August 2005 Archives
August 30, 2005
George W. Bush's Noble Cause - 'Political Capital'
by Thom Hartmann
Cindy Sheehan continues to ask George W. Bush what the "Noble Cause" was for which her son died in Iraq, and why Bush's daughters haven't enlisted in this Cause.
While Bush talked to us about WMDs, an imminent "mushroom cloud," and tried to link Saddam and Iraq to 9/11 (when it was 14 Saudis who hit the World Trade Center), those all fell apart and were exposed (by no less than Paul Wolfowitz) as intentional lies. When Bush shifted his Noble Cause to invading Iraq to bring democracy to the Iraqi people, the Downing Street Memo told another story. And now, also, so does Bush's first biographer.
It's becoming increasingly clear that the way Bush lied us into invading Iraq, particularly the timing of it all (ginning it up just before the 2002 midterm elections), was done largely so Republicans could win take back the Senate in 2002 after losing it because of Jim Jeffords' defection, and so Bush could win the White House in the election of 2004.
It's apparently just that simple, just that banal, and ultimately just that traitorous to the traditional ideals of America.
This is why the greatest political threat that Cindy Sheehan represents to George W. Bush and his Republican Party is in her ability to point this out.
So far, Cindy has only done this once, but it had a powerful impact on those who heard her. Speaking before Congressman John Conyers' investigative commission on the war in Iraq, Sheehan said:
"My son, Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan, was killed in action in Sader City, Baghdad, on 04/04/04. He was in Iraq for only 2 weeks before L. Paul Bremer inflamed the Shiite militia into rebellion, which resulted in the deaths of Casey and six other brave soldiers who were tragically killed in an ambush. My friend Bill Mitchell, the father of Sergeant Mike Mitchell who was one of the other soldiers killed that awful day, is here with us today.
"This is a picture of my son Casey when he was 7 months old. It's an enlargement of a picture he carried in his wallet until the day he was killed. He loved this picture of himself. It was returned to us with his personal effects from Iraq. He always sucked on those two fingers. When he was born he had a flat face from passing through the birth canal and we called him Edward G., short for Edward G. Robinson.
"How many of you have ever seen your child in his or her premature coffin? It is a shocking and very painful sight. The most heart-breaking aspect of seeing Casey lying in his casket for me was that his face was flat again because he had no muscle tone. He looked like he did when he was a baby laying in his bassinet.
"The most tragic irony is that if the Downing Street Memo proves to be true, Casey and thousands of people should still be alive.
"I believe our leaders invaded Iraq in March 2003 -- I believe before our leaders Iraq in March 2003, and I am even more convinced now, that this aggression on Iraq was based on a lie of historic proportions and was blatantly unnecessary.
"The so-called Downing Street Memo dated 23 July 2002, only confirms what I already suspected, the leadership of his country rushed us into an illegal invasion of another sovereign country on prefabricated and cherry-picked intelligence. Iraq was no threat to the United States of America, and the devastating sanctions and bombing against the Iraq were working.
"As a matter of fact, in interviews in 1999 with respected journalist and long-time Bush family friend, Mickey Herskowitz, then Governor George Bush stated, 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as commander in chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.'
"It looks like George Bush was ready to lead this country into an avoidable war even before he became President.
"From the expose of the Downing Street Memo and the conversations with George Bush from 1999, it seems like the invasion of Iraq and the deaths of so many innocent people were preordained.
"It appears that my boy Casey was given a death sentence even before he joined the Army in May 2000."
Mickey Herskowitz - a Texan and longtime friend of the Bush family - had been hired to write the first draft of Bush's autobiography, now in print under the title "A Charge To Keep." In citing Bush's determination to invade Iraq to gain "political capital" even before he was appointed to the Presidency in 2001, Sheehan was quoting an article by Russ Baker, who extensively interviewed Herskowitz. Baker noted:
Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. 'Suddenly, he's at 91 percent in the polls, and he'd barely crawled out of the bunker.'"
Oil, to the Bushies, would be a nice bonus. So was the possibility of greater security for Israel and other allies in the region, and a staging ground for possible future military action in Iran and Saudi Arabia. And let's not forget those profits for Halliburton and other big Republican contributors.
But the main reason Bush invaded Iraq, it turns out, was so Republicans could take back the US Senate in the election of 2002, and Bush could finally win an election in 2004.
As Bush himself said two days after the election, in a press conference on November 4, 2004:
"And it's one of the wonderful -- it's like earning capital. You asked, do I feel free. Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That's what happened in the -- after the 2000 election, I earned some capital. I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it..."
In the mind of George W. Bush, accumulating political power -- political capital -- is a Noble Cause. Whether America's veterans and grieving families will agree is another matter entirely.
Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection," "We The People," "The Edison Gene", and "What Would Jefferson Do?"
August 28, 2005
Bush on Cindy Sheehan: "She can go to hell"
Naturally, I look at Capitol Hill with a sideways glance.
But, this seems about right for Our Dearl Leader.
Thanks to Dr. Bloviator for the link.
While President George W. Bush travels around the country in a last-ditch effort to sell his Iraq war, White House aides scramble frantically behind the scenes to hide the dark mood of an increasingly angry leader who unleashes obscenity-filled outbursts at anyone who dares disagree with him.
“I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch,” Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!”
Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again if they can’t keep their members under control.”
White House insiders say Bush is growing increasingly bitter over mounting opposition to his war in Iraq. Polls show a vast majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake and most doubt the President’s honesty.
“Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.”
Bush, whiles setting up for a photo op for signing the recent CAFTA bill, flipped an extended middle finger to reporters. Aides say the President often “flips the bird” to show his displeasure and tells aides who disagree with him to “go to hell” or to “go fuck yourself.” His habit of giving people the finger goes back to his days as Texas governor, aides admit, and videos of him doing so before press conferences were widely circulated among TV stations during those days. A recent video showing him shooting the finger to reporters while walking also recently surfaced.
Bush’s behavior, according to prominent Washington psychiatrist, Dr. Justin Frank, author of “Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President,” is all too typical of an alcohol-abusing bully who is ruled by fear.
To see that fear emerges, Dr. Frank says, all one has to do is confront the President. “To actually directly confront him in a clear way, to bring him out, so you would really see the bully, and you would also see the fear,” he says.
Dr. Frank, in his book, speculates that Bush, an alcoholic who brags that he gave up booze without help from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, may be drinking again.
“Two questions that the press seems particularly determined to ignore have hung silently in the air since before Bush took office,” Dr. Frank says. “Is he still drinking? And if not, is he impaired by all the years he did spend drinking? Both questions need to be addressed in any serious assessment of his psychological state.”
Last year, Capitol Hill Blue learned the White House physician prescribed anti-depressant drugs for the President to control what aides called “violent mood swings.” As Dr. Frank also notes: “In writing about Bush's halting appearance in a press conference just before the start of the Iraq War, Washington Post media critic Tom Shales speculated that ‘the president may have been ever so slightly medicated.’”
Dr. Frank explains Bush’s behavior as all-to-typical of an alcoholic who is still in denial:
“The pattern of blame and denial, which recovering alcoholics work so hard to break, seems to be ingrained in the alcoholic personality; it's rarely limited to his or her drinking,” he says. “The habit of placing blame and denying responsibility is so prevalent in George W. Bush's personal history that it is apparently triggered by even the mildest threat.”
August 24, 2005
Cindy Sheehan: Coming Back to Crawford | The Huffington Post
I'll admit it... I like the Huffington Post.
I'm coming back to Crawford for my son. As long as the president, who sent him to die in a senseless war, is in Crawford, that is where I belong. I came here two and a half weeks ago for one reason, to try and see the president and get an answer to a very simple question: What is the noble cause that he says my son died for? The answer to that question will not bring my son back. But it may stop more meaningless deaths. Because every death is now a meaningless one. And the vast majority of our country knows this. So why do more young men and women have to die? And why do more parents have to lose their children and live the rest of their lives with this unbearable grief? The presidency is not bigger than the people's will. And when the people speak out, it's the president's reponsibility to listen. He is there to serve us, not the other way around. This isn't about politics. It's about what is good for America and what's best for our security and how far this president has taken us away from both. I'm coming back to Crawford because -- now and forever -- this is my duty for my son, for my other children, for other parents, and for my country.
August 23, 2005
Missile, Not Airplane, Hit Pentagon
When, if ever, will we see the local security tapes from business around the Pentagon? We have yet to see proof of a plane hitting the Pentagon.
%u201CWhen you look at the whole thing, especially the crash site void of airplane parts, the size of the hole left in the building and the fact the projectile%u2019s impact penetrated numerous concrete walls, it looks like the work of a missile,%u201D said Maj. Rokke from his Rantoul, IL home this week. %u201CAnd when you look at the damage, it was obviously a missile. Also, if you look at the WTC and the disturbing flash hitting the tower right before the impact of the airplane, it also looks like a missile was used.%u201D
Hey Pat, God thinks you're an asshole.
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested on-air that American operatives assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop his country from becoming "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."
"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club."
August 18, 2005
Rasmussen Reports: 43% Approval Rating for Bush
And, he deserves every approval point he doesn't get.
President Bush's Approval Rating has tumbled five points over the past week to the lowest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports.
Just 43% of American adults now approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. Fifty-five percent (55%) disapprove.
Send the Mothers of Imprisoned Iraqi's to Texas.
You know, if (we) "progressives" really had our shit together we'd fly out the mothers of abused and imprisoned Iraqi's and have them camp out in Texas as well. They're already camping out in Iraq waiting for their children to be either charged or released.
Talk about a nightmare... mothers of soldiers and their victims...
Imagine the nose-dive in the polls...
Former Iraqi prisoners claim in a BBC program to be broadcast today that British troops abused and humiliated them in the aftermath of the US-led invasion in March 2003.
The fresh allegations fuelled suspicion that the Army was following a policy of "systematic abuse and torture" when dealing with Iraqi detainees.
Two brothers, Marhab and As'ad Zaaj-al-Saghir, alleged they were beaten with sticks and denied water and sleep after being arrested in Basra, southern Iraq, following the invasion.
One said a soldier urinated on his head.
Judge Heard Terrorism Case As He Interviewed for Seat
Okay, the guy made points with me on the whole Michael Jackson thing. But, those are the only points the guy may ever make.
He most definitely should have stepped-down from the case he was hearing WHILE interviewing for the Supreme Court.
Why else wouldn't he have stepped down? Hmmm?
The U.S. code says only that judges should disqualify themselves from "any proceeding in which . . . impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Steve Schmidt, a White House spokesman, said "there was no conflict whatsoever" in Roberts's presiding over the Hamdan case.
August 16, 2005
Jefferson Would Have Stood With Cindy Sheehan
Oh Christ does he hit it out of the park...
by Thom Hartman
Nationally, it was clearly a phenomenon when several truckers called into my radio show on Sirius Satellite to say that they were interrupting trips through central parts of the USA to head to Crawford, Texas. One even reported live as he experienced a (friendly) reception by the local sheriff, who helped him find a place to park his rig. Locally here in Oregon, it's not unusual to see cars with signs taped to their rear windows - printed in inch-high letters on an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper - that say variations on: "We're With Cindy!" or "Answer Her Questions!"
Ambassador Joe Wilson represented a political threat to Bush by credibly exposing part of Bush's lie and its methodology, and so Wilson had to be taken out by destroying his wife's career. Cindy Sheehan now represents a similar political threat, and for this job right-wing hate radio, Drudge, and extremist bloggers have zeroed in on her. Meanwhile, thousands of patriotic Americans, tired of being lied to by the Bush regime, are heading to Crawford, or visiting www.meetwithcindy.com or www.crawfordpeacehouse.org.
Often history tells us how the future may turn out: Bush Junior isn't the first president to have lied to us about foreign affairs and war, or to use lies to justify eviscerating the Constitution. For example, Lyndon Johnson lied about a non-existent attack on the US warship Maddox in the Vietnamese Gulf of Tonkin. William McKinley (the presidency after which Karl Rove has said he's modeling the Bush presidency) lied about an attack on the USS Maine to get us into the Spanish-American war in The Philippines and Cuba.
But most relevant to today's situation were John Adams' version of Bush's Saddam stories when Adams sent three emissaries to France and criminals soliciting bribes approached them late one evening. Adams referred to these three unidentified Frenchmen as "Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Mr. Z," and made them out to represent such an insult and a threat against America that it may presage war.
Adams' use of "The XYZ Affair" to gain political capital nearly led us to war with France and helped him carve a large (although temporary) hole in the Constitution. Similarly, much like Bush's corralling of protesters at gunpoint into so-called "Free Speech Zones," and saying he has the power to lock up Americans (like Jose Padilla) without charges and without access to a lawyer, John Adams jailed newspaper editors and average citizens alike who spoke out against him and his policies.
At that time in the late 1790s, Adams was President and Jefferson was Vice President. Adams led the Federalist Party (which today could be said to have reincarnated as the Republican Party - thus the attempts by Republican historians to rehabilitate Adams' legacy and trash Jefferson), and Jefferson had just brought together two Anti-Federalist parties - the Democrats and the Republicans - into one party called The Democratic Republicans. (Today they're known as the Democratic Party, the longest-lasting political party in history. They dropped "Republican" from their name in the 1820-1830 era).
Adams and his Federalist cronies, using war hysteria with France as a wedge issue, were pushing the Alien & Sedition Acts through Congress, and even threw into prison Democratic Congressman Matthew Lyon of Vermont for speaking out against the Federalists on the floor of the House of Representatives. Adams was leading the United States in the direction of a fascistic state with a spectacularly successful strategy of vilifying Jefferson and his Party as anti-American and pro-French. Adams rhetoric was described as "manly" by the Federalist newspapers, which admiringly published dozens of his threatening rants against France, suggesting that Jefferson's Democratic Republicans were less than patriots and perhaps even traitors because of their opposition to the unnecessary war with France that Adams was simultaneously trying to gin up and saying he was working to avoid.
On June 1, 1798 - two weeks before the Alien & Sedition Acts passed Congress by a single vote - Jefferson wrote a thoughtful letter to his old friend John Taylor.
"This is not new," Jefferson said. "It is the old practice of despots; to use a part of the people to keep the rest in order. And those who have once got an ascendancy and possessed themselves of all the resources of the nation, their revenues and offices, have immense means for retaining their advantage.
"But," he added, "our present situation is not a natural one." Jefferson knew that Adams' Federalists did not represent the true heart and soul of America, and commented to Taylor about how Adams had been using divide-and-conquer politics, and fear-mongering about war with France (the "XYZ Affair") with some success.
"But still I repeat it," he wrote again to Taylor, "this is not the natural state."
Jefferson did everything he could to stop that generation's version of the PATRIOT Act, but Adams had the Federalists in control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and pushed through the Alien and Sedition Acts. Jefferson left town the day they were signed in protest.
Jefferson later wrote in his diary, "Their usurpations and violations of the Constitution at that period, and their majority in both Houses of Congress, were so great, so decided, and so daring, that after combating their aggressions, inch by inch, without being able in the least to check their career, the [Democratic] Republican leaders thought it would be best for them to give up their useless efforts there, go home, get into their respective legislatures, embody whatever of resistance they could be formed into, and if ineffectual, to perish there as in the last ditch."
Democratic Republican Congressman Albert Gallatin submitted legislation that would repeal the Alien & Sedition Acts, and the Federalist majority in the House refused to even consider the motion, while informing Gallatin that he would be the next to be imprisoned if he kept speaking out against "the national security."
But a new force arose.
When Adams shut down the Democratic Republican newspapers, pamphleteers - like those who had helped stir up the American Revolution - went to work, papering towns from New Hampshire to Georgia with posters and leaflets decrying Adams' power grab and encouraging people to stand tall with Thomas Jefferson. One of the best was a short screed by George Nicholas of Kentucky, "Justifying the Kentucky Resolution against the Alien & Sedition Laws" and " Correcting Certain False Statements, Which Have Been Made in the Different States" by Adams' Federalists.
On February 13, 1799, then-Vice President Jefferson sent a copy of Nicholas' pamphlet to his old friend Archibald Stuart (a Virginia legislator, fighter in the War of Independence, and leader of Jefferson's Democratic Republicans).
"I avoid writing to my friends because the fidelity of the post office is very much doubted," he opened his letter to Stuart, concerned that Adams was having his mail inspected because of his anti-war activities. Jefferson pointed out that "France is sincerely anxious for reconciliation, willing to give us a liberal treaty," and that even with the Democratic newspapers shut down by Adams and the Federalist-controlled media being unwilling to speak of Adams' war lies, word was getting out to the people.
Jefferson noted, "All these things are working on the public mind. They are getting back to the point where they were when the X. Y. Z. story was passed off on them. A wonderful and rapid change is taking place in Pennsylvania, Jersey, and New York. Congress is daily plied with petitions against the alien and sedition laws and standing armies."
Jefferson then turned to the need for the pamphleteers' materials to be widely distributed. "The materials now bearing on the public mind will infallibly restore it to its republican soundness in the course of the present summer," he wrote, "if the knowledge of facts can only be disseminated among the people. Under separate cover you will receive some pamphlets written by George Nicholas on the acts of the last session. These I would wish you to distribute...."
The pamphleteer - today he would have been called a blogger - was James Bradford, and he reprinted tens of thousands of copies of Nicholas' pamphlet and distributed it far and wide. Hand to hand, as Jefferson did with his by-courier letter to Stuart - was how what would be today's postings to progressive websites were distributed.
In the face of the pamphleteering and protests, the Federalists fought back with startling venom. Vicious personal attacks were launched in the Federalist press against Jefferson, Madison, and others, and President Adams and Vice President Jefferson were scarcely on speaking terms. Adams' goal was nothing short of the complete destruction of Jefferson's Democratic Party, and he had scared many of them into silence or submission.
"All [Democratic Republicans], therefore, retired," Jefferson wrote in his diary, "leaving Mr. Gallatin alone in the House of Representatives, and myself in the Senate, where I then presided as Vice-President. Remaining at our posts, and bidding defiance to the brow-beatings and insults by which they endeavored to drive us off also, we kept the mass of [Democratic] Republicans in phalanx together, until the legislature could be brought up to the charge; and nothing on earth is more certain, than that if myself particularly, placed by my office of Vice-President at the head of the [Democratic] Republicans, had given way and withdrawn from my post, the [Democratic] Republicans throughout the Union would have given up in despair; and the cause would have been lost forever."
But Jefferson and Gallatin held their posts, and fought back fiercely against Adams, thus saving - quite literally - American democracy. Jefferson and Madison also secretly helped legislators in Virginia and Kentucky submit resolutions in those states' legislatures decrying the Alien & Sedition Acts. The bill in Virginia, in particular, gained traction.
As Jefferson noted in his diary, "By holding on, we obtained time for the legislatures to come up with their weight; and those of Virginia and Kentucky particularly, but more especially the former, by their celebrated resolutions, saved the Constitution at its last gasp. No person who was not a witness of the scenes of that gloomy period, can form any idea of the afflicting persecutions and personal indignities we had to brook. They saved our country however. The spirits of the people were so much subdued and reduced to despair by the X Y Z imposture, and other stratagems and machinations, that they would have sunk into apathy and monarchy, as the only form of government which could maintain itself."
The efforts of average people like that century's Cindy Sheehans, and fearless politicians like today's Howard Dean, John Conyers, and Bernie Sanders, made great gains. As Jefferson noted in a February 14, 1799 letter to Virginia's Edmund Pendleton, "The violations of the Constitution, propensities to war, to expense, and to a particular foreign connection, which we have lately seen, are becoming evident to the people, and are dispelling that mist which X. Y. Z. had spread before their eyes. This State is coming forward with a boldness not yet seen. Even the German counties of York and Lancaster, hitherto the most devoted [to Adams], have come about, and by petitions with four thousand signers remonstrate against the alien and sedition laws, standing armies, and discretionary powers in the President."
Americans were so angry with Adams, Jefferson noted, that the challenge was to prevent people from taking up arms against Adams' Federalists.
"New York and Jersey are also getting into great agitation. In this State [of Pennsylvania], we fear that the ill-designing may produce insurrection. Nothing could be so fatal. Anything like force would check the progress of the public opinion and rally them round the government. This is not the kind of opposition the American people will permit."
Like Cindy Sheehan, Jefferson knew that peaceful protests had greater power than violence or threats.
"But keep away all show of force," he wrote to Pendleton, "and they will bear down the evil propensities of the government, by the constitutional means of election and petition. If we can keep quiet, therefore, the tide now turning will take a steady and proper direction."
A week later, February 21, 1799, Jefferson wrote to the great Polish general who had fought in the American Revolution, Thaddeus Kosciusko, a close friend who was then living in Russia. War was the great enemy of democracy, Jefferson noted, and peace was its champion. And the American people were increasingly siding with peace and rejecting Adams' call for war.
"The wonderful irritation produced in the minds of our citizens by the X. Y. Z. story, has in a great measure subsided," he noted. "They begin to suspect and to see it coolly in its true light."
But Adams was still President, and for him and his Federalist Party war would have helped tremendously with the upcoming election of 1800. In France some leaders wanted war with America for similar reasons.
Jefferson continued, "What course the government will pursue, I know not. But if we are left in peace, I have no doubt the wonderful turn in the public opinion now manifestly taking place and rapidly increasing, will, in the course of this' summer, become so universal and so weighty, that friendship abroad and freedom at home will be firmly established by the influence and constitutional powers of the people at large."
And if Adams' rhetoric led to an attack on America by France? "If we are forced into war," Jefferson noted, "we must give up political differences of opinion, and unite as one man to defend our country. But whether at the close of such a war, we should be as free as we are now, God knows."
The tide was turned, to use Jefferson's phrase, by the election of 1800. The abuses of the Federalists were so burned into the people's minds when Jefferson's party came to power, and he freed the imprisoned newspaper editors so reform-minded newspapers were started back up again, that the Federalists disintegrated altogether as a party over the next two decades.
All because average citizens and pamphleteers stood up and challenged the lies of a war-mongering president, and politicians of principle were willing to lead. Cindy Sheehan is the George Nicholas or Rusticus of our age. Jefferson would have stood with her.
America has been burdened by lying presidents before, and even one who tried to destroy our Constitution. But in our era - like in Jefferson's - we are fortunate to have radical truth-tellers like Cindy Sheehan and Joseph Wilson to warn us of treasonous acts for political gain, and bloggers and progressive websites to carry the truth.
If we stand in solidarity with today's truth-tellers, and politicians step forward to take a leadership role, then its entirely possible that with the elections of 2006 and 2008 American democracy can once again prevail.
Bush: "I've got a life to live". So did 1,800 other YOUNGER Americans - asshole.
I'm sure you have all read this by now. But, it just begs the question; "Are you fucking kidding me?"
"A balanced life"?!
F Bush. And the internets too.
Link: Salon.com - War Room.
Bush on Sheehan: "I've got a life to live"
George W. Bush has only one sort of plausible explanation for not meeting with Cindy Sheehan: He's the president of the United States, and he's too busy solving the world's problems to have face-to-face meetings with every American who asks, no matter who she is or how much she has suffered as a result of his war of choice in Iraq.
It's not much of an explanation, but it's what he's got -- at least until the president of the United States somehow finds time for a bicycle ride, some fishing, a nap and a Little League baseball game on a single day at his Crawford, Texas, ranch. When that's what his schedule looks like, the president of the United States needs a new explanation. And as Bush set off on a two-hour bike ride with reporters and aides Saturday, he had one.
The president told Cox News that he's aware that Sheehan is waiting to talk with him just outside his ranch. "But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else," he said, "there's somebody who has got something to say to the president, that's part of the job. And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.
"But I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life ... I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so.''
Casey Sheehan might have enjoyed a bicycle ride Saturday, too.