WHAT A COUNTRY!
- George W. Bush, September 6, 2000, in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Here it is again, the Fourth of July. As I tried to convey last year at this time, I consider myself fairly patriotic. And like many Americans (and I use that term with apologies to friends in the other nations of the Americas, but it’s just too darned cumbersome to call us “United Statesians”), I feel proud of my nation even though we can be so incredibly wrong at times. Maybe it’s because we can also be so incredibly spot-on at other times.
Through the worst of times for my country, I have always been buoyed by an abiding faith that the United States is so structurally sound ⎯ indeed, so strong an ideal ⎯ that it can survive damn near any fool we might happen to put into office. At the risk of offending some of my friends, let me say that never before has that faith been tested than in the past few years. I say that as one who is neither a Democrat nor a Republican; I have held my nose while discussing leaders of both parties. It is nothing more than happenstance that the object of the greatest scorn I have ever held for a political leader is a Republican.
Of course, every man has positives in him. It cannot be denied that our President is a compassionate man who values freedom above all else. Just ask Scooter Libby who now owes his freedom to the compassion of our Decider-in-Chief.
And it can be truly said that the President is often good for a chuckle. May I present a few of my favorite moments:
THE DOMESTIC LEADER
“I am mindful of the difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch. I assured all four of these leaders that I know the difference.”
December 18, 2000, reported by Slate magazine.
“Even though we’re at war, even though we’re at recession, the State of our Union has never been stronger.”
January 30, 2002, in Winston-Salem, NC the day after his State of the Union address to Congress (as reported by CNN).
THE WORLD LEADER
“Uh, I support winning.”
April 7, 1999, on CNN's Inside Politics, referring to America’s involvement in Kosovo.
“I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy.”
September 27, 2000, at a campaign stop in Redwood, California.
THE EDUCATION PRESIDENT
“Education is not my top priority ⎯ education is my top priority.”
February 27, 2001, during a budget speech in Washington, D.C.
“You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”
February 21, 2001, from a speech delivered in Townsend, Tennessee. Reported by The New Republic (March 5, 2001 issue).
“Reading is the basics for all learning.”
March 28, 2000, at a campaign stop in Reston, Virginia, announcing his “Reading First” initiative.
THE HEALTH-CARE PRESIDENT
“Diseases ... such as arthritis and osteoporosis can be less beea, beea-dilitating.”
March 21, 2001.
“If an insurance carrier can spread risk across a variety of people or a variety of firms, it makes it more likely his health care goes down.”
March 16, 2004, in Washington, D.C.
“Drug therapies are replacing a lot of medicines as we used to know it.”
October 17, 2000, St. Louis, Missouri Presidential Debate.
THE ECONOMIST AGRONOMIST
“I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”
January 27, 2000, during a campaign speech in Nashua, New Hampshire.
THE MASTER POLITICIAN
“It was amazing I won. I was running against peace and prosperity and incumbency.”
June 14, 2001, in Gothenberg, Sweden.
“The reason we start a war is to fight a war, win a war, thereby causing no more war.”
October 3, 2000, in Boston, Massachusetts, at the first Presidential Debate.
“We’re still being challenged in Iraq and the reason why is a free Iraq will be a major defeat in the cause of freedom.”
April 5, 2004, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Okay, those last two really aren’t very funny.
There is one thing on which the President and I agree. It is a wondrous nation that is built upon the principles that any jackass can be elected, and any other jackass can jump on a soapbox ⎯ or rant in a blog ⎯ criticizing and mocking the one in power. So from one jackass to another, Mr. President, have a great Independence Day.
And may all of you who reside in this great nation also have a wonderful Independence Day. Let us celebrate our freedom and remember the sacrifices that have secured it for us. May I add that if you happen to disagree with my opinion of our current administration, please feel free to say so in the comments. After all, it’s a free country.
After posting the above, I came upon another one that struck me as rather bfunny, given the events of 231 years ago we celebrate today:
"When Europe and America are divided, history tends to tragedy."
June 15, 2001