Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Economy has beer with Bush, can't remember rest

George W. Bush is not known as the most articulate man in the world. Hell, he isn't even the most articulate man named George Bush. Fortunately, this most all-American of macho men is pulling himself up by his bootstraps and using grit, moxie, pluck and spunk to overcome his many limitations and forge a well-deserved second career as a stand-up comedian. Or lecturer. Same thing in his case.

Like any smart comedian, Bush knows how to work his audience. In this case, he yukked it up at a Houston fundraiser for local politician Pete Olson, which had to be the yessiest of all yes-circles. Here's a (so far) mercifully non-axed report on the stand-up:

And here's how ITV immortalized the show:

President George W Bush has explained the global credit crunch by saying "Wall Street got drunk."

When asked what led to the US housing market meltdown that threw the world's economy into turmoil, Mr Bush said: "There's no question about it. Wall Street got drunk. [The Independent went even further with the full quote, as seen in the video: "Wall Street got drunk, that's one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras."]

"It got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is, how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments?"

GUFFAW GUFFAW GUFFAW!! All hysterics aside, however, there's merit to this metaphor. Like his daddy before him, who derided Reaganomics as "voodoo economics" in 1980, Bush is offering a rare blurt of truth here. And, like Bush 41, Dubya will probably deny the video even exists until it's shoved in his face on live TV. Which, knowing ol' Dub, may never happen.

Bush's drunken metaphor is true, but incomplete. Who was the enabler? Why would the economy feel the need to drown its sorrows? Where did it throw up? Which country did it wake up next to and go, "We didn't do it, did we?" Will it drink a Bloody Mary or hair-of-the-dog to recover? Is it vowing never to do it again, only to get sloshed the very next night and the night after that? And most importantly, dude, how the hell do I get home?

But to me, the most interesting part of this story isn't even what Bush said, but that other reports say he demanded all cameras shut off before he said it. Yeah, good luck with that, Mr. President. Yes, you were at a private fundraiser and your party hides behind privacy every time it has to be honest (even as it erodes the rights of privacy for others); but this is the camera-phone age and you're - yecch- the most powerful man in the world. Dana Perino can only microwave your bologna for so long before it curls up into an unnatural shape. Hell, why wouldn't you want people to see you actually deliver a coherent and true statement for once? Yes, it's Republican humor, which is necessarily pungent, trivializing and not all that funny, but it's humor nonetheless:

"And then we got a housing issue," he said, "not in Houston – evidently not in Dallas, because Laura's over there trying to buy a house today."

So there's no housing issue because the first lady is trying to buy one in an oil town? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!! Take that, hippies and every newspaper in America! Git-R-Dun!!!!

It's like that time in 1988 when Dan Quayle, addressing war veterans about his draft-dodger stigma, said no one could ever again accuse him of having never seen combat. Trivialization: a proud GOP tradition. But wait, there's more!

"I like Crawford. Unfortunately, after eight years of asking her to sacrifice, I am no longer the decision-maker. She'll be deciding."

Now this actually is hilarious. Here's a quick run-down of punch lines:

--As if Bush ever actually was The Decider!
--So he DID ask someone to sacrifice!
--She's been sacrificing a lot longer than eight years, I promise you.
--She chose Houston? Like, on purpose?
--Will your new home have a nice view of what used to be Enron Field?
--How will either of you legendary drivers handle the complex Houston highways?
--Have you left a forwarding address with Cindy Sheehan?
--Do you promise to stay there forever and ever?

Up until now I haven't been a fan of cell-phone cameras. But now not only do I think they're the greatest invention ever, but I may very well find religion now that I've had a taste of something as divine as this.

Oh, and have you ever heard laughter like private Republican laughter? It has a nice sneer to it. Even if isolated from the comments that prompt it, I think most people could guess that they're laughing at something really inappropriate. That's not the kind of laughter people cop to being capable of.

As ready as I am for Jan. 20, 2009, I have to admit the build-up is half the fun.

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