Not Quite Like Old Times

The wingnuts are making an issue of the fact that a cleanup crew was brought in by BP to prepare the scene for President Obama’s visit to Grand Isle, Louisiana, yesterday. The Jammie Wearing Fool (I don’t know about the jammies, but … ) wrote

Maybe the alternate photo caption should read something like “I can see the end of my presidency from here.” Well, we all figured this would be a carefully choreographed photo op for the current occupant of the White House, but little did we know having their boot firmly on the neck of BP meant the folks at BP were obliged to send in some stooges for the visuals.

What I suspect really happened: Realizing that there would be tons of cameras and national attention drawn to the beeches of Grand Isle, Louisiana, BP headed off further PR disaster by busing in workers to clean up the beaches. In other words, the clean beaches were more a benefit to BP than anyone else.

But this news also brought to mind some other great photo op stories from recent years. For example, remember the firefighters who volunteered to help clean up New Orleans and found themselves being used as props for the Shrub? And what about the tool belt? I remember you guys got a real kick out of that one.

And then there was the Jimmy Breslin column from March 2004 in which the Unparalleled Mr. Breslin wrote about the large crew of Nassau County, New York, park workers that had to be pulled together to build a walkway for the President. Bush was going to attend a groundbreaking ceremony of a 9/11 memorial in Long Island, after which he was to walk across the park to a restaurant. But the President’s feet were not to touch the ground, Nassau County was told.

The Grand Isle crew was paid by BP, notice, not taxpayers. When Bush went to Long Island, the taxpayers paid. It’s possible the White House reimbursed Nassau County, but I’d be surprised if they did.

And then there was the Great Chinese Box incident, in which boxes stamped “Made in USA” and used as a backdrop for a Bush speech were found to have come from China. Good times.

And then there was the time that Bush flew to Jackson Square to give his post-Katrina speech of fake plans he never intended to implement, but which sounded good at the time. The White House, or somebody, brought in big generators to bring lights back on, which was the first electricity people had enjoyed for days. The the President left, and so did the electricity.

And who can forget …

Seriously, whenever I see a rightie get outraged about something Obama did that Bush did a lot worse, I wonder if they were all in comas for the eight years Bush was president. But no; they were just watching faux news.

Speaking of Teh Stupid — and unrelated to photo ops — some organization with the email address [email protected] has presumed to put me on its email list. Today’s email started this way:

Obama will use Memorial weekend as a gad-fly schmoozing with his homies in the Chicago hood, maybe even barbeque some weenies. …

Racist, much? Then later, it says,

The last time the Obama family has been home (and I don’t mean Kenya) was – in February of 2009. But now they will make the trip over Memorial Day weekend of all times! But it doesn’t stop there, an official trip of this caliber means the tax payers are shelling out of the kazoo for his bump and grind in the hood. …

Do we want to talk about presidents on vacation, Mr. Party? Seriously? Well, all right, then — this is picked up from an old post

Let’s review:

George W. Bush took more vacations than any other President in U.S. history.

That’s 487 days at Camp David and 77 trips to Crawford, Texas, where he spent all or part of 490 days. I calculate that to be about two years and eight months.

I don’t know what the travel time is from the White House to Camp David — I assume just a few minutes — but I figure Crawford must be at least three hours one way by air, and I assume there’s no Crawford International Airport, so there’s motorcade time to figure in, also. Assuming a 6 hour two-way trip, times 77 trips, equals 462 hours, or more than 19 days days spent just flying back and forth to Crawford.

Bush was in Crawford when he blew off the memo “Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S.” as being too trivial for his attention. As I remember it, he was in Crawford during the great electricity blackout of 2003, and it was several hours before he addressed it. He was in Crawford while two wars were going on in the Mideast.

And need I say … Hurricane Katrina?

For a collection of outraged snark at the Endless Vacation that was the Bush Administration, see Source Watch. I think the only reason there wasn’t more outrage is that Bush was such a bad POTUS, most of the time it didn’t matter whether he was on vacation or not.

Even when he wasn’t officially on vacation, Bush wasn’t famous for staying put in the White House. Especially in his first term, when the War on Terror was still new and sparkly, as I remember he spent about half of his not-vacation time traveling to Republican Party fundraisers. The pattern was to schedule some “official” event like a ribbon-cutting or a speech in a particular city, where by some coincidence there happened to be a GOP fund-raider going on that very evening, so he could take Air Force One on Republican Party business without reimbursing taxpayers. (See, for example, “Taxpayer Mugging for Political Fundraising.”)

How could anybody who was not sound asleep 24/7 for the entire eight years Bush was President not know this? Really, this goes beyond Teh Stupid.

12 thoughts on “Not Quite Like Old Times

  1. I think it’s quite normal for somebody to clean up the place where a visiting dignitary is going to speak. Whatever “embellishments” are then done to spin the “optics” of the event – for example a background slide that repeats the mantra “Everything’s Normal, Folks” – that’s fair game for criticism. And as we all remember, the Bush people/GOP were the not so subtle masters at playing this kind of game to fool the rubes. In fact it was the only game they had, while they looted the country for themselves.

    Ages ago, I worked at a GE plant where they had several automated warehouses (called “stackers”). These featured large computer driven cranes that extracted pallets of widgets from several aisles of several storey walls of enormous post office like slots; the cranes would bring the pallets down to ground level, for workers to pick out parts needed on the factory floor. Being in heavy industry, and in a factory, these warehouses quickly got very dirty. But one of them was always kept spotless and ready for visiting officials who might drop by – the movement of all this automated efficiency was something that was sure to jazz the visitors. (Interestingly, the advent of Just-in-Time manufacturing destroyed the reason for having all this wonderous and expensive automation).

    And so what’s the big deal if they want to clean up the beach where Obama is going to speak? I love how the wingnuts think this disaster is the end of the world for Obama’s presidency. Visit reality much?

    On a related note, I happend to see a “1/20/2013” bumpersticker the other day. I had previously packaged up my “1/20/2009” t-shirt from the thankfully over Bush years, and stored it with other memorabilia.

  2. Don’t forget Bush’s many great speeches before his captive audience of military personnel. Always an enthusiastic crowd…because one of the things you learn in the military is that nobody gives speeches better than your Commander in Chief, and any sign of disrespect or disagreement to his bullshit is seriously frowned upon.

  3. I, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, was glad when “Little Boots” Bush was on vacation. I always figured that he could do less damage from there, or that at the least it would take him longer to cock something up.
    Do they really want to go there? Oh yeah, the toolbelt moment was precious. I wish they had a photo of the moment they gave it to Bush. He must have looked like a monkey pondering a Rubik’s Cube. Even when the director of the photo-op reminded him of the gunbelt he had as a boy, I’m sure someone had to put the belt on the imbecile. Then Bush probably tried to shoot somebody with the hammer.
    And all the idiot ever did was clear brush at his ‘ranch.’ That boy cleared out brush like he was clearing out personal demons. The press loved them some of that thar brush clearin’. No one ever asked him the key question. “What are you clearing it for? What are you going to do?” There was, of course, no point to it, it’s just the press loved them some of that thar brush clearin’.
    Reagan could at least fake being a cowboy. Reagan was a bad actor until he found the role of his life – POTUS.
    “Little Boots'” couldn’t act well enough to be an extra in a ‘Three Stooges’ movie. His presidency was the most scripted, and rehearsed, photo-op in history. With the single exception of the bullhorn moment, which still looked like BS to me, they couldn’t make him look like even a passable actor in the role. I remember, when he delivered the ‘powdered uranium from Niger’ line in the SOTU, I damn near wet myself laughing, it was so melodramatically overacted. I couldn’t believe people took that line seriously.
    “Little Boots” as POTUS, could have on his production staff:
    Shakespeare, to write his lines.
    Stanislavsky, to tell him his motivation.
    Mamet, where and how to move.
    Kazan, how to say something.
    Gregg Toland, as the cinematographer.
    You could have John Ford to direct –
    and the stupid motherf*&ker would still go to the wrong door like he did in China.

    Without meaning to, the great Bugs Bunny described “Little Boots” Bush in one line:
    “What a dope. What a maroon…”

  4. Thinking back about the good old days…Monica Goodling keeps popping into my head. That incident probably had the most impact on me in realizing that our government has gone to hell. It just left me scratching my head when a 20 something year old from Regent University can get placed in the top echelon of our Justice Dept and when caught in her political misdeeds she acted like some innocent farm girl caught up in the complexities of city life ‘ ” oh, but I didn’t mean to”. What an absolute joke the Bush administration was in foisting these hacks upon the American public.

    Oh yeah, Let’s not forget Sen. Larry Craig. Being a male I can understand wanting to get a little action to quell your sexual desires whatever they are, but when you got to resort to cruising public rest rooms for impersonal homosexual sex..I think you’ve hit the bottom of the barrel. Especially when you hold yourself out as a GOP champion of family values. He put the hip in hypocrisy!

  5. And Swami, remember when THEIR Monica said she had pledged an oath not to The (Oh so Holy, Holy, until it ain’t…) Constitution, but to President Bush?
    THAT was a favorite moment of mine.
    If PRAVDA was half as good as FOX News, I wouldn’t have a problem with apostrophe’s, because we’d all be speaking Russian…

    BTW – remember to thank a veteran today. Even Blumenthal in CT. I mean, even if he didn’t serve IN Vietnam, the guy didn’t have children to get another deferment, right Mr. Cheney?

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  7. “Then Bush probably tried to shoot somebody with the hammer”
    Oh yeah, you know he did, probably said “go ahead, make my day” while doing it.

  8. Bonnie,
    That is a very sad story.
    I mean really, if you don’t care about infant mortality, then why are you IN PUBLIC SERVICE? DOH! SATSQ: Oh yeah, power and money.

  9. Obama will use Memorial weekend as a gad-fly schmoozing with his homies in the Chicago hood, maybe even barbeque some weenies. …

    The last time the Obama family has been home (and I don’t mean Kenya) was – in February of 2009. But now they will make the trip over Memorial Day weekend of all times! But it doesn’t stop there, an official trip of this caliber means the tax payers are shelling out of the kazoo for his bump and grind in the hood. …

    Don’t forget, this is all highly principled opposition to government spending! It must be Taken Seriously!

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