May 8, 2006

"I would say the best moment was when I caught a 7-1/2-pound largemouth bass on my lake."

That's our Bush, answering the question what was the "most wonderful moment" of his presidency. If you say he's an idiot, is he reeling you in?

99 comments:

Walt said...

Ann,

Well done. I just came across this quote as well. What can you say. Out of touch has been used so much that it is a givin.

All I know is that I had a "BlackHawk Down" deja vu when I heard about the British Helicopter shot down in southern Iraq. I think they were celevrating their big cathch as well.

Seven Machos said...

I once read an article about those full-page ads for Civil War memorial plates that you see in the Sunday newspaper magazines. The point of the article was that you and me, we think those ads are terrible. I mean, (A) who would buy such a thing? and (B) forgetting about the product, the ads are just tacky and poorly done.

Well, as the article suggested, those ads AREN'T AIMED AT YOU. You can snicker at them all you want. But note the same ads have been in the magazines for decades. The creators of those ads are successfully reaching their audience and compelling it to buy.

I think there is a similar dynamic here. So much of what Bush says isn't aimed at you, or me, or Ivy-educated professors at Big 10 law schools.

As far as Blackhawk Down, I doubt there will be anyone cutting and running any time soon.

Bissage said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bissage said...

It is physically impossible to imagine President Kerry responding with an answer so charmingly self-deprecating.

Ann Althouse said...

Seven Machos: Well put. I agree that it is not "Blackhawk Down." We have lost many helicopters, and it no longer leads to giving up. Even when accompanied by prancing, gleeful locals.

As to the for the fish, I think it was Bush's way of saying: I'm a modest guy. I'm not going to say anything about me is "wonderful."

Walt said...

I think you miss my point. The Iraq's were celebrating the death of thge helicipoter crew. When a tank came in for support, it was set afire. Keeping your head in the sand won't stop it. The only way to solve a problem is hit it full force. I don't know how, but I do know that your ignorant response of ignoring the obvious just wont do!

And then there's Hookergate.

Ann Althouse said...

Walt: And thinking back to Somalia, do you think there was any head-in-sand-putting when we left? And then there was the helicopter crash that ended the attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran, back in the Carter administration? How did that go, do you think? We don't miss your point. We disagree with you.

Eric Muller said...

I agree with the President.

Seven Machos said...

Walt -- I'm quite sure I disagree with you also but I must also admit that you have lost me.

Focus, man! Focus!

MadisonMan said...

I agree with the President.

(laugh)

Echoing what 7m says, I have to wonder: what part of the Bush constituency has such low expectations of the Presidency, where apparently just showing up is enough? Wow.

Walt said...

My point is this. Iraq isn't getting better, and we are not changing our tactics to fix the problem. I know my limitations, so I know I don't have a solution. I do know we need a new one, so don't dismiss bad news as isolated incidents. They are not isolated, and we are not loved over there. Our leaders need to address the reality and come up with a plan that makes sense. I have yet to hear one. Does anyone think we need more troops on the ground?

Ann - do you think the current course will end with a self-sustaining Iraqi gov that we can approve of in the next 5 years?

bearbee said...

Texas leg-pulling. Bush has at times an odd sense of humor in which he does not let in on the joke.
Who hasn't on occasion made an oblique reply to a question that was calculated to interrupt the predictable flow of the conversation? And who would believe that catching a fish would be the "most wonderful moment" of a presidency?

It would be interesting to see how the German paper presented it.

Seven Machos said...

Madison Man: Talk about missing the point.

What could Bush have said? He could have said chasing terrorists out of Afghanistan, overthrowing a terribly tyrant, spreading democracy around the world, fighting Jihadists and killing them, overseing a drastic economic recovery even despite the terrible blow of 9/11, two Supreme Court justices, his daughters' graduations, education reform, semi-permanent tax cuts -- he could have said any of these things and more.

Instead he chose to say something humble, modest, funny, and self-deprecating, something he obviously doesn't believe (because it's not that big a fish, which dopey leftists who only shop at Whole Foods would never catch). And what do the lefties do: they take it at face value and try to mock it. they try to mock a self-deprecating joke. Talk about irony!

Ann Althouse said...

Walt: I'm not a military expert, so there is absolutely no way I can give competent advice on how to win the war. But we must win the war.

Walt said...

I am just glad Bush had a chance to look into her soul like he did with Putin a few years back. He is amazing.

Seven Machos said...

Walt: "We must win the war! We must change tactics! I have no idea how to win the war or how to change tactics, and thus my contribution to any discussion related to this topic amounts to exactly nothing, but don't think for a minute that I will stop complaining about the war and the tactics. It is my right as a citizen to contribute nothing, to bear no burden, to pay no price, only and exclusively to ask what government can do for me."

MadisonMan said...

I think it's a losing proposition ever to answer such a question, as no one will be content. But he could have said: My Presidency isn't over yet, I expect more wonderful things are coming. Or he could have said that he's not the type of individual to dwell on things, or to rank them.

He could have said something with just a nugget of truth in it. That's all I want.

CB said...

Regarding the infamous Bush quote from a few years ago (from memory) "I call on all the nations of the world to join the fight against terrorism--now watch this drive," I always gave Bush the benefit of the doubt and figured he was saying, "I'm trying to play golf here; leave me alone, this interview is over." This time, I don't know. I'd love to think he was mocking the question--"most wonderful moment?"--or trying to be folksy, but I'm pretty sure he really is that clueless.

Seven Machos said...

But, Madison Man: you don't like Bush and you are never happy with what he says. This really isn't fair.

Seven Machos said...

cb -- Get real. No one who graduated from Andover (or Exeter, or whichever), and Yale, and Harvard, and was elected governor of Texas and president of the United States can be clueless. That is such a drastic thing to say and, since you really don't mean it (think about what clueless entails), you should rescind it.

I personally think trading Sammy Sosa was a good move as well. He just should have got some pitching.

Walt said...

Nice. I see what you mean. Shut up and quit complaining. It's like I just peered into your soul and understood you mean well and that is all that matters.

I am not complaining for complaint's sake. I am complaining, because we have been in this ending throws of the insurgency for almost three years, and we have stopped the blood-letting. Why can't we get someone in charge that will end it? Lincoln resorted to a mean drunk that was willing to roll up his sleeves and do the dirty work. If we are going to stay, then let's do it right.

Perhaps, and this is only an outlandish guess, but perhaps it is more profitable to keep a small war going then end it with real force.

Troy said...

Geez -- lighten up Francis! For an outdoorsman -- a big bass is a great moment -- especially when he doesn't get to fish on his own lake all that often.

Think about it -- the hardest job in the world (Rep. or Dem.) the guy has some solitude, relative peace and quiet. Isn't it possible that this is a great moment? Almost every moment in his life is fraught with momentous consequences....

So he doesn't give the textbook moment. Didn't we have that with Clinton?

The fact that you guys have your panties in a twist is the very reason why it's a beautiful answer. No answer would please everybody so make it simple and personal and let the major-leaguers howl.

MadisonMan said...

7m, I have pretty low expectations from any politician, but the two things I really want are truth and a little restraint when it comes to spending my money. Is it any wonder I find Bush less than appealing?

Seven Machos said...

If you are saying that we should have used and should use more and more deadly force, I am with you. I completely agree. Killing and maiming is how you win wars. Ask the South, the Japanese, and Dresden.

However, there is a flip side to this. The American Civil War was an inra-country struggle, and Lincoln did not or did not have to worry about world opinion. Dresden and Hiroshima came at the end of WWII, and in a far more black and whote, less multi-polar world. Further, there is the French example in Algeria, apparently studied by future generals for its failure. The French slaughtered and tortured and imprisoned people by the thousands. And it got them nothing. And the place is still a hole.

My basic rule would be that the United States military doesn't really want to fight you but we will absolutely annihilate you if we ever do.

J said...

"I think there is a similar dynamic here. So much of what Bush says isn't aimed at you, or me, or Ivy-educated professors at Big 10 law schools."

Glad to see your 0745 comment 7M. Though I wouldn't define the group you're trying to describe so narrowly, You know as well as I do that this one was aimed directly at them. Showing contempt for the "urban intellectual class" can't do anything but help the president.

"do you think the current course will end with a self-sustaining Iraqi gov that we can approve of in the next 5 years?"

I have no idea. I'm pretty sure our enemies there aren't going to meekly comply with some plan we come up with, but I wasn't one of those people who thought Iraq would turn into some Norman Rockwell fantasy 20 minutes after we deposed Hussein either, so maybe I'm biased. And the fact that things have gotten worse in Baghdad since the beginning of the war is hardly surprising, since many of the resources devoted to operating that city are now distributed to other areas. You may have noticed we're still in Germany and Japan 60 years later, so it might be awhile.

Old Dad said...

Our friendly reporter suggests that the President appeared to be joking. Seems about right.

But then our ink stained wretch proceeds to step in a Texas size cow pattie by questioning the relative merit of a 7 1/2 pound large mouth bass.

A record fish? No. A big fish, hell yes. Trust me on this. Landing a 7 1/2 pound large mouth, especially with ultralight tackle, will get your attention.

But as others on this thread have noted, about the only thing the President could do to please some folks is to die. Speaking of death, I can see the headlines now:

Bush Raises Lazarus From Dead: Morticians Hardest Hit

MadisonMan said...

about the only thing the President could do to please some folks is to die.

Oh please, no one sensible wants this. Please stick to reasonable hyperbole.

Seven Machos said...

My favorite lefty fantasy is how they are going to take back the House and Senate in 2006, and use all their poliical capital not to change foreign policy or implement socialized healthcare, or raise taxes, but to impeach Bush. (Making Dick Cheney president!)

That's apocalyptic thinking right there.

bearbee said...

MadisonMan said...

"... but the two things I really want are truth and a little restraint when it comes to spending my money."

Amen. The fiscal policies are a disaster. We are drowning in debt and increasingly in hock to the Chinese government. The economy is being kept afloat by keeping open the money spigot, plunging us further into debt.

Old Dad said...

Madison,

"No one sensible."

That's right. Go read the Daily Kos comment section and report back on relative sensibility.

Seven Machos said...

I do fret that we are losing too much manufacturing, and I think it would be better to have a strong dollar (not too much Bush can do about the latter).

Don't get me wrong, I worry about China, but not about being "in hock." China is buying treasury bonds at horrendous interest rates. That means China is loaning us money at really low interest rates. We could money; they get a promise to pay later at a rate less than most countries' inflation rates. This is really a sweet deal for the United States.

Too Many Jims said...

Like almost everything else about Bush I think how one feels about the quot depends almost entirely on how one feel's about the President. If one does not like him, the quote shows he is an out of touch simpleton who has so failed at being president that the best moment of his presidency relates to a small fish. If one likes the President, the quote shows that he is a self-deprecating, humble "man of the people".

I can imagine that if Clinton said, for example, that the best moment of his presidency was: "When I took that vacation wit Hilary and Chelsea. And no I don't mean the one after Hilary publicly found out about Monica." I suspect if he did say such a thing, people would have similarly polarized responses.

Personally, I think there is probably more than a grain of truth in what Bush said. After all, the question was about the most wonderful "moment" not "accomplishment". If I was president, I suspect that any relatively quiet moment would be wonderful (though as Sabato notes, you would think mentioning a quiet moment with his wife might have won a few points on that front).

Seven Machos has made several interesting points. First he suggests that much of what Bush says (an presumbly this quote) is not aimed at us. I presume by this that Seven means by this that the fish commet may be directed to the subset of the population that finds wonder in the simple pleasure of catching a fish (or perhpas the simple pleasure of being modest and self-deprecating). I would buy that take if this were an interview with Field and Stream or Time but this was an intereview with a German periodical. I realize that Bush could have said it knowing that it would be translated into German then translated back into English in news reports in the States but if he was doing an interview to put his best foot forward in Germany I think this kind of signalling may be counterproductive.

More interestingly, Seven opines that Bush said "something he obviously doesn't believe". This sounds like a curious thing for a supporter of the President to say. What Seven is saying is that the President is a liar (albeit about something rather unimportant).

Walt said...

Perhaps China will rival the Saudi's in who has the most investment in the United States. If taken together, I wonder if they are the largest shareholders?

Seven Machos said...

It was a self-deprecating comment. Self-deprecation is, by its nature, lying, unless a person really feels they are inferior.

Let's take Lou Holtz, who was once football coach at mighty Notre Dame. Holtz was famous for saying how awesome his next opponent would be. So, you'd have a 1-7 Stanford squad coming to South Bend, and all week long Holtz would talk about how this was the toughest, most dangerous game of the year. Then Notre Dame would win 42-3.

Nobody really believes that they don't do wonderful things, especially politicians. But it's also impolitic to be seen as bragging. If you want to call it a lie, go ahead.

I do like the distinction between "moment" and "accomplishment." Perhaps Bush was making a sophisticated distinction. Nah! Couldn't be! He's clueless.

Ann Althouse said...

I'd also make a distinction between "wonderful" and "important."

David said...

Bush has a way of keeping things in perspective. He differentiates between fighting and what we fight to protect. We all do things that make our lives enjoyable. Those are precisely the things the Islamic murderers want to take away from us. If Atwar Bahjat was still doing what she enjoyed doing, reporting for Iraqi media, she would have a best moment.

On a lighter note, I immediately equated the largemouth bass with the White House press corps.

By the way, helicopters crash all the time. That is their nature and why a crew chief told me once: "Don't worry kid, we can autorotate to a landing." Getting shot down is part of the risks in war.

If you want to talk about out-of-touch, talk to a Kennedy.

Walt said...

And I thought the large mouth bass was his base.

Too Many Jims said...

Ann said ... I'd also make a distinction between "wonderful" and "important."

True but I would go back to the nature of a "moment". It is fleeting in nature. I suppose a list of "important moments" in this Presidency might include: the moment he found out the towers were hit, the moment he stood on the rubble (though that may be "wonderful" as well), the moment that Saddam's statue fell and the moment Saddam was captured. (This is not an exhaustive list obviously.)

You could include the "moment" that Afghanis/Iraqis participated in elections but even that is over the course of at least a day. Can a day be a moment?

Other importnat "moments" might include the "moment" he decided ultimately to go to war in Afghanistan or Iraq but if he was recalling this he might be able to recall "a" moment that the decision was made. It is quite possible that one would not recall this as a moment.

Perhaps more importantly is the fact he did not participate or witness many of these moments. For example even if toppling Saddam Hussein's statue was one of the most important moments because it symbolized toppling Saddam, he didn't experience it himself. Rather he experienced it through media.

Ann Althouse said...

Jim: I think "wonderful" is the more troubling word in the question, the reason he went to the fish. It implies that he got personal fulfilment out of it.

bearbee said...

Full text showing below the last 3 questions of the interview:

Q Three last very short questions. What was the most wonderful moment in your terms of being President so far, and what was the most awful moment?

THE PRESIDENT: The most awful moment was September the 11th, 2001.

Q The famous picture when somebody gave you the information?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that. I think, like all of us, it took a while for the -- it was more than a moment. It was the event and the aftermath. On a situation like that, it takes a period to understand exactly what was going on. When somebody says, America is under attack, and -- you've got to fully understand what that meant. And the information coming was haphazard at best for a while. We weren't sure if the State Department got hit. I'd heard the White House had got attacked. Of course, I was worried that -- my family was here.

And so I would say the toughest moment of all was after the whole reality sunk in and I was trying to help the nation understand what was going on, and at the same time, be empathetic for those who had lost lives.

The best moment was -- you know, I've had a lot of great moments. I don't know, it's hard to characterize the great moments. They've all been busy moments, by the way. I would say the best moment was when I caught a seven-and-a-half pound large mouth bass on my lake. (Laughter.)

Q Perfect.

Q Very last question -- you're a great sports fan.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am.

Q How important is the international World Cup in Germany? And what is your personal take on who will be at the end, the world champion?

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, the World Cup is a -- first of all, most Americans, up until recently, didn't understand how big the World Cup is. And we're beginning to understand. And the reason why is, a lot of us grew up not knowing anything about soccer, like me. I never saw soccer as a young boy. We didn't play it where I was from. It just didn't exist. I can't even

-- I'm thinking about all the -- between age six, when I can remember sports, and 12 or 13, I just never saw soccer being played.

And so there's a generation of us that really weren't fanatic. There's a new generation of Americans that did grow up on soccer. And there's obviously a huge interest amongst that crowd in the World Cup. And some of us older guys are now beginning to understand the significance of the World Cup around the world. It is the major sporting event worldwide. And it's got to be a great honor for Germany to host the event. And I'm confident that the German people will do a magnificent job of welcoming people from around the world.

And, of course, my team is the U.S. team. They tell me we've got a good team. Now, whether it's good enough to win it all, who knows? But I know they'll try their hardest.

Q Mr. President, thank you very much.

Jacques Cuze said...

I think it was a wonderful comment, an important comment. I would expect a big boost in his approval ratings, from 32% to well, maybe back up above 1/3 to 36%.

Now if we could somehow get rid of the BDS in the other 2/3rds of the country that HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE our president than all would be swell and we could conclude our war on Eastasia.

Damned liberal media that is always hating on our president and suppressing his wit and wisdom!

ShadyCharacter said...

Quxxo, time to up the meds again...

Jacques Cuze said...

But we must win the war.

Dear Professor, can you be more specific?

1) War against Al Qaeda
2) Civil war in Iraq
3) War on drugs at home
4) War on poverty at home
5) War on teh ghey in our schools
6) War on liberal media
7) War on liberal mind suckers in our nation

8) Some combination of the above?

ChrisO said...

I think it was an idiotic comment, and not because it shows that he's done nothing important in his Presidency. To follow up the answer he gave about 9/11 with the fish story is jarring, to say the least. But the reason I think it was idiotic is because he's a guy who needs all of the help he can get, and he had an opportunity to focus back on some of the good things his administration has done. But I really believe that he's so uncomfortable trying to articulate his thoughts that he falls back on little jokes. Self deprecation is fine, but it's not a virtue in and of itself.

I happen to think one of the most important roles for the President is communicator in chief. He needs to articulate the course of his policies to the country and the world. Wiht all of the things he needs to communicate to a German audience, he dropped the ball. He is one of the worst communicators we have had in the White House since Nixon.

And I love the comparison to Kerry. Kerry isn't my favorite politician of all time, but I have to agree. he probably wouldn't have given an answer that made him sound like Andy of Mayberry. We get it. Bush is a regular guy. Is that really all you're looking for in a President?

As much as Bush's supporters would like to portray him as loveable George, it's not him and the regular folks against us liberal elites. He's got to understand that even the bass fishermen have turned on him, and he's not going to get them back with folksy schtick.

tjl said...

Chris O said:

"even the bass fishermen have turned on him, and he's not going to get them back with folksy schtick."

The presidency is no bed of roses, as anyone can tell from comparing photos taken early and late in the terms of any of the modern incumbents. Bush's time in office, especially the last year or so, must have been like lying on a bed of nails. Perhaps we can take the fish comment at face value, as an attempt by an inarticulate man to express a painful truth.

Jacques Cuze said...

see how three presidents answered the question "what was the best moment of your presidency?"

to summarize:

carter: the camp david negotiations

clinton: the resolution of the kosovo crisis

bush: that time i caught a big fish on my ranch

Pogo said...

Quxxo-beta demonstrates how no answer Bush gave would be acceptable. His non-answer was unaccepatable, and pointing to any action or decision would be similarly attacked. MadisonMan is wrong.

I would have preferred he said: Wonderful moment? When I flew onto the boat deck and said "Mission Accomplished!", and then served a plastic turkey.

And by the way, didn't anyone else think he was channeling Napolean Dynamite? I caught you a delicious bass.

verification word ehopez:
Ehopez quxxo-symbol has taken his Paxil today.

Seven Machos said...

Symbol Guy, so you really hate the president and you were he were not president. You've made that clear.

Let's try to move forward, anyway. Are you going to keep beating your head against the wall and changing nmanes hoping someone will pay attention to you. Or do you have anything interesting or thoughtful to add the discussion?

Jacques Cuze said...

Also, Professor, when you write "we must win this war" would you please let us know:

A) Please define "win". What is the upside to winning the war? What is the downside to winning the war?
B) What losing the war looks like?
C) Any alternatives between winning and losing
D) What you believe is the expected probabilities of A, B, and any of C

E) Please define "must" -- are you willing to serve if asked? Are you for a draft should our leaders tell us that is necessary? Are you for the first use of nukes to counter Iran's nuclear program

F) In your experience as a civilian observer (Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia, Desert Storm, Gulf War I, Operation Iraqi Liberation) what are the three biggest domestic impediments to our progress so far.

Thank you

Abraham said...

I can only guess, but I suspect that it was not self-deprecation at all, but the truth. I get the impression from many little observations that Bush does not really enjoy being the President. He understands the importance of it, of course, and seems to try to do what he thinks is right, but I just don't get the sense that he relishes it and is energized by politics. Instead, it wouldn't surprise me if he simply finds it thankless and exhausting. I suppose that even when he accomplishes something good, it might be stained with outcome of things that did not turn out so good. Somewhat the way, for example, that military leaders do not take much joy in the accomplishment of their missions, when it comes at the price of the lives of their men.

It's also likely that he was having trouble instantly choosing just one thing, knowing that whatever he chose would be controversial, so he chose the last moment when he was most happy. If he doesn't enjoy the presidency, that may very well have been as he described.

Jacques Cuze said...
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Jacques Cuze said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tibore said...

"I doubt his wife will be pleased," Sabato added. "If he wasn't going to name some official moment, the least he could have done was name some moment with Laura."

Good grief! He cracks a little joke and and someone's humor-challenged enough to want to nitpick his choice of subjects??

Tibore said...

Whoops... I just realized that my post can be taken in the wrong light. I'm not making a snarky aside about any comments that appear here above mine. Honestly, I just jumped directly from the story to the comments box here, so I'm only judging that U of Virginia guy who got quoted.

Wade_Garrett said...

Yeah, this President's a regular guy. A regular guy who OWNS A LAKE!

When I go fishing on my own personal lake, I throw anything under 9 pounds back into the water, because I know I can do so much better! ;-)

Seven Machos said...

Symbol Guy -- I'm sorry Ann Althouse gave you that D so many years ago.

"We must win the war" means that we cannot accept losing the war. The war means the various fronts in the war against Jihadism, where Jihadists are tyrannical Muslims bent on fighting the West. It's simple, really. And splitting hairs about it is a stupid exercise.

Again, you hate the president and hate the war. That's cool, man. A lot of people agree with you, though nothing near 65 percent; do you really believe that 65 percent of the very people who delivered the congress and the presidency to Bush's party 18 months before now shares your hatred of Bush and the Republicans?

One more point: Ann Althouse isn't eligible for the draft. I suspect you aren't, either. Why not limit your questions to the realm of possibility?

Thorley Winston said...

Beebear, thanks for the partial transcript that shows both the question and answer in context. It seems a like a perfectly appropriate response to the question.

Eli Blake said...

Uh, Seven Machos:

51% voted for Bush, not 65%. And his party didn't even break a net 50% in house races across the country, winning only a plurality (exaggerated in terms of the number of seats won somewhat by gerrymandering). And if you add up all the votes for all 100 of the last time around Senate races, Democrats have actually come out ahead (Republicans control the Senate because they control the Senate seats of more small states-- a Senator from Wyoming has just as much pull as a Senator from California).

So your assertion that 65% of voters voted for the President and congress the last time around is false.

Republicans did win the 2004 elections, I will give you that. But that is all you can claim.

A 65% win in either the Presidency or Congress would be a historically unprecedented landslide.

Finn Kristiansen said...

ß said... ..........
Oh darn, I can't remember what he said. Okay new rambling point for me.

I have a niece, currently flunking her way through Arizona State (as in, skipping all classes this semester to hang out with her boyfriend who goes to Devry) who can spit a load of venom regarding how unintelligent Bush.

This, despite the fact that she, and Bush, had identical SAT scores, and he actually finished college, however mediocre his grades. I think a lot of critics are similarly intellectually situated; throwing stones that ought to be boomerangs.

Bush is not a brain and policy wonk like Clinton, nor articulate (and neither was his father), but as Seven Machos suggested, you don't get to where he has gotten on pure stupidity, which is what a lot of people accuse him of.

He was probabily trying to exit the interview on a casual, serene note, and opted to keep it simple.

He might have said: We toppled the Talaban; we deposed a dictator; we mainted low unemployment and lifted the stock market to a six year high during two wars and the worst natural disaster; we passed education legislation that has lifted the quality of teachers; we maintained continual pressure on Sudan; we picked two capable Supreme Court judges; we AVOIDED what could be ubber bloody wars with North Korea and Iran; we formented democratic activism in Lebanon and other locales, and we made an attempt at some medicare reform."

But picking any of those invites more questions, especially if the press is not particularly your friend. If you talk about a fish, how can they critique it?

Seven Machos said...

Uh, Eli: read more carefully. Here is what I said:

"[D]o you really believe that 65 percent of the very people who delivered the congress and the presidency to Bush's party 18 months before now shares your hatred of Bush and the Republicans...?"

Symbol Guy's argument is that polls show President Bush at about 35 percent approval. Therefore, Symbol Guy say, 65 percent of the people hate the prsident. This is Symbol Guy's argument, not mine.

It is very unlikely that 65 percent of the people hate the president now when 51 percent of them voted for the president 18 months ago. This would mean that all 49 percent of the people who voted against Bush hate him and continue to hate him, and that an additional 14 percent now have gone from voting for him to hating him. Unrealistic.

Any other arguments you'd like for me to clear up for you, you let me know. Okay?

Finn Kristiansen said...

Eli Blake said...
Uh, Seven Machos:

51% voted for Bush, not 65%.


I am not good at math, but I think you have misquoted Seven Machos in your response, as he never says 65% of the people voted for Bush, does he? I suspect that Seven's response about the 65%, on close reading, and in response to the "B" person, actually does not quite make mathematical sense.

Further, in terms of raw people support, Bush Senior got more of the vote than Clinton did in at least one of the elections, where he won about 43% of the vote, and with a majority of people (approx. 19% for Perot, approx. 37% for Bush senior) voting for others. Did that give Clinton cooties? Was it wrong? Does it really matter how you win? Talk of mandates aside, you will generally do what you want to do when elected.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Oops, I should have refreshed screen before posting. Seven Machos saves himself.

Seven Machos said...

Thanks, Finn. I should have said 16 percent have to go from voting for Bush to hating him, which is almost one-third of all the people who voted for him.

bearbee said...

Seven Machos said... I do fret that we are losing too much manufacturing, and I think it would be better to have a strong dollar (not too much Bush can do about the latter).

Don't get me wrong, I worry about China, but not about being "in hock." China is buying treasury bonds at horrendous interest rates. That means China is loaning us money at really low interest rates. We could money; they get a promise to pay later at a rate less than most countries' inflation rates. This is really a sweet deal for the United States.


It is nice that we are getting loans on the cheap but ultimately it must be repaid. I do not relish the US being in the position of the worlds largest debtor nation particularly when a large portion of our borrowing is to finance entitlements rather than revitalizing infrastructure or developing new industries and technologies. Our trade imbalance is horrendous. We are buying the products of other countries and even buying back the products of American companies made overseas. What happens when we have nothing to sell? I am not an economist but even I know if you no longer have something to barter you become poor.

MadisonMan said...

What happens when we have nothing to sell?

The Republican party cares nothing about the future. If it did, it would show more fiscal responsibility.

Actually, I'd settle for any fiscal responsibility.

Jacques Cuze said...

PoliceMan, you're right I was wrong.

It's not at all 35%, it's only 31% that approve the of President.

I don't say that 65% of the American Public hate the President. I say that that is your argument when you and bloggers all cry "Bush Derangement Syndrome" any time someone disagrees with you or the President.

I agree with you that it is illogical to think that 69% of the US hates the US or hates the President.

But apparently 69% do not approve of the president. 65% actively disapprove of the President.

I am glad, Mr. DoctorMan, that you agree with me. 69% of America is not insane, or irrational, or illogical, or suffering from BDS.

But we all disapprove of Mr. Divider Man.

Divider man, Divider man
Doing the things a divider can
What’s he like? it’s not important
Divider man

ChrisO said...

I actually do think that 16 percent of the people that voted for Bush have now turned against him. Your use of the loaded word "hate" makes this seem unlikely, but Bush gets slammed in every poll on almost every count. A significant majority of the people think he's a bad president and don't trust him to do the job. The fact that people voted for him doesn't mean they're fans for life. I don't think it's at all a stretch to say that 16 percent of his support has abandoned him.

And Finn Christiansen, if I read you correctly, are you stating as fact that Bush senior got more votes than Clinton, because you are arbitrarily assigning all of Perot's votes to Bush? Now that's a leap. I have read authoritative polls that say Perot voters split 50-50 between the two candidates when asked who they would have voted for if Perot wasn't in the race.

Jacques Cuze said...
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Smilin' Jack said...

quxxo: you've missed an obvious angle here: Bush's "wonderful moment" involved torturing an innocent animal to death. Invoke PETA on the cruelty of fishing and Ann's post on D. F. Wallace's article regarding boiling lobsters. Then segue to Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, etc.

Do I have to do your job for you?

Jacques Cuze said...
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Jacques Cuze said...

Do I have to do your job for you?

That would be nice, thank you. Actually I know a lot of people laughing at the notion of the president catching a big fish in a pond that is stocked with fish. It is slightly more honest than the veep shooting 71 quails in their pens.

Fish in a barrel and flightless quails in a pen.

Ooh, these are the brave smart sharpshooters that keep us safe.

To be fair, Cheney was most likely drunk when he killed them quail.

Palladian said...

Does everyone know that ß is a German ligature for SS?

Jacques Cuze said...

S'okay Illudium-Q36, it's already rotated, we're just waiting for blogger to catch up. Thanks for your concern.

Elizabeth said...

7M, sure, he could have said any of those things, but then they'd be up for argument. There are still terrorists in Afghanistan. We shorted our efforts in that country to depose the tyrant in Iraq. Spreading democracy? Up for debate. Semipermanent tax cuts haven't helped me by a single red cent. That fish story sounds more than "charmingly self-deprecating" (talk about Bush Derangement Syndrome, there's a great example of it); it's a fine dodge of anything of substance. There's your Bush years in a nutshell. The fishing was good.

CB said...

Palladian,
sz, actually.

Seven Machos,
re: your comment way back when, it is entirely possible to be well-educated and clueless. I don't think Bush is stupid, but I do think he can politically tone-deaf, and I think here he needlessly blew an opportunity to make a positive impression to the world. He seems to do this a lot, and that's why I think he's clueless.

Tibore said...

Holy...! Now that I've read all this, I'm beaten into a daze. For the love of God, folks, this was a JOKE!!! And yet, everyone's using this an an opportunity to rehash their personal favorite Bush-peeve!

Bush: "...I caught a 7-1/2-pound largemouth bass on my lake."

Some folks here:
"OHMIGODIRAQLIARCLUELESSIDIOTPOLL
STUPIDPOLICYDEBTECONOMYAFGHANISTAN
ALQUEDAWARRATINGSDRUNKCHEANEY
HOLYS***OMGWTFBBQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Good grief, folks... Lighten up, will'ya? When I said "humor-challenged" in my last post, I was originally only applying it to the guy that was quoted, but it looks like it applies to more than just him.

Going to go wipe the spittle off my face now... in other news, thanks for the preparation, folks. I'm ready to wander through Kos and LGF territory now.

Bissage said...
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Bissage said...

Elizabeth: Please think of me as a cockeyed optimist.

I'm with Tibore. It was probably just a little joke to keep things light. Was there some truth in it? Of course. Isn't that what wit is all about?

Frankly, some of the commenters here seem to think the President has a nondischargeable duty to justify his very existence, in public, every second of the day.

I'm not saying anybody has to like Bush43. But I do. He strikes me as an okay guy. I think his fish answer was a polite, perfectly appropriate response to an intrusive personal question. He's a politician, so he answered it. He's a good politician so he answered it with a deflection. I think most people would have said, "That's none of your business."

Jacques Cuze said...
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Elizabeth said...

What's intrusive about asking a president about the high points of his years in office?

It's not Bush that mystifies me when he utters things like this, it's the reaction of his parishioners.

Bissage said...

Elizabeth: A fair question deserves a fair answer. According to the article, the interviewer asked the President to "name the 'most wonderful moment' of his presidency, . . ."

The interviewer did not ask what was his greatest professional accomplishment, or some functional equivalent. She asked for his "most wonderful moment."

"Most" is a superlative. "Wonder" is an emotion. A "moment" is a timeslice of the heart. She was asking for him to disclose his personal feelings. And not just any feelings but his very most special, intimate feelings.

He politely declined the invitation. I respect him for that. Say what you will, he's no media whore. He may be fallible, but he is not crassly manipulative.

Phila said...

Instead he chose to say something humble, modest, funny, and self-deprecating, something he obviously doesn't believe (because it's not that big a fish, which dopey leftists who only shop at Whole Foods would never catch).

For a perch, it's a world record. Half that weight is huge for a perch. I guess you're comparing it to a striped bass, maybe? Fish are fish, I guess?

And Whole Foods sells whole fish by the pound. Why would people who shop there necessarily not know what a given fish weighs?

I don't think you've thought this through very carefully. You want Bush to be self-deprecating, so you've invented a narrative in which his monster perch story fulfills your wishes. You want to bash "dopey leftists," so you assume that none of 'em fish, and that no one who shops at WF knows what a perch would weigh...even as you demonstrate your own ignorance about the average size of perch.

It's baffling.

Jacques Cuze said...

Phila, there's a good chance a mistake was made in translation. What do we know of Bush's lake?

In the midst of his 1999 campaign run, the man who was once a Yale cheerleader scuffed up and spit-polished his Texas twang. Shortly before he was elected, he bought a sixteen-hundred-acre pig farm in Crawford, Texas, and transformed it into an old family homestead, complete with a man-made lake stocked with largemouth bass cross-bred so that they’re easy to catch.

Guffaw. Stocked with largemouth bass cross-bred so that they're easy to catch.

Bonus question: what happened to George that made him so skered of horsies?

Bissage said...

Phila: I'm pretty sure we're talking about a bigmouth, here.

Jacques Cuze said...

Phila: I'm pretty sure we're talking about a bigmouth, here.

Oh, I can guarantee we're talking about a big mouth here.

Bissage said...
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Bissage said...

Number 6: Thanks, but I don't want to tussle.

Be seeing you.

P.S. I appreciate your allusions. Today's were excellent!

Eli Blake said...

Ann, I hate to tell you this, but the New York News reeled you in by publishing the 'White House version' in which they made the correction already. Bush actually said 'perch.' The actual interview is here

In the last line, Bush says,

"der allerbeste Moment war, als ich einen Siebeneinhalb-Pfund-Barsch aus meinem See geangelt habe."

'Barsch' is 'perch,' not 'largemouth bass' (although the fish was a large mouth bass-- proving that the President isn't much of a fisherman.)

Stephen C. Carlson said...

'Barsch' is 'perch,' not 'largemouth bass'

Uh-oh, I guess I'd better return my Harper-Collins German-English dictionary, then, because its entry for English "bass" is "Barsch."

Of course, Bush wasn't speaking German, so what "Barsch" means is not so germane.

XWL said...

So to the Bu$hHitler folks this quote is more proof of his lack of fitness for the position, and the hell that the world has descended to, these past six years.

Meanwhile, outside of the environs of the 'reality-based', we have a clear example of a man who defines himself as a person first, President second.

Ask the same question at about the same point in his administration of Pres. Clinton and he would have talked about his great 'success' in brokering 'peace' between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Which is more illusory, the 'peace' and 'prosperity' of the Clinton Administration, or the peace and joy of reeling in a good sized fish?

Elizabeth said...

Bissage, if that's how you understand the word "wonderful," then your response makes sense to me. We are at odds, there, though, which explains why we have different impressions.

Wonder is more than an emotion; it is used as a noun, an adverb, and an adjective. In all cases, it has a main meaning of expressing something awesome, marvelous, surprising; but it is also used as frequently to mean as an adjective meaning exceedingly, very, fine, excellent and so forth. That's how I take this question: What's the most important moment in your presidency? What was best? There's nothing out of line about that at all, nothing emtionally intrusive.

michael a litscher said...

Walt: My point is this. Iraq isn't getting better, and we are not changing our tactics to fix the problem.

Al Qaida in Iraq disagrees with you. But hey, don't let facts get in the way of a good Bush bashing.

Bissage said...

Elizabeth: Fair enough. Words can be tricky.

knoxgirl said...

thanks, Tibore, you took the words right out of my mouth and gave me a good laugh at the same time.

uh, I mean, HOW DARE YOU avoid the tough questions by making a light-hearted post!!!!

SippicanCottage said...

Parsing innocuous comments for deep meaning is a waste of time. A president is not an oracle.

I can't remember a president who talked more clearly about what he was going to do, and then did it. Bush doesn't give arcane signals about what's he's up to. He just says it.

It's amusing, that some will actually go to the far reaches of this foolishness by finding evil in every thing a person does and every microscopic thing he says, and as a sort of necrotic cherry on top of his sundae of bile, blame the object of his impotent derisive hate for not "uniting" him to his cause.

Dude, he offered you his hand, and you spit in it.

It's an offhand comment about an innocuous thing translated from a foreign tongue spoken by a man not prone to using adjectives. Stone tablets optional, I'd say.

amba said...

It probably was his most wonderful moment. How many things in the conduct of the presidency of the United States could anyone ever feel that simply good about? I think he said a lot in those few words. I'm not a fan of his, but there are moments when I like him and this is one of them.

Andrew Foland said...

"Of course I'm only joking. It felt great to be part of bringing health care to so many seniors with our Medicare reform."

That is how a serious, dedicated, and yet modest person might answer the question, if they had something to be proud of, and yet trying to be a man of the people. You score your points with the leading joke, and then backtrack to seriousness.

And as I've been on the faculty of one of the schools mentioned, let me assure you it is possible to skate through Harvard and or Yale ( / Andover / etc) on pure stupidity. In fact the institutional memories (among students, not the nasty liberal faculty elite) at two of the three record many who have done so.

Bruce Hayden said...

What I don't think symbol guy realized was that both Clinton's and Carter's greatest moments were moments of personal triumph. In other words, they were great moments because they made them look good.

I, for one, don't want a president who is in it for the personal glory. I was frankly surprised at Carter here, but not Clinton. One of the things that I least liked about him was that it never seemed to be about what he could do for the country, but rather, how the presidency would benefit him. Carter, on the other hand, had seemed a bit more modest.

I really don't know why Bush wanted to be president. It obviously wasn't a long held goal, like it was for Clinton, Gore, and Kerry. I think he did want to change the country a bit. But I also sense that 9/11 changed things a lot for him. It went from being a job to being a mission. Not the presidency, but the war on terrorism, and trying to keep America safe.

I liked his statements. In this, he was quite modest. I like that much better than the self-importance shown by Clinton and (surprisingly) Carter. As Mr. Bush points out, it is the people's house he lives in. He is our servant, not the other way around.

p.s. Saying that we are losing the war in Iraq doesn't make it so. We aren't. Saying that there is a civil war there also doesn't make it so. There isn't one. Some sectarian violence, but not nearly as much as many expected.

We have a quarter of a million Iraqi troops under arms, with probably half that many police, all recruited and trained in the last couple of years. Zarkawi admitted recently that they had somewhere around a hundred or so fighters in the Baghdad area, giving us and the Iraqis better than 1000-1 odds in our favor. All they can do any more pretty much is blow up innocents, which has converted most of the clerics to preaching against al Qaeda in their mosques.

The war in Iraq is hardly won, but it is significant that they are delaying rotating in that brigade from Germany. This is going to most likely translate into a reduction of approximately 3,000 troops in early summer, when the troops they were to replace are rotated out. A small sign, but one, nevertheless, that we are winning, not losing, that war.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me clarify - the Shiite clerics have all along preached against Zarkawi and al Qaeda. After all, al Qadea is Sunni, and he considers them heretics.

But what has changed in the last six months or so is that a distinct majority of the Sunni clerics are now also preaching against al Qaeda. They realize that we aren't the ones indiscriminately killing innocents, including many children - al Qaeda is. And that is clearly against Islam.