When George W. Bush wants to assure himself that he’s exposed to a well-rounded assortment of views, he boldly reaches out to a diverse assembly of independent media professionals. He did so last Friday by calling in a group of pundits that would surely stimulate a healthy debate. Invited to this exclusive affair were:
- Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard
- Larry Kudlow of Kudlow & Co. on CNBC
- Michael Barone, senior writer for U.S. News and World Report
- Charles Krauthammer, a Washington Post and Weekly Standard columnist
- Kathleen Parker, syndicated conservative columnist.
This is the right-wing’s right-wing. Larry Kudlow was overjoyed to learn that he was in with the In Crowd. The Chicago Tribune describes Kudlow’s gleeful anticipation of the gathering:
“Kudlow says he is looking forward to his meeting with Bush for, if nothing else, a mood-check on how the guy is faring.”
Now that’s a real journalist. He’s not looking forward to the mundane tasks of asking questions on behalf of his audience, nor to delve into the complexities of the President’s policies and plans. Kudlow is much more interested in Georgie’s feelings and how he is holding up under the strain. But is it the strain of being widely considered the worst president in history; the strain of sending other people’s children to their doom? It must be so hard on him.
Meanwhile, Barnes reported Bush’s perspective on how best to persuade the nation that his “unpopular war” was still a really good idea. He said the President didn’t view talking about success as the “most useful tool.” Barnes writes that…
“Instead, Bush said, the most compelling case for persevering in Iraq is ‘what failure will look like.’“
Perhaps talking about success is not so useful when there is such a dirth of it in Iraq. Talking about failure is much more consistent with this administration’s history of hammering fear into an anxious populace.
Barnes also quotes Bush making one of the most hilariously hypocritical statements yet to emerge from a president who has already set records in hypocrisy:
“‘There are lots of talkers in Washington,’ he said. But he’s not one of them. ‘I’m not on the phone chatting with the people who write those stories,'” the president insisted.
No, he’s chatting with them in the White House. He is actually chatting with the people that write the stories as he tells them that he doesn’t chat with them. Could anything be more absurd? Well, yes. How about Fred Barnes reporting that he learned in a chat with the President that the President doesn’t engage in chats with folks like himself?
It’s a twisted brand of logic – don’t hurt yourself trying to figure it out. It’s the same twisted behavior that accounts for the President spending precious moments with a cabal of columnists that are already on board the sinking ship of Bush’s state. What could they possibly hope to gain by entertaining these hacks? Their opinions are already squarely aligned with the administration. Their audience consists of the 26 percenters that believe Bush was ordained by God to lead us into the Apocalypse.
This isn’t even good propaganda. It is, however, reminiscent of the Radio Day Bush hosted on the North Lawn of the White House last October, a few days before the mid-term elections. About three dozen mostly conservative radio gabbers took up residence in a tent (insert circus jokes here) to interview the likes of Rice, Rumsfeld, Rove, etc.
As the President’s myopia further constricts his vision, you have to wonder what inspires these foolish media fanfests. The only explanation is that Bush is desperately lonely and he can’t find anyone else that will talk to him. He’s been abandoned by voters, and Republicans in Congress are peeling away like a bad sunburn. He may have reached the point where all he does have is Laura and Barney – and I wouldn’t be too sure of Barney.
Update: The Pentagon’s doing it too.