A reading note: The Daily Show addressed this same topic on January 11,2006. Needless to say, we were first.
Without explicitly saying so, we generally avoid discussing legitimately contentious issues here at emptybookshelf.com. That’s not to say we have topics that are off-limits, just that we recognize that there are issues are both too multi-faceted to be fully addressed in an “intro, picture, funny caption, body, rating, conclusion format” and evoke too emotional of a response in people. It’s doubtful that anyone will be posting a (serious) review of the continual mess in the Middle East, abortion, religion, politics, etc. In fact, these are topics for which even tangentially-related reviews or discussions are considered to be yet more propaganda in arguments that have gone on for years+. So, it’s with great hesitation that I begin my review of recent under-reported political news.
Objectively, the war, liberation, struggle, uprising, etc. in Iraq isn’t going particularly well. That’s not fine, but that’s how it is. Most republicans admit it, democrats, even those that initially supported the whole thing, realize something needs to be done, figured out, and so on, while the apolitical agree on that same something. No, the political climate isn’t that simple, but reading between the lines, you’ll notice that “column C” was the “apolitical,” not the “indepent”… ooh, the intrigue.
Anyway, George W. Bush realizes this too, and in the interest of maintaining his appeal among his initial/traditional supporters, he arranged one heck of a meeting at the White House to discuss Iraq. I’m not sure how long The Boston Globe keeps its archives free, but here’s the story detailing the meeting. Don’t worry on clicking on it yet, it’s not very substantive, and I’ll explain why in a bit. So, on Friday morning, George W. Bush had pretty much every living secretary of state and defensesince Vietnam over for “discussion” at the White House. Yes, that includes former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, as well as Clinton’s Defense Secretaries. Granted those are mainly “look, I can play well with people that supposedly don’t like me anymore” and “I can also play with the older kids’ friends, too” picks, but that’s a lot of experience in the room. Beyond those more “recent” guests, Robert McNamara, the secretary of defense during the beginning and worsening of Vietnam was also present.
The Boston Globe‘s rundown of the guests:
The eminent group included Robert S. McNamara, who at 89 was the senior statesman in attendance, having served under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; Melvin Laird and James Schlesinger, who served under Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford; Harold Brown, who was Jimmy Carter’s secretary of defense; Frank Carlucci, Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary; and William Perry and William Cohen, Pentagon chiefs during the Clinton administration.
The former top diplomats on hand were Colin L. Powell, Bush’s first secretary of state; Alexander Haig and George Shultz from the Reagan administration; Lawrence Eagleburger and James Baker from the administration of George H. W. Bush; and Madeleine K. Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration.
Cynically, it sounds like that might be too many dignitaries, but in theory, it’s quite a crowd, and heck, people work best in groups. That’s 13, not counting the president and the unnamed advisors in Iraq. It sounds like they must have had quite a meeting. It was so enlightening that it even went over schedule by fifteen minutes.
The whole thing was an hour and fifteen minutes. That’s…let’s see: about five minutes and forty-two seconds for each of the 13 guests. How substantive. No wonder the newspaper didn’t really have much to write about beyond, “He heard things he liked, he heard things he didn’t like.” I can’t imagine much more than that happened.
Obviously, the meeting was held as a response to the critique/complaint that the president is too closed off from everyone but his top advisors. Well, then, he meet with people other than his top advisors for a whole 75 minutes. Who cares about 2008, let’s repeal #22 and re-elect him tomorrow! I mean, come on, how could we not vote for him? He did something to superficially appeal to his (apparently not that insightful) critics for an hour and fifteen minutes; he’s the next Lincoln!
You can make me eat coconut for an hour, heck, you can even make it so the eating session goes fifteen minutes over schedule, but that doesn’t mean I’ll like it, and I’d hate to think people were so blindly trusting to think that I’d have changed my mind about coconut after an hour and fifteen minutes. I’ll still hate that awful satan fruit.
George W. Bush’s January 6, 2006 Meeting with “The Old Guard” receives two stars due to the fact that it was no more than a PR move. No, I’m not saying that most actions taken by any sitting president/politician aren’t PR moves or photo-ops, but this one was rather see-through. As I said before, I’m undecided as to whether it was under-reported, but the fact that anyone thinks that the hour and fifteen minute meeting accomplished anything other than “politics” is delusional, or more likely, answering with “politics” in mind, which really shouldn’t be surprising or shocking to anyone, but that doesn’t mean the status quo deserves positive reviews. And yes, if Bill Clinton were president now and had that same meeting, it would’ve been just as negatively reviewed.