Friday, February 17, 2006

The cult of Bush...

President Bush addressed an audience of worshipful Kool aid drinkers today. You may ask 'gee mr. frik, why do you have to be so mean to those audience members?' It's because of audience reaction like this:
Bush took questions from the friendly audience after his prepared remarks. The first questioner said the nation was blessed to have Bush as president. The next questioner referred to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as "your great brother."
These Bush prescreened audiences remind me of the craven gatherings of yes people that spontaneously generated each time Saddam made a public appearance when he was running the show in Iraq. These crowds would make Kim Jong-il proud.

So I decided to do some research on the white house website (click that link at your own risk, we know how concerned about your privacy the white house has been lately) and Google (some privacy issues there as well)

Here's an audience member from today's speech:
Q Thank you for being our President. We are all way better off and very safe --
Wow... stop with that critical line of questioning or you may be dragged out by the secret service there bud.

Here are some hardball questions to the president delivered at Kansas St. University on January 23.
Hello, Mr. President. I am an American Iraqi Kurd. I would like to salute you and salute all the troops are freeing 27 million people. They are free...(Applause.)

Mr. President, I would like to share this thought with all our nation and everybody who is questioning what happened to the chemical weapons. Saddam burned 4,500 villagers. I lost more than 10 members of my family under the ground. We found their bones after, when we freed Iraq. Saddam, himself, and his people, his followers, they are chemical weapons. Please stop questioning the administration and their decision. It was the best decision anybody could take. Freeing 27 million people. (Applause.)

Mr. President, all I could tell you, I have two members of my family, they are in the Iraqi parliament. And both of them are women. My sister-in-law and my aunt, they are in the Iraqi parliament. And I would like you to share this happiness with me and with all the Iraqi people. Thank you, Mr. President.
All this from one person! A veritable fillibuster of praise...
Q Mr. President, thank you for being here. I served under your father, he was my Commander-in-Chief in Desert Storm. And it was with great interest that I followed your campaign; my husband and I both are great fans of yours. I thank you for making the hard decisions, for making -- not listening to the critics and keeping your campaign promise.

And I've been following the confirmation hearings of Judge Alito. And I certainly hope he's confirmed.
Surprise surprise! Great fans and rooting for Alito... I never would have imagined.
Q Hi. First I'd like to say that when I was first able to cast my vote for President, it was my honor to vote for you --
Newsflash! Every single person allowed into that audience cast their votes for Bush. Or would have if they could have anyway.

Here is an example of tough crowd participation in a discussion on the war on terror with the president on January 11:
Q How can people help on the war on terror?
This from a poor brainwashed seven year old! You have to wonder if he prays at the shrine of Ronald Reagan his parents erected at home each night before he goes to bed.
Q Along with the seven-year-old, my question is, how is it that the people of Iraq when polled have more hope about their future than the rest of the -- than the rest of the world has, with regard to what we're doing in Iraq? How can we get the positive things that are happening in Iraq -- how can we get everybody to know what's happening out there?
I've got an idea. How about if we have the president take fake questions from staged audiences every so often and we'll just sort of beat some optimism into the public!

Here is the transcript of an interesting twist to the adoring audience question time we see demonstrated repeatedly. The white house thought it would be a good idea to have the president toss some questions to some hand picked troops in Iraq. The result was simply a public relations disaster. Crooks and Liars has the video of the troops being coached prior to the event, but for the purpose of this post let us look at some of this interaction.
THE PRESIDENT: That's good. And so, like -- I mean, and so the vote is in less than 48 hours -- or about 48 hours, I guess. And so how do you -- how would -- are you confident? I mean, how do you feel the operations are going?

CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Mr. President, I'm going to field that question to Captain Smith.

THE PRESIDENT: I didn't want to give you -- I didn't want to throw you a hardball there, Captain.
The president obviously did not mean to throw a hardball with that question, because if he had meant to he would have asked something like: 'Did you receive coaching on how to answer my questions' or 'do you hear much local sentiment about the Abu Ghraib scandal?' By not intending to toss a hardball question here, the president has hit his mark perfectly.

In the following exchange president Bush asks Sgt. Major Akeel from the 5th Iraqi Army division a hardball and gets zinged in return.
BUSH: Yes, Sergeant Akeel, thank for joining us. I appreciate your service. You got something to say, Akeel?

AKEEL: Good morning, Mr. President, thank you for everything. Thank you very much for everything.

BUSH: You're welcome.

AKEEL: I like you.


BUSH: Well, I appreciate that.

MURPHY: Good morning, Mr. President.

BUSH: Go ahead.
At this point in the event the train has totally come off the tracks and we need to get this wrapped up so the president can go blow up at whoever thought this disaster would fly.

Quite frankly this is so over done it really should embarrass the recipient of the adoration. Some of the worst cases can be found by mining questions from the audience during the 2004 campaign:
Q First of all, , I have to say, my mom said to tell you she loves you.

Q President Bush , we absolutely love you. We love your sincerity. We love everything you represent.

Q (Inaudible.) Okay, I'll speak louder. , Thank you, President Bush, for your integrity. You're a man of honesty and I trust you with my life and my family's.
The cult of Bush is strong...

I read a partial transcript of the Tampa forum, and as far as I can tell there were hardly any questions. Just worshipful citizens singing the President's praises.
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