August 15, 2002


Giving the Country the Business (Mary McGrory, August 15, 2002, Washington Post)
President Bush's economic forum summary was a convention speech without the balloons.

It was full of applause lines and it had a villain -- in this case a balky, spendthrift Congress. Bush offered a minimalist solution: Just hang in and trust the American people. It wasn't much of a prescription for an ailing market, sinking stock prices and a meltdown of public confidence in the lords of the boardrooms. CNN kept switching to another California kidnapping and memories of Elvis. [...]

While Bush was assiduously taking notes at Waco, Cheney didn't try very hard to suppress a yawn. He just doesn't enjoy vaudeville in the middle of the day. Who could
take seriously a forum that produced an idea of having the robber barons band together and "self-police" their ranks? Bush was enthusiastic about it.

The modern political age offers so few genuine moments that you have to treasure the one's it does offer up. This idiotic, Clinton-esque economic summit reminds of one of the great moments, the campaign stop in 1992 where Bush pere told a group of NH employees : "Message : I Care." That is all this dog and pony show was supposed to convey too. There's something heart-warming about the contempt that Bush and Cheney showed for a staged production that they clearly understood to be a publicity stunt rather than a serious attempt to brainstorm about the economy. Even more cheering is the realization that people like Mary McGrory actually believe that these forums can be useful. If you've ever had to sit through one, you'll know nothing could be further from the truth. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 15, 2002 8:02 PM
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