I squirm every time I see President Jethro promenade across the world stage, but this trip that just ended was particularly painful. On his way to the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, the prospect of peace in the world's hot spots was as dire as I can remember. Over 160 people murdered on trains in Mumbai, more sectarian atrocities in Iraq, and the bludgeoning response of Israel toward the Lebanese infrastructure, and there stands Bush at a press conference in Germany talking about the pig that they have prepared for him for dinner. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but when a journalist asked him whether he was worried that Israel's military response might trigger a wider war, he said, "I thought you were going to ask me about that pig." Bush supporters seem to like his schoolboy type of humor, but I don't get it. It seems inappropriate and distasteful considering the circumstances.
Then came the press appearance with his pal Vlad "Pootie-poot" Putin. Trying to look tough, President Jethro said that "In Iraq they have freedom of the press and freedom of religion. A lot of people in our country would like to see Russia go the same way." Putin grinned like a Cheshire Cat while responding, "We certainly wouldn't want the same type of democracy they have in Iraq," to the laughter of the world press. But Chucklehead, always needing the last word had to yell out "Just wait," like a petulant fourth grader shouting back "Am not!" I guess former head of the KGB Putin isn't Bush's soul mate, after all.
After Bush blocked Russia's entrance into the World Trade Organization, the G8 Class Picture looked like a gathering of statesmen and Bush, President of the United Redneck States of America. All that was missing was the Stetson. It became more revolting when his candid chatter was captured by an open microphone. I don't object to his profanity so much as the context in which it was delivered, beginning with, "Yo, Blair!" His simplistic remarks while stuffing his face, his condescension towards the British Prime Minister, rebuking his suggestion to visit the Middle East, his James Dean adolescent body language, and his inability to have an intelligent conversation should be an embarrassment to those who remember Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton.
What is profoundly unsettling is that this third generation of an Ivy League political dynasty has absolutely no couth. His father was a worldy man, but the son seems not to have even learned basic manners. He has no curiosity about how the rest of the world lives, aside from the occasional photo-op. Why would the leader of the free world go to India and not take his wife to the Taj Mahal, even to the point of being gently chastised by his hosts who apologized to Mrs. Bush on his behalf? He spent exactly three days in China. If you're going to spend a day and a half on a plane, wouldn't you like to do a little sightseeing before you return to clearing brush at the ranch? Incurious George wants to instruct the world in democracy, yet he couldn't point out the continent of India on a map.
Now that he's safely back in the White House, 25,000 Americans are in need of evacuation from Lebanon. The governments' leasing of a cruise ship from Cypress that holds 750 people at a time is at best a Katrina response, and at worst, a catastrophe waiting to happen. I understand the ship will be escorted by Navy vessels but God help the shortsighted people who could not see the obvious danger; that if Hezbollah, and thus Iran, can hit an Israeli ship with a missile, they can hit a Cypriot Cruise ship also. And the State Department under Dr. Rice was supposed to be so much more efficient.
Tomorrow, the Senate will pass a resolution lifting a government ban on further stem cell research. The President has promised to use his first veto to assure that those unused embryonic stem cells from fertility clinics hit the dumpster rather than a Petri dish. I hope that he does. I think that will seal his reputation as "Luddite in Chief," and not even his hard core conservative base, the right-wing Evangelicals, or Fox News can sway public opinion away from the conclusion that we elected a stupid man with a stupid plan. The emperor not only has no clothes, he has no sense either. The political season begins in earnest in just a couple of weeks. Will you help stop this insanity?