Friday, January 19, 2007
White House Correspondents' Dinner Redux
Rich Little won't be mentioning Iraq or ratings when he addresses the White House Correspondents' Dinner April 21. Little said organizers of the event made it clear they don't want a repeat of last year's controversial appearance by Stephen Colbert, whose searing satire of President Bush and the White House press corps fell flat and apparently touched too many nerves. "They got a lot of letters," Little said Tuesday. "I won't even mention the word 'Iraq.'"John Aravosis wonders how the media can accurately cover the President if they are scared of displeasing him. What struck me about the news is it reminded me of Ron Suskind's excellent "reality-based" article.
Moments after the ceremony, Bush saw Wallis. He bounded over and grabbed the cheeks of his face, one in each hand, and squeezed. ''Jim, how ya doin', how ya doin'!'' he exclaimed. Wallis was taken aback. Bush excitedly said that his massage therapist had given him Wallis's book, ''Faith Works.'' His joy at seeing Wallis, as Wallis and others remember it, was palpable -- a president, wrestling with faith and its role at a time of peril, seeing that rare bird: an independent counselor. Wallis recalls telling Bush he was doing fine, '''but in the State of the Union address a few days before, you said that unless we devote all our energies, our focus, our resources on this war on terrorism, we're going to lose.' I said, 'Mr. President, if we don't devote our energy, our focus and our time on also overcoming global poverty and desperation, we will lose not only the war on poverty, but we'll lose the war on terrorism.''' Bush replied that that was why America needed the leadership of Wallis and other members of the clergy. ''No, Mr. President,'' Wallis says he told Bush, ''We need your leadership on this question, and all of us will then commit to support you. Unless we drain the swamp of injustice in which the mosquitoes of terrorism breed, we'll never defeat the threat of terrorism.'' Bush looked quizzically at the minister, Wallis recalls. They never spoke again after that.This President has a pathological need to avoid people who differ from his ideology.This would explain Bush bragging about not reading newspapers and his distain for academics. This incident at Harvard explains much about Bush's current behavior.
"George Bush came up to me and said, 'Why are you going to show us that commie movie?'" Tsurumi recalled. "I laughed because I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't. After we viewed the film, I called on him to discuss the Depression and how he thought it affected people. [Bush] said, 'Look, people are poor because they are lazy.' A number of students pounced on him and demanded that he support his statement with facts and statistics. He quickly backed down because he could not sustain his broadside."The 2004 debates were another classic example. Bush has all kind of gut feelings on issues. When push comes to shove it quickly becomes apparently that the man doesn't know what he is talking about. That explains why he doesn't want another Colbert incident.