Perrspectives - Bringing light to Darkness

Bush Laughs At Us, Not With Us. Again.

March 14, 2008

On Saturday night, George W. Bush showed once again that his sense of humor, and not his dull eyes, provides a window into his soul. It provides Americans with rare, fleeting glimpses into the dark and twisted character of a man who views with disdain the citizens he was elected to serve. If Presidents Kennedy and Reagan turned to self-deprecating humor to charm the press and disarm critics, in Bush's hands the joke is both a weapon to attack enemies and a shield to fend off accountability. His appearance this weekend at the Gridiron Club was no exception.
At the supposedly off-the-record event, President Bush turned to parody to again make light of the fiascos, scandals and duplicity that are synonymous with his tenure in the White House. Singing to the tune of "The Green Green Grass of Home," Bush laughed off many of the low-points of his presidency.
In addition to throwing Harriet Miers and Michael Brown under the bus ("like the fuss you made over Harriet and Brownie"), Bush guffawed about the crimes of Scooter Libby and the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame:

Here comes Scooter;
Finally free of the prosecutor.

Even MSNBC'S Chris Matthews, who has repeatedly referred to President Bush and his team as "good guys," was put off. "Nothing funny about a war fought for bad intelligence," he said, "and a top aide, Scooter Libby, who committed perjury and obstruction of justice to cover it up."
Of course, Saturday's performance was just the latest installment President Bush's petulance expressed as comedy. In 2006, Bush used the Gridiron Club event to poke fun at his Vice President. Bush delighted in Cheney's friendly fire quail hunting accident, declaring of Cheney's middle initial (Richard B. Cheney) that "B. stands for bulls eye." The light-hearted Bush also jokingly scolded the press "Good Lord, you'd thought he shot somebody or something."
The President's ribbing of Cheney, the supposed man behind the throne, extended to Bush's own disastrous mishandling of the Dubai ports deal and his calamitous response to Hurricane Katrina. Bush claimed that it is in fact Lynne Cheney who is the woman behind the man behind the man. Bush went on to the punchline:

"Lynne, I think you're doing a heck of a job. Although I have to say you dropped the ball big time on that Dubai deal."

Bush's attempts at comedy might actually be funny if there weren't so, well, tragic. Only in mirth does Bush seem to speak the truth. For example, Bush used the October 2000 Al Smith dinner in New York to shed light on the constituency for his first-term agenda:

"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites; I call you my base."

Bush's presentation at the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner showed his contempt for the truth and the suffering of the American people. His tasteless White House slideshow made light of the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Coming one year and hundreds of American dead and wounded after the invasion of Iraq, President Bush the cut-up hoped to regale the audience with his White House hijinx. As David Corn of The Nation reported:

Bush notes he spends "a lot of time on the phone listening to our European allies." Then we see a photo of him on the phone with a finger in his ear. But at one point, Bush showed a photo of himself looking for something out a window in the Oval Office, and he said, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." The audience laughed. I grimaced. But that wasn't the end of it. After a few more slides, there was a shot of Bush looking under furniture in the Oval Office. "Nope," he said. "No weapons over there." More laughter. Then another picture of Bush searching in his office: "Maybe under here." Laughter again.

But as his dismal history shows, President Bush isn't content to try to laugh off his greatest failures and endless wrongdoing. After all, as his past teasing of the blind, the disabled, U.S. soldiers and blacks confirms, President Bush is laughing at us, not with us.
In Cleveland last summer, President Bush offered Americans yet another example of the heartwarming leadership style that has so endeared him to about a quarter of all Americans. At his latest invitation-only event, Bush made a 13-year old girl cry. Of course, making fun of children is all in day's work for George W. Bush.
ThinkProgress tells the tale of Bush's failed outreach:

Jessica Hackerd, a "13-year old blonde-headed girl," asked Bush what his "next step with the immigration bill" will be. "Mr. Bush's sarcastic reply - a wry 'yeah, thanks' - drew laughter from the crowd of 400. But the attention caused young immediately tear up. 'No, it's a great question. No, I appreciate that,' Mr. Bush said, as he saw Jessica's reaction.'

That, as they say, was just Bush being Bush. In May 2006, President Bush made a bizarre remark which charmed disability advocates everywhere. Pitching his troubled Medicare prescription plan in Florida, President Bush said to a man in a wheelchair, "You look mighty comfortable." Six weeks later, Bush chided Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten, who is afflicted with Stargardt's disease and legally blind, for wearing sunglasses during the President's press conference:

THE PRESIDENT: Are you going to ask that question with shades on?
WALLSTEN: I can take them off.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm interested in the shade look, seriously.
WALLSTEN: All right, I'll keep it, then.
THE PRESIDENT: For the viewers, there's no sun.
WALLSTEN: I guess it depends on your perspective.

George W. Bush's schadenfreude streak allows him to pleasure in the plight of the guilty and innocent alike. In 1999, Governor Bush laughed off his looming execution of Karla Faye Tucker, mimicking with condemned death row inmate with his trademark smirk, "Please don't kill me!" And while pitching his Social Security privatization scheme in February 2005, President Bush told a 57 year-old woman who described working three jobs that her story was "uniquely American" and "fantastic."
It was during that same failed campaign to sell his plan to undo Social Security that President Bush displayed his great pleasure in perpetuating stereotypes of African-Americans. President Bush used his January 12, 2005 town hall meeting to sell his Social Security privatization plan to a hand-picked African-American audience:

"Another interesting a personal savings account...which can't be used to bet on the lottery, or a dice game, or the track.
"Secondly, the interesting -- there's a -- African American males die sooner than other males do, which means the system is inherently unfair to a certain group of people."

And so it goes. Americans' scorn for George W. Bush is reflected in record-low approval ratings. But the feeling is mutual. As his mean-spirited sense of humor on display from the beginning of his presidency shows, Bush doesn't care much for the American people. And as always, the joke is on us.

2 comments on “Bush Laughs At Us, Not With Us. Again.”

  1. Hi guys,
    Here is something that can't be covered up or sung about. All the man made islands in Dubai are about to sink. That will happen as a direct result of the earthquake about to hit Russia and Tokyo.
    Don't try and kill the messenger she works for God.
    Have a great day~~~~
    Now may I suggest that my website goes back up and I am given my very well earned promotion as the next director of the CIA. So I can help to keep all of you playing fair and honest for the protection of our children and the sanctity of our nation.
    God Bless America


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

Follow Us

© 2004 - 
 Perrspectives. All Rights Reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram