Gaffed

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Bush Administration

President Bush’s performance at the APEC summit in Australia was really bad. He said OPEC for APEC, confused Australia with Austria, and was clearly disoriented when he tried to get off the stage. Here’s just the latter part of the speech, if you can stand watching:

This kind of sloppiness could be caused by many things, including Bush’s usual disdain for actually doing his job. He might be fatigued. Maybe the near beer is getting nearer.

Or maybe his bubble wrap is getting a little tight. Rosa Brooks writes in the Los Angeles Times:

The president is a lonely man. Once, he was surrounded by admirers and acolytes. There was Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell and Alberto Gonzales and Condi Rice and Karl Rove — many of them better known inside the White House by the affectionate but often unprintable nicknames assigned by their playful president. (Rove, you’ll recall, was “Turd Blossom.”) Yale University forgave Bush’s mediocre student record and gave him an honorary degree in 2001, and bright young Yale law graduates at the Justice Department struggled to acquire Texas drawls and develop legal rationales for White House criminality.

Those were the days.

It’s all so different now. Cheney is still there, but most of the rest of the rats are off the sinking ship. Rumsfeld and Gonzales walked the plank, but Powell marched off in disgust, as did a host of others. Rove left last week on a mission to find and destroy some other planet, and even the still-steadfast Rice hasn’t referred to Bush as her “husband” in several years.

Condi and George are back to just dating now, it seems.

Thomas DeFrank writes for the New York Daily News:

Bush’s latest bumbles came a couple of days after a Sydney newspaper quoted him as telling the Australian deputy prime minister “we’re kicking ass” in Iraq.

“It’s what happens when he gets tired,” an old friend observed.

Six hours later, in a routine photo session, South Korea President Roh Moo-hyun complained that Bush hadn’t made an explicit “declaration to end the Korean War just now. Did you say so, President Bush?” The 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, and South Korea wants a formal peace.

A visibly annoyed Bush replied: “I said it’s up to [North Korean President] Kim Jong Il…. He’s got to get rid of his weapons in a verifiable fashion.”

“If you could be a little bit clearer in your message,” Roh said.

“I can’t make it any more clear, Mr. President,” Bush said.

U.S. officials played down the exchange. “There was clearly something lost in translation,” National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters.

Let’s face it; Bush doesn’t do the diplomacy thing well. Or the President thing. Or even the human being thing.

And he’s never been the sharpest tack in the box, but a few more performances like this might indicate some kind of psychological breakdown. The sheer weight of the bullshit Bush must carry around in his head would crush anybody.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. joanr16  •  Sep 8, 2007 @9:47 am

    A British usage of “gaff” is a cheap theatre or music hall. I wonder if they use that term in Australia?

    If Bush weren’t leader of the free world, his village-idiot routine might be mildly amusing, in a vaudeville context. Or maybe not.

  2. felicity  •  Sep 8, 2007 @10:44 am

    “…some kind of psychological breakdown” reminded me of when Helen Caldecott had a twenty-minute meeting with Reagan toward the end of his term. She came out of the meeting looking “ashen” according to someone who saw her. As a doctor she could detect the early, or not so early stages of dementia in Reagan.

    When a president gets his annual physical does he also get an annual ‘mental’ and if so does anybody get its results?

  3. maha  •  Sep 8, 2007 @12:00 pm

    Lots of conditions that might cause confusion or mental impairment can’t be verified by a simple test, unfortunately. Someone would have to spend several hours, maybe days, with the Prez observing him closely to see if he is really impaired or just the same idiot he always was.

  4. Bonnie  •  Sep 8, 2007 @12:48 pm

    The man is and always has been a buffoon. Why people thought he was someone worth voting for President of the United States of America still causes me to shake my head. And, yet this buffoon and his evil twin, Cheney, may soon start a war with Iran. These two are more dangerous than all the Russian leaders of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

  5. erinyes  •  Sep 8, 2007 @4:01 pm

    You guys are being pretty hard on the Prez!
    Rumor has it that he’s actually a pretty fart smeller…………

  6. Swami  •  Sep 8, 2007 @4:47 pm

    “It’s the calling of our time, by the way.”

    Does that mean incidentally? Well, I guess there’ll be no one who can claim they were taken in by his gilded tongue.

  7. kerryinalaska  •  Sep 9, 2007 @11:49 pm

    watching the vid of him speechifying is painful. I’m no doctor, not even a very good patient, but to my untrained eye this man is bonkers, out there, gone to the hills. It is scary that this emperor without clothing has his finger on the triggers of the most powerful weapons in the world. Beyond that what does it say about this country that this idiot was put in power?

  8. jp  •  Sep 10, 2007 @9:33 am

    “It’s what happens when he gets tired,” an old friend observed.

    WTF?…is he four?

  9. Pat  •  Sep 10, 2007 @12:35 pm

    “And he’s never been the sharpest tack in the box, but a few more performances like this might indicate some kind of psychological breakdown. The sheer weight of the bullshit Bush must carry around in his head would crush anybody.”

    Hmmm….Crushed by accumulation of cognitive dissonance. Many have predicted as much but lets hope not, for him but primarily for one another.

    If an environment conducive to he doing nothing could be created then we’d all be a little safer.

    Our fate might hinge on how influential his inner circle (who can catch him on a good day) might remain and the extent to which those who remain stay grounded in reality.

    In my mind, Bush remains susceptible to one last manic hurrah…to leaving some indelible mark there like a finger-poke to the eye or flipped middle finger (Mt. Rushmore?) to all who ever disagreed with him, for perpetuity.

  10. erinyes  •  Sep 10, 2007 @7:32 pm

    “WTF?….Is he four?”
    No, he’s this many!….
    He’s what happens when you mix Jack Daniels with really good coke for too many years………………



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