July 1, 2006


Bush Takes Koizumi for Tour of Graceland (Peter Baker, July 1, 2006, Washington Post)

As a farewell gift to Koizumi, one of his best overseas friends and a longtime Elvis aficionado making his final U.S. visit before retiring in September, Bush organized a special trip to the mansion where the legendary singer lived and died. The mecca of fans everywhere closed itself to ordinary tourists for the first time since opening in 1982 as it played host to its first sitting president. Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley flew in for the occasion.

If the president stuck to understated good humor, Koizumi plunged into the spirit of the occasion, mugging for cameras in Elvis's sunglasses, belting out some of his favorite lyrics, serenading Lisa Marie and even mimicking her father's famous stage moves. The prime minister, who once released a CD of his favorite Elvis songs, gleefully checked out the extravagant concert costumes and the pink Cadillac on the lawn and the wall after wall of gold records.

"My dream come true," Koizumi said, after singing a few words of "The Impossible Dream" to make the point. [...]

That Bush would take the time to come to Graceland testifies to the strength of his personal bond with Koizumi, first forged on the grass at Camp David in 2001 when they played catch, traded baseball stories and talked about favorite movies such as "High Noon."

Bush is at best an accidental tourist. He once raced through the Kremlin cathedrals in Moscow in seven minutes flat, did the sprawling Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in a half-hour and turned to go soon after arriving at the Great Wall of China. He declined an invitation to visit the Taj Mahal altogether while in India, pleading lack of time.

Yet he managed to carve out eight hours to fly here from Washington, trailed by a media throng the likes of which rarely accompanies him to, say, a Medicare speech in Missouri.

And there you see why the Left will never figure out Kansas.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 1, 2006 8:09 AM

They never thought they'd have to. Kansas and all the rest of us were supposed to come to them. I believe the left, living as they have in a world of newspeak and political correctness, haven't a clue why their cherished dream of a socialist utopia hasn't materialized.

Posted by: erp at July 1, 2006 8:48 AM

Bush is at best an accidental tourist. He once raced through the Kremlin cathedrals ... [and] declined an invitation to visit the Taj Mahal altogether while in India, ....

That he doesn't want to get caught up in the Tourism-Industrial Complex is another reason to like the guy. Tourism is evil, which anyone with a Time Zone Rule should agree.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 1, 2006 10:36 AM

Hmmm. I wish that Bush would have asked Koizumi why his country persists in slaughtering whales by trying to deceive the international community about so-called whale research and now working to undermine the international conservation laws to protect these species. Somehow, I find the loss of these magnificent leviatins much worse than the loss of Elvis. Too bad Koizumi and his country are more passionate about other things, like the glitz and glamour of high tech. Japan has buffooned the world into thinking they are in one with nature. Meanwhile, whales are slaughtered and tons of whale meat hang in storage rooms.

Posted by: J Harlin at July 1, 2006 11:16 AM

I know those good folk in Memphis were too polite to say this, but had Koizumi come to my restaurant and said what he said about Elvis, I most certainly would have said "Yes, and we are big fans of SpeedRacer!"

Posted by: Brad S at July 1, 2006 11:17 AM

Should have taken him to the whaling museums on the Cape and Nantucket. We share their proud heritage of whaling.

Posted by: oj at July 1, 2006 11:22 AM


I don't get it. You aren't a fan?

Posted by: oj at July 1, 2006 11:23 AM

Per the post above, how would sausage gravy taste on whale meat?

Posted by: Bob at July 1, 2006 11:31 AM

Everything tastes better with sausage gravy. Especially salo.

Posted by: oj at July 1, 2006 11:36 AM

Thank you to J Harlin for so wonderfully illustrating simultaneously both the utter humorlessness coupled with the earnest self-absorption that elevates personal trivial causes to ridiculous heights that so characterizes what passes for profundity on the Left these days. The subject is Elvis, Koizomi, and Bush and so we get a diatribe on whales. Sheesh.

(And after the whaling museum, how about a solidarity visit to Neah Bay and the Makah?)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 1, 2006 11:50 AM

Yes, I am a SpeedRacer fan, OJ. Just making a small point that American and Japanese culture are more mutually entwined than some would like to believe.

Posted by: Brad S at July 1, 2006 1:17 PM

" American and Japanese culture are more mutually entwined than some would like to believe" That is true with Chinese and American culture, Mexican and American culture, Cuban and American culture, Irish and American culture, ... In fact American culture is an almagamation of the world's cultures. Why do they hate us? One of the reasons: to the cultural supremacists, we bastarize their cultures. That's why the intelligentia of all these self-important "superior" world cultures hate us and the masses want to emulate us.

Posted by: ic at July 1, 2006 1:35 PM

ic. What you say makes a lot of sense. We say that Americans born in the wrong country are welcome to come home, but citizens in those countries probably resent their fellow countrymen emigrating and prospering, so they get angry when they see their culture become Americanized.

Funny I never looked at it that way before. Excellent insight

Posted by: erp at July 1, 2006 8:11 PM

Don't worry about it, JH, Cap't Kirk will save us.

Posted by: Sandy P at July 1, 2006 10:45 PM

So Bush did not spend a lot of time at the Great Wall or in the Hermitage? Bravo, say I. It was a business trip and Bush is nothing if not conscious of his duties. Of course the press wouldn´t recognize a true servant of the people. Plenty of time to see the Taj Mahal after his term ends.

Posted by: wf at July 2, 2006 4:26 AM