April 03, 2006

MR SMITH

Yesterday I actually sat and watched an entire hour of Al Franken. It wasn't as torturous as I thought it would be. I thought Tim Russert did a great job of keeping Franken honest, and I would love to see Russert interview someone like Ann Coulter the same way.

At one point, Al Franken said that what he'd really like to see is for Bush and Cheney to come clean with the world. He said they should give a "six hour long speech" (wow) in which they delineate everything they did wrong in Iraq. He wants their mea culpa to include everything from inaccurate pre-war intelligence to not stopping the looters after the fall of Baghdad. Franken said that after Bush and Cheney admitted they had been wrong about everything under the sun, then the international community could forgive them and the Democrats would gladly sit down and draft a bipartisan plan for Iraq.

I started thinking about transparency in government. The husband and I have been watching 24 recently. "President David Palmer" is probably close to everyone's ideal president. He went straight to the media when he learned his son might've killed someone. He ratted out his campaign contributors when he figured out they were dirty. And he divorced his wife during the primaries because she became too power hungry. In watching 24, you can't help but think that if all politicians had half of Palmer's integrity, the world would be a better place.

But if everyone wants Mr. Smith to go to Washington, why does it never happen in real life?

There are things that Bush and Cheney could've done differently with Iraq. I'm sure they know this. But I honestly don't think that it's appropriate for anyone to give a six hour apology while the war is still going on. And I honestly believe someone would still find something that Bush left out of his six hour speech to complain about. Lord knows there are times when I wish for more honesty in Washington (Would someone please step to the plate and call Cynthia McKinney a race-baiting bitch?) but I don't expect it to ever happen. Politics is a tricky game, and any one thing you say can haunt you for life (see "Read my lips", "I did not have sex with that woman", and "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.") No matter what Al Franken says, I don't think a big apology would make any of his opponents respect President Bush more, and I guarantee something from his apology speech would become a soundbite in the next election.

I often think I'm too thin-skinned to blog, so I know for sure that thin-skinned people certainly can't get into politics. I lie in bed worrying about how President Bush sleeps at night knowing his face is superimposed over a swastika; I'm sure he must be the type of man who waves it off and keeps going. We need our politicians to be thick-skinned, aggressive, and tough. We need them to play the game at the level that everyone else does, like it or not. Mr. Smith really wouldn't last long.

We may think we want Bobby running Ewing Oil, but in a world of dirty dealers, JR's the man for the job. Sad as that may be.

Posted by: Sarah at 02:29 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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1 Wow. Very well said! Politics is a game that I am very often uncomfortable watching. I wouldn't survive one minute as a player! I admire Pres. Bush. I don't agree with everything he says or does but I think his actions and decisions are based on his convictions (not current polls) and I think his intentions are generally good. What I mean by that is that he can look beyond his own personal best interests. I'm glad I found your blog. I enjoy it very much.

Posted by: lou at April 03, 2006 10:16 AM (0+7qK)

2 Very well said. But that said, I cannot imagine sitting through an hour long interview with Al Franken, doing it or watching it. I wish I had seen Russert hold a liberals feet to the fire. I also admire our president and I really feel that many of the trouble in Iraq have been caused by politicians in the US Congress. Remember I am old enough to remember WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and all the rest of the military actions taken by us. Political interference does not make it easy to win a war.

Posted by: Ruth H at April 03, 2006 03:06 PM (IJB/r)

3 The whole "Bush should admit his mistakes" canard is just a colossal political gotcha game. Nobody wants a president who second guesses himself in public. Democrats don't give a rat's ass if he admits mistakes or not. They just want to paint him into a corner by leveling that criticism. It's a no win situation, because if he does it, they can call him incompetent and weak, if he doesn't they say he's secretive and arrogant. You can look back at any presidency in history and point out things that might have been done differently. But that's for historians to do. A sitting president should never ever do it. Not only does it weaken the country in the eyes of the world, it's a great way to lose elections.

Posted by: annika at April 04, 2006 01:55 AM (fxTDF)

4 Would anyone sane think that it would have been a good idea for FDR and Churchill to make a 6-hour speech on all the things the Allies had done wrong during WWII (and there were plenty) while the war is going on?

Posted by: David Foster at April 04, 2006 11:13 AM (/Z304)

5 Nice. Very well said,very well written.

Posted by: Mary at April 04, 2006 05:27 PM (YwdKL)

6 I'm with Annika. We do want to see our President as strong, especially in times like these and I think he has done a great job of keeping his head up and giving at least some of us something to rely on.

Posted by: Nicole at April 04, 2006 05:32 PM (Sa9Kb)

7 Sarah, You already know I completely agree with you on this... But I think everyone wants to see a picture of your very first hand-made quilt. Erin

Posted by: Erin at April 05, 2006 03:50 PM (GyYB2)

8 I don't want George Bush to apologize for anything. The kinds of things he would be apologizing for are the kinds of things that can't be apologized for. He should stand or fall by his own words.

Posted by: Will at April 06, 2006 12:42 AM (eIQfa)

9 What should have happened, several years ago, is that Rumsfeld should have resigned, and maybe Cheney, too. Even Powell, maybe, should have left before the end of the first term. Someone has to take responsibility for mistakes. And whatever you say about the decision to go to war, Rumsfeld's failure to use more troops was a mistake.

Posted by: Pericles at April 10, 2006 06:37 AM (eKf5G)

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