Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Is it just me, or was The Pretender's Monday night speech...well....weird?

The speech itself offered no new information, but instead prattled on about how great a threat Saddam Hussein is to the world, particularly to the U.S. Okay. Yep, he's a bad man all right. But Bush, always confusing at best, has been baffling on the subject lately. So far he's demanded an immediate pre-emptive strike (aka: war) even if Saddam agreed to U.N. inspections; then implied he'd wait for said inspections. Now he claims he hopes there will be no war. In the face of what he loudly proclaimed a short month ago, this strains belief.

Everything surrounding the Monday night speech is fogged with confusion, and Bush's delivery seemed to echo that confusion. Ordinarily, he can be almost eloquent (for him) when he's pounding the table and being aggressive. But Monday night, he looked like he was being forced to talk about corporate responsibility again. His eyes wandered, he seemed to lose track in a couple of places, and he didn't have that patented "steely-eyed glare" that he gets when he contemplates using all the cool new toys at his disposal.

The lead-up to this thing was bizarre, too. Last week, the administration announced that there would be a major address to the nation on Monday night. Normally, the networks would be put on alert to carry the speech, but ABC, CBS and NBC carried on with their regular programming...get this: because they weren't asked to carry it.

It gets stranger. The reasons given: "it isn't a policy speech." It isn't? What the hell was Bush talking about, then? Somehow, I tend to think that when he speaks about something as serious as possible war, he's not just musing to himself or being theoretical. But hey, I guess it's possible. Oh, and they didn't want to frighten the American people (except those in Cincinnati, I guess). And then there's this howler:

On a more practical note, the administration official added, the networks would have been reluctant to interrupt prime-time programming so early in the new TV season, unless developments were really big.
From The Washington Post

I can picture it now:

KARL ROVE: Okay, we gotta say something. People are getting mad. You'll have to give a speech to the nation.

BUSH: Goodie! I get to sit in front of that big seal and be on TV??

ROVE: Well, not in front of the Presidential seal. We were thinking of a museum in Cincinnati.

BUSH: [more puzzled than usual look]

ROVE: And as for TV, I think Fox will carry it, since it's you.

BUSH: Can't we make the networks carry it???

ROVE: Yeah, we usually them to, but not this time. We have to think of all the people who'll be angry about missing Drew Carey. Plus it's not a policy speech.

BUSH: [stupidly blinking] It's not? What do I talk about, then?

ROVE: Iraq

BUSH: [scrunching up his face] I can't talk about policy? I can't talk about bombing the hell outta Iraq? I can't talk about...

ROVE: Of course you can (soothingly). But we're not marketing it as a policy speech, or a speech to the nation.

BUSH: But you said....

ROVE: Please, George, don't start asking questions again. You know how confused you get.

BUSH: Hey! If I'm making a speech, I'll miss Drew Carey!

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