View Full Version : "Pace yourself, Jerry"

03-03-2006, 01:27 PM
An inspiring quote from der Buesch man

Slate’s John Dickerson is alarmed by Bush’s Katrina catalepsy

As he weighed in yesterday on the now-infamous video of Silent George Bush attending a pre-Katrina video conference, John Dickerson unleashed a burst of inadvertent clarity that perfectly encapsulates what’s wrong with Bush, the administration and the reporters who cover both.

Dickerson, the former Time Magazine Washington correspondent who now holds down the Ruminant desk at Slate, is shocked and alarmed by the president’s lack of engagement with the briefing from National Hurricane Center officials and then-FEMA chief Michael Brown (who is, terrifyingly, beginning to look like the most competent administration official involved in the response to Katrina). “I don’t know what question the president should have asked,” Dickerson plaintively writes toward the end of his column, “but shouldn’t he have asked something?”

Hmmm, yes; probably so. “What in the hell am I doing here” would be a good place to start. But that little cri de coeur pales next to something Dickerson wrote earlier in the piece.

We see the president all the time in public settings, giving speeches, shaking hands, looking concerned. But this footage is fascinating because it is the first video I can recall of the president at work in private. It’s our chance to see how the image of the president painted by his allies compares with the actual man. And the result is somewhat alarming. Based on what I’d been told by White House aides over the years, I expected to see the president asking piercing questions that punctured the fog of the moment and inspired bold action. Bush’s question-asking talents are a central tenet of the president’s hagiography. He may not be much for details, say aides, but he can zero in on a weak spot in a briefing and ask out-of-the-box questions. I have been repeatedly told over the years that he once interrupted a briefing on national defense to pose a 30,000-foot stumper: What is the function of the Department of Defense?

I don’t know what’s most distressing about those 163 words: that Dickerson believed what Bush allies told him about the president, that the president would interrupt a defense briefing to ask what the Pentagon is for, that the best and brightest of the 21st century were stumped by the question, that Bush aides thought the anecdote was so flattering to Bush that they told it repeatedly or that a veteran reporter can reference “the view from 30,000 feet” without the slightest hint of embarrassment or irony.

It seems wholly unlikely that anyone who actually witnessed the administration’s response to Katrina would have any expectation at all of seeing “the president asking piercing questions that punctured the fog of the moment and inspired bold action.” I mean, we saw what happened, and the boldest action taken by the administration came when Michael Chertoff was inspired to blame everything on Kathleen Blanco.

It’s tempting to think, or hope, that Dickerson is writing tongue in cheek, but he makes clear a bit later that no, he really did buy the bridge.

Perhaps the Katrina briefing was an aberration. But I worry that it isn’t. Those in the room with him during other briefings also say he didn’t ask very sharp questions then, either. Former anti-terrorism official Richard Clarke and Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill both wrote about Bush’s lack of curiosity. L. Paul Bremer’s account of his 14 months in Iraq as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority inadvertently paints a similar picture. In briefings, Bush offered a pep talk—”pace yourself, Jerry”—and questions about tangential issues like whether the new Iraqi leaders would thank the Americans for their sacrifice.

So. Okay. What we have here is an experienced Washington hand who has presumably been conscious during at least some of the past five years, and is only now — and only because he saw the frickin’ video — beginning to worry that Bush may not be quite as competent as those responsible for covering his ass say he is. Didn’t it ever occur to Dickerson that executives who consistently ask good questions eventually get good answers that lead to at least an occasional good outcome? Have there been any good outcomes?

That was a rhetorical question. I don’t expect a good outcome. Dickerson, though, against all odds, against all reason, still has hope:

Wednesday night, [Bush] responded to ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas’ questions about the slow federal response to Katrina by pointing out that the administration had learned the lessons of its failures. But learning lessons depends on asking questions—the right ones and a lot of them. Let’s hope one of the questions the president asked after the catastrophe was whether he had asked the right questions before it.

We’re not dealing with stupidity here; you can’t be that stupid and spit out that many at least superficially coherent sentences at one sitting. Maybe it’s just stress. Maybe it’s a spatial orientation problem that causes Dickerson to confuse “out of the box” and “off the wall.” Whatever the genesis, it also led him to join many of his colleagues in overlooking what some people would describe as a more critical aspect of the video: it proves Bush was lying when he said, days after Katrina hit, that no one anticipated the levees would fail.

Or maybe that lapse arises from a different problem. I don’t know. Reading his stuff is like crawling through a tunnel filled with disturbing, wriggly things. You should thank me for my sacrifice.

03-03-2006, 01:32 PM
Ed, please if you happen to read this....I've proof read it several times....and see no connection, no reference at all, to the Clinton BJ...come to think of it, not even to Chappaquedic.

03-03-2006, 06:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> Ed, please if you happen to read this....I've proof read it several times....and see no connection, no reference at all, to the Clinton BJ...come to think of it, not even to Chappaquedic. <hr /></blockquote>


03-03-2006, 06:33 PM
Thank you Wolfdancer. Have a short short story,and a poem coming your way next week. How is your brother?

03-04-2006, 12:12 AM
My brother is currently on the good side of his bi polar condition. He's pacing himself

Gayle in MD
03-04-2006, 09:47 AM
BWA HA HA HA HA....too funny! Thanks...

I heard one of the reporters say this week that Bush talks to the people like we're all stupid when he tries to explain his policies, and that it's because that's the way that his advisors have to explain the policies to him!

Gayle in Md.

Gayle in MD
03-04-2006, 10:17 AM
Thanks for the post Jack. Funny how Bush rushed back to Washington from the ranch to try to save a brain dead woman, whose family wanted to put out of her misery, after his collegue, Frist, rendered a medical opinion from a video tape,...... but it took him four days to learn that the levees broke, while over a thousand were dying, and longer still to set time aside for a flyover peek at the floating dead.

While using "Protecting Americans" and fear of terrorist attacks, as his strong point to get votes, he ruins a perfectly good FEMA system by merging it into Homeland Security, hence rendering it powerless under his incompetant HLS Director. The merging of the two cost us millions, and now neither are functioning efficiently. He's all for giving away our jobs, growing the government, welcoming illegal aliens, (Have you checked into Specter's Bill???? You won't believe it!) destroying our privacy rights in the name of safety with his illegal wire taps, then he turns around and gives Nuclear Rods to India, and sell our Ports to Arabs. If he has to suck up to the Indians who are taking our jobs, in order to form an Ally, in case of problems with Communist China, Pakistan, Iran, etc., which is the NEOCON arguement for his this last F up, the Trade treaty with India, then why isn't it dangerous for us to have Communist China and UAE owning our ports????

The Statements he made about Americans who lose their jobs to India when he spoke there this week, were absolutely outrageous!

I thought, BTW, that they kept paying Brown for so long, to shut him up, but it didn't work, they became more and more enthusiastic about using him for a scape goat. I'm glad he was able to clear his name, and that we can all see now that although there were two very inexperienced people in New Orleans, the Governor, and the Mayor, the most powerful, the President and the Director of HLS, were AWL! Maybe he should have flown over New Orleans in the new Presidential hellicopter he bought from FRANCE! instead of the Company in Connecticut which had built them and sold them to the White House in the Past, so he could have had a clearer, closer look at the floating dead.

Bush sells Nuclear Rods and American Jobs to India, in return for Mangos! What a genius idea!!!! Can't wait to get thsoe Mangos !

My theory is that while Bush was in College, and so doped up he didn't know where he was, the Communist Chinese, in the wee hours of the morning, sneaked into his room, and switched his body with the Cloned Bush they had created, or was it Saudi Arabia? At any rate, word up, some of the black housekeepers have leaked his frequent, middle of the night, wispers in his sleep,...."Death To America"

Gayle in Md.

03-04-2006, 01:11 PM
Neat cartoon...i missed the Specter bill....missed the lost jobs comments by Bush......but this Mango thing is certainly a big accomplishment for Bush......Rods for mangos.....sounds like a good trade off.....did you hear that Bill lied about Monica?

Gayle in MD
03-04-2006, 07:22 PM
You don't say? Damn, how'd I miss that one?

ROTFLMAO /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

03-06-2006, 07:42 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SnakebyteXX:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> Ed, please if you happen to read this....I've proof read it several times....and see no connection, no reference at all, to the Clinton BJ...come to think of it, not even to Chappaquedic. <hr /></blockquote>

http://b.im.craigslist.org/6R/NH/fBYPOsSWnrqpgY0QngmrMJ4Vzlwn.jpg <hr /></blockquote> /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif