Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Ministry of Truth: Decoding The Bushspeak

President Bush today gave another of his famous fake townhall meetings, this time in Kentucky. Another nice, pre-screened audience of fervent Bush supporters turned out to hear yet another repetition of the White House's choicest talking points.

As a public service to those in the reality-based liberal community, I will now correct the record a bit, to reflect what the President is really saying in his latest attempt to flog his flagging poll numbers.

Via the Ministry's website:

What I thought I'd do is maybe make some opening comments and answer any questions you got. I probably can't stay here all day since I've got a job to do, but I'm interested in your opinions and your point of view.

First of all, it's getting just a little tiresome having a President whose grammar is at a 6th grade level. Didn't this guy go to college or some such? As for cutting through the propaganda, well it isn't necessary here because he's telling the truth. He's always interested in the opinions and point of view of a room full of pre-screened Republican supporters. Oh, and I, for one, would not mind if Bush spent the entire rest of his presidency doing nothing but giving stump speeches. He's less dangerous when he's out doing what he does best: shilling for his party.

We got an economy that's going good, and perhaps you want to know what we're going to do to keep it growing.

Translation: "All you have to do is believe that until 2008. Oh please, oh please." Look, the economy is not doing all that well. It took until just last week for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to return to the level it was at when Bush took office. The Federal debt is growing quickly and China has recently announced it intends to shift its debt holdings away from dollars going forward. Bush is still running a huge budget deficit, which he has pledged to cut in half by 2008. Of course, it was a surplus when he took office. Bush is still on track to be the first President in the modern era to record a net loss of jobs during his tenure in office. Oh, and real wages and employee benefits have fallen while all major price indices have risen. As Holden would say, "Where's my Bush Boom?"

Let me -- I wish I didn't have to say this, but we're still at war. And that's important for the citizens of this commonwealth to understand. You know, no President ever wants to be President during war. But this war came to us, not as a result of actions we took, it came to us as a result of actions an enemy took on September the 11th, 2001. And I -- (applause) -- and I vowed that day, starting when I was in Florida and got on the airplane to head across the country, that I would use everything in my power -- obviously, within the Constitution -- but everything in my power to protect the American people. That is the most solemn duty of government, is to protect our people from harm.

Bush is sorry to say we're at war, eh? Not according to this quote, via

"One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief." And he said, "My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it." He went on, "If I have a chance to invade..., if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency." - George W. Bush in 1999

Any claim by Bush that he regrets being at war is suspect at best.

It's also quite interesting that on his claim to do "everything in his power" to protect Americans, he seems to acknowledge the Constitutional powers of the Presidency as a subset of his official powers. Seems like King George let slip how he really feels about the power of his Presidency, but then throws a little bone to his supporters present so they can pretend that having a king is constitutional.

Secondly, after September the 11th, not only did I vow to use our assets to protect the people by staying on the offense, by defeating an enemy elsewhere so we don't have to face them here at home, I also said that if you harbor a terrorist, if you provide safe haven to a terrorist, you're equally as guilty as the terrorist. And I meant it. And the Taliban in Afghanistan -- a barbaric group of individuals who suppressed women, suppressed religious freedom, suppressed young girls -- had harbored these terrorists; they provided safe haven.

While the invasion of Afghanistan is at least defensible, I don't believe for one second that that's the war to which Bush is referring. Yet another lame attempt to link 9/11 with Iraq, a link that makes no sense and has no factual basis. The entire "fighting them in Iraq so we don't fight them here" is both incredibly disrespectful to the Iraqis, who may not like having their home turned into a wartorn hell for the U.S.'s battle against Al-Qaida, and dishonest, as though huge boatloads of Al-Qaida terrorists are sailing this way ready to invade. Bush's "War on Terror" is a joke, designed to invoke a paranoid fear of imminent danger from some shadowy menace, a tactic popular with military dictators everywhere. Newsflash for Bush and his supporters: the U.S. has always faced the threat of terrorism. That comes with being a free country rather than a police state. And even if we could "fight them over there to avoid fighting them here" that still wouldn't save us from home grown terrorists like Timothy McVeigh.

That's quite enough of Bush's garbage talk for one evening. His administration is played out, its rhetoric stale and its initiatives failed. All that's left for Bush is to appeal to the Republican base as much as possible, in hopes of avoiding a Republican bloodletting in November.

A vain hope, I pray...

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