Bush, Bonds Extend Dubious Records
This week, two of the least trusted men in America extended their dubious records of accomplishment. Last night in San Francisco, the steroids-scandal tainted Barry Bonds added to his record home run total by swatting his 757th round-tripper. And this morning in Washington, George W. Bush held a rare press conference before commencing his annual August vacation, a recess which will pad his dismal presidential record for most days off.
As the AP reported, after Bush's latest losing battle with the English language in front of the DC press corps today, the President will kick off a month long holiday. After a short jaunt to the family compound in Maine and a quick visit with new French President Nicolas Sarkozy in New Hampshire, Bush will briefly touch-down at the White House before his latest pilgrimage to Crawford, Texas.
As I noted last month, George W. Bush easily shattered all previous milestones for presidential sloth. It's not just the sheer amount of time Bush has been gone from the White House; it's what he missed while he wasn't returning calls:
Judging by the numbers, the Bush presidency at times resembles one extended holiday. As of this Easter, Bush had traveled to his Crawford ranch 63 times, spending all or part of 405 days there. By August 2005, Bush set the two-term record for most presidential days off, easily eclipsing Ronald Reagan's previous eight-year tally of 335.
While Bush has been AWOL from the White House even more than from the Texas Air National Guard, it's what he missed during his time at play that is more disturbing still. In August 2001, the Crawford-based Bush brushed off what he deemed a "cover your ass" memo, the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) ominously titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Four years later, Bush strummed an acoustic guitar as New Orleans was submerged by Hurricane Katrina. The following July, Bush relaxed again, as the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict exploded in Lebanon. And just weeks ago, Bush hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the family compound in Kennebunkport. While Bush was apparently once again looking into Putin's soul, the budding Kremlin autocrat was moving ahead with his plan to withdraw from the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty.
As it turns out, record-holders Bonds and Bush share much in common. Neither, apparently, is concerned by the use of performance-enhancing steroids in baseball. As ThinkProgress reported, then-Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush turned a blind eye towards steroids in his team's clubhouse. And when former Ranger and confirmed steroid user Rafael Palmeiro testified to Congress under a cloud of suspicion, President Bush stood by his man. "He's a friend," Bush said on August 2, 2005, "He's testified in public, and I believe him."
Happy trails, Mr. President.