Saturday, August 13, 2005

The drive by

It may have been the most poignant and intense moment in the stand-off in Crawford, Texas. George Bush's motorcade passed the demonstrators gathered around Cindy Sheehan. This action accomplished several things, and must have been pondered extensively.

In driving past Ms. Sheehan, Bush's motorcade reinforced their initial stance that her request for a meeting will go unfulfilled. This increases the political heft necessary to get Bush to buckle on the demonstration.

This was no accident of history either, merely providing pictures and copy in the August heat. There were several options for Bush's route that day. The motorcade could have driven by an alternative route and avoided the passing all together. Bush could have capitulated to Sheehan's demands and stopped the motorcade. The motorcade could have at least slowed down, according to reports it buzzed by with no reduction in speed.

The administration decided to drive past the demonstrators without acknowledging their presence.

Avoiding this route, though tactful, was not a viable option. It would have been a confusing signal, and speculation would have evolved in unforseeable ways.

Stopping the motorcade would have resolved the issue, surprised a lot of reporters and made this a one week story. I do not know why Bush did not stop the motorcade, and by doing so stop the presses. He could have shown up late to his BBQ, no one would complain. It probably would have played well for the president, and he desperately needs to have something play well.

Slowing the motorcade down was an option, though probably one the Secret Service would bemoan. A brief reduction in speed would have shown the country that Bush does hear the protests and does pay attention to them. In this most orchestrated of presidencies, it must have been an option that was considered.

There is an undeniable streak of stubborn in this president and his administration. The insurgency will lose. Iraq will become democratic and secular. Raffy Palmeiro never used steroids, in spite of the evidence. Karl Rove will not face sanction in the administration, because of a nuanced interpretation of Bush's own words.

Careful and intelligent people (and event planners, and motorcade participants) make decisions every day that instruct us as to their natures.

And now for something completely, no, somewhat different.

I really enjoyed this comment in ABC's The Note on Friday. Let's play the same game with it.

The war in Iraq is bigger than all of those things listed in Paragraph One, and wars don't take summer vacations.

Maybe that line was written by the excellent staff of The Note as a comment about coworkers and many other people taking summer vacations in August. Maybe it was written as a comment about Bush's working vacation and the poll numbers.

It's genesis, like the need to drive a motorcade to a BBQ, does not much matter. There is a symbolic importance in its use, as no doubt The Note writers debated this clever comment, and how Bloggers would interpret it.

And yes, a link by a Blogger can make a comment too.


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