Wednesday, April 14, 2004

What is a Press Conference for?

In my venture into neo-conland this morning I witnessed all sorts of folks not even defending the President's performance last night, but actually praising it. That's a little surprising if you are of the opinion that Press Conferences involve answering questions. Like this Q & A:
QUESTION: Mr. President, before the war, you and members of your administration made several claims about Iraq: that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators with sweets and flowers; that Iraqi oil revenue would pay for most of the reconstruction; and that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction but, as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, we know where they are.

How do you explain to Americans how you got that so wrong? And how do you answer your opponents who say that you took this nation to war on the basis of what have turned out to be a series of false premises?

BUSH: Well, let me step back and review my thinking prior to going into Iraq.

First, the lesson of September the 11th is that when this nation sees a threat, a gathering threat, we got to deal with it. We can no longer hope that oceans protect us from harm. Every threat we must take seriously.

Saddam Hussein was a threat. He was a threat because he had used weapons of mass destruction on his own people. He was a threat because he coddled terrorists. He was a threat because he funded suiciders. He was a threat to the region. He was a threat to the United States.

That's the assessment that I made from the intelligence, the assessment that Congress made from the intelligence. That's the exact same assessment that the United Nations Security Council made with the intelligence.

I went to the U.N., as you might recall, and said, either you take care of him, or we will. Any time an American president says, if you don't, we will, we better be prepared to. And I was prepared to.

Did he answer the question? Not one little bit. To me, it is arrogance to simply fail to answer someone's question then go off on a riff and talk about something else entirely. I would certainly be offended if a boss, a coworker, a student did the same. Why didn't the "liberal press" hold him accountable to answering questions?

Because they are not a liberal press, or maybe they are just bad at their jobs.

Regardless of the press role, Bush shows again his lack of accountability. Or maybe he just didn't understand the question, can't hold a train of thought together long enough to answer the actual question? That's the worrying part. We may have someone in the White House who actually doesn't understand the questions put to him.

Incidently, when they panned to Dick Cheney during the Press Conference I didn't see Dick's lips move once. At least that was impressive.