George W. Bush

Bush's job is to tell us about his job

Bush struggles to count the fingers on his handBush conducted a piss-poor 55-minute press conference this morning peppered with the usual disorganized, rambling non-sentences interspersed with brain-fart pauses, pulpit-thumping, and disrespectful staccato chuckling while staggering his way through life-and-death issues. In other words, exactly like every extemporaneous performance of his career in the White House.

But what did we learn? Civics. Second-grade-level social studies. We learned that Bush has a pathological need to instruct us about "his job", "the American people's job", and "Congress's job".

What are Bush's requisites for choosing a Director of National Intelligence?

Clearly, the president's job is to, "pick someone who knows something about intelligence," Bush said. Why, great! The DNI's job is to know about intelligence. We would hope the newly created position of Overlord for the nation's intelligence services will know something about intelligence.

What are the lessons Bush learned from the Bernard Kerik fiasco?

"The lessons learned is, continue to vet," Bush said. That's the lesson. See, what happened with Kerik is that they vetted him, and in the future they’re going to continue vetting. Here's a piece of news from the president: the White House has vetted a lot of people. Stop the presses.If his priority is to reduce the deficit, why did he sign every spending bill that crossed his desk last term? Because it's Congress’s job to work with the president while he does his job in order to come up with spending that makes sense for the American people whose job it is to understand what the president’s job… is.Social Security was especially weird. Congress's job is to write the laws that the president proposes to them. But don't make the president negotiate with himself in front of the press, as in this exchange:

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, on that point, there is already a lot of opposition to the idea of personal accounts, some of it fairly entrenched among the Democrats. I wonder what your strategy is to try to convince them to your view? And, specifically, they say that personal accounts would destroy Social Security. You argue that it would help save the system. Can you explain how?

THE PRESIDENT: I will try to explain how without negotiating with myself. It's a very tricky way to get me to play my cards.

Several questions later...

Q Good morning, Mr. President. I'd like to ask you on Social Security, you said that you don't like to come to the table with -- having negotiated with yourself. Yet, you have ruled out tax cuts and no cuts in benefits for the retired and the near retired. I wonder how you square that statement. And also, what do you -- in your mind, what is near retired?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, that's going to fall in the negotiating with myself category.

His job is to say he's not going to negotiate with himself, while literally negotiating with himself. The empty shirt of a so-called "steadfast" leader.How does he feel about the torture allegations stemming from Guantanamo? Well, it's his job to enforce the rule of law and to vet the court ruling about the job of the officials at Guantanamo.On that note... Rummy?"The Secretary of Defense is a complex job."And immigration reform?The president's job is to make sure "good-hearted" immigrants will be allowed to come here and, "[do] jobs Americans will not do." He repeated this at least three times, "Legalize the process of people doing jobs Americans won't do."After an hour of job descriptions, it would’ve been great to hear what some of those jobs are. Never-the-less, this statement really stuck out as being one of the most insensitive and potentially disastrous things he’s ever said. Bring in the immigrants (just the nice ones) so they can scoop shit in the park, or trim our hedges, or drain our septic tanks, or hell -- pick our cotton. It's an immigration policy designed for the expressed intent of fashioning a government sanctioned 21st Century indentured servant underclass.The president has a bizarre pathology. Rather than actually doing his job (naturally exuding the traits required for the presidency), he substitutes telling us what his job is and what his responsibilities are. Rather than having any real ideas, he gives us condescending (yet ham-fisted) overviews of government policy-making with the notion that we’ll somehow be wowed by how crazy and complex Washington is, and thus sympathetic to his plight of trying to reform it. And rather than admitting a mistake, he twists the mistake into the solution (he's going to fix his vetting process by continuing to vet – or fix No Child Left Behind by expanding it to high schools).One other thing by way of a non sequiter: What’s wrong with his jaw?