Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Cattle Call
I get tons of e-mail newsletters--so many that I can't always read them daily. This morning I was clearing out my inbox and read one from yesterday that had some suggested questions for Bush's press conference last night. Reading them, it occurred to me that even if those questions had been asked verbatim, it wouldn't have made any difference. He wouldn't have answered them, because he didn't answer anything.

I watched about 30 minutes of Bush last night before turning it off in disgust. This was as embarrassing a public performance as I have ever seen by a President of the United States--and I remember some of Nixon's press conferences during the Watergate meltdown, and Reagan's when the Alzheimer's was starting to kick in. Bush mostly ignored the questions to make little speeches, and if they touched on the question he was asked in some way, it was purely coincidental. And the little speeches themselves were mostly gibbering nonsense. The press corps was little better--refusing to follow up, refusing to interrupt--somebody could have made his or her reputation for a lifetime by standing up last night and calling the man out on his evasions and bullshit. But instead, they mostly stood there like cows watching a train go by. In retrospect, it's easy to understand why Bush's advisors ran him out there. Who's afraid of a herd of cows?

But what's most embarrassing is Bush's utter refusal to take responsibility or admit mistakes--to acknowledge one single thing he's done might that have been done differently to a better result. Nobody who really understands their work or who cares about it can claim to have done it perfectly all the time. All of us strive to do our best, but we don't always succeed. There's never been anyone in the history of humanity--up to and including Jesus, I might add--who didn't feel as though he'd failed at some point in his life, didn't look back and wish he could change something. There's never been anyone, apparently, until George W. Bush.

You wouldn't hire someone so utterly lacking in self-awareness to paint your kitchen, let alone run the free world. That millions of our fellow citizens look at this man and think he's just what the world needs in a leader is an embarrassment to the rest of us. And it makes me reluctant to leave my house.

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