, USAID’s Iraq Partnership. For soldiers, there’s America Supports You, which collects letters and gifts for the troops. I figured Bush might mention one of these things.
Instead he picked up the talking points from Jan. 9, about Democrats being mean to him and thereby weakening the war effort. He hit all the same “lies they say about me” in nearly same order – they say I lied, it was for oil, it was for Israel. Bush is ostensibly talking to a seven year-old kid and he’s whining about Justin Raimondo editorials, basically.
So here are all my least favorite things about this war – the lack of a sense of national duty or sacrifice, the partisan pissing contest, the unwillingness of leaders to listen when people talk to them – wrapped up with a bow. I’m going to go out on a limb and say George Bush isn’t the best president ever.