The President performed masterfully in another press conference this morning.
His manner is distracted and slightly confused, and no one in the press corps has the heart to pick on him, the poor bumpkin who repeatedly misses the intent of their questions. They are disarmed by his sincere efforts to form syntactically correct sentences. He’s trying so hard, and he remembers their names. He is a regular guy doing more than his natural abilities should allow. He’s working hard. America needs this sincere overreaching in their President.
Meanwhile, back on the issues, he does more than just misstate facts and miscast the choices. His skillfully stumbling rhetoric gets a dangerous elitist message into the mainstream. The country winds up talking seriously about extreme, disruptive, and anti-democratic proposals.
The media make a ritual of giving equal treatment of “both” sides of the question. That works when the proposals are moderate and reality-based. That’s a fine time for a civilized discussion of the merits in a debate.
The ping-pong back-and-forth doesn’t work when one of the views comes straight off the wall of extremism. Under the current method of operation, the media would give 60 seconds to Hitler explaining the final solution and 60 seconds to a schmuck-on-the-street coming out of a synagog. This method of fair and balanced reporting results in concentration camps getting the same treatment as civilized behavior.
Bush, is not Hitler. But, his proposals are huge departures from what has passed as mainstream politics during my lifetime. They are not mere tweaks or the “business” view of an issue. As a result, dismantling Social Security under the guise of individual choice is given equal or more time than 50 years of keeping senior citizens from having only cat food to eat.
“Quick, you have 60 seconds Mr. Democrat to explain why giving the old woman up the street her choice in kitty food brands isn’t the American way. We’re fair and balanced, and want to give our viewers both sides.”
Yet, the country is talking about a radical destruction of Social Security as if it were a genteel debate on the what type of wine goes best with salmon. We are politely discussing internment of American citizens without a trial because the government doesn’t like them so calls them “enemy combatants”.
We demurely argue over the appropriateness of spending the nation into humongous debt by keeping the costs of a full-blown war out of the budget — an unprecedented governmental accounting trick that combines the mistakes of Lyndon Johnson and Enron.
While we enjoy our ad hominem zingers about George’s intelligence and facial swarminess, the President surely is smirking all the way to the figurative bank. His true radicalism remains largely unreported and unchallenged. What an accomplishment for a man of such legendary limited abilities.
Yep. The hard-working President doing his hard job with his limited skills is sure dumb.
May his God — and our gods — keep him from getting more dumb and more dangerous.