August 24, 2006

Going Over The Cliff Notes



(click for larger view)

Just like the “permission to pee” photo at the U.N. earlier this year, the A.P. stole a shot of Bush’s notes from his idiotic press conference earlier this week.  In terms of deciphering what they said, I am largely referring to a brief analysis by Bob Harris at HuffPo who rotated the pic in photoshop to have a better look.

Assuming Bob’s decoding is accurate, there are three items here.  On the left are notes on the Middle East and Iraq.  On the right are statistics about the Katrina recovery.  In the center is a press seating chart with some names highlighted and some crossed out.

Harris suggests some connection between who Bush has prepared to call on, and the first questions he received.  It’s hard to believe in that level of collusion, but it would be interesting to know more about that middle document.

Beyond the absolute control that governs who can ask questions, what else is indicated here?  Is it possible the opportunities are democratically distributed and the system simply exists to eliminate any hint of favoritism?  Assuming the crossed-out boxes indicate someone who has already had their chance, why are some boxes outlined and some aren’t?  Also, as Harris wonders, does the list cover all the questioners, or is it exclusive to the MSM “regulars?”

Regarding the “content” notes, the Katrina sheet seems fairly straight forward.  Bush has a list of initiatives and accomplishments to simply ram down the first available throat.

The function of the left note, however, is strangely undecipherable.  In general, an even semi-confident person would use the page to list a summary set of facts (as you see on the Katrina list) and/or a set of topics to remember.  Bush’s Iraq/Middle East notes, however, lists a set of phrases containing only vague generalities.

This would imply one of four things.  One, Bush is so anxious (or nuts or narcissistic), he needs some specific language to “get him started”  and create a simplistic framework for the subject.  Two, the specific policy is so vague it can only be framed in the most simple generalities.  Three, Bush is so defensive about his policies (especially, the Iraq debacle) that these notes are cues to “trust me”-type rationalizations.  Or four, the Administration agenda (particularly relative to the Middle East and Iran) is so covert that Bush’s intention, in terms of a public face, is simply to finesse the issue — even if it makes him look like a moron.

As always, I welcome your analysis and interpretations.

(image 1: Charles Dharapak/AP.  Aug. 21, 2006. Washington.  Via YahooNews.  image 2: unattributed/A.P.  Via Huffington Post)

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Michael Shaw
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