Thursday, April 29, 2004

Bush: "Yes, as a matter of fact, I am a puppet"

After meeting with the 9/11 commission this morning, Bush spoke with reporters and finally tried to give an explanation for why he insisted on appearing with Dick Cheney:

"I wanted them to know how I set strategy, how we run the White House, how we deal with threats. The vice-president answered a lot of their questions. And I think it was important for them to see our body language as well, how we work together."
What?

This statement is absolutely roiling with subtext; I hardly know where to start.

First of all, "I" set strategy, but "we" run the White House and "we" deal with threats. I can understand why Bush would want to speak in the plural when he talks about dealing with threats -- he wants to spread the blame because he's done such a poor job. But when he speaks of how "we" run the White House, I think he's unconsciously admitting the truth as he perceives it: that he and Cheney basically have a co-presidency. (Unfortunately, Bush may be giving himself too much credit in that regard.)

Second: Bush seems to be justifying Cheney's presence because it was necessary as part of a demonstration -- that is, he and Cheney physically showed the commission how they "run the White House" and "deal with threats" and "work together." Was there a tour? Did the commission witness a briefing session in the situation room? Did Bush and Cheney stage a mock terrorist attack as a demonstration? Um, George, the meeting was a question-and-answer session. You weren't demonstrating anything but your knowledge of events relating to 9/11.

And Bush thought it was important for the commission to see the "body language" between Bush and Cheney? What the hell is the guy talking about? How can body language possibly tell the 9/11 commission anything about how the 9/11 attacks happened and how they could have been avoided? Three possibilities as to the reason for that comment: (#1) Bush is just completely making things up off the top of his head. (Always likely with Dubya.) (#2) Bush had instructed Cheney to hunch and cower the whole meeting while Bush stuck out his chest and held up his chin, the body-language message being that Bush is really the one in charge -- don't let the fact that he refused to appear without Cheney fool you! (#3) Bush wanted the commission to see the stolen glances, the winks, the footsie under the side table that goes on between him and Cheney. Those lovebirds! They just couldn't keep their secret any longer.

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