Perhaps still stinging from the Russert interview debacle, Karl Rove–on whom it’s beginning to dawn that Junior’s chances are less than stellar at this point–decided to allow Bush to talk to the press–sort of. He was allowed an 80-min session with five hand-picked network correspondents in private and off-the-record. The rules for the session were “that his comments would not be directly quoted or attributed to him.” It would seem that Karl is trying out a new strategy: Don’t let the stupid sonuvabitch talk in public unless he’s reading something, and don’t let the press have access to him unless they agree not to quote him directly so his stupid doesn’t show.
That the networks accepted this ludicrous arrangement is bad enough but not particularly surprising. I just got finished telling you in the previous post why I’m not expecting a miraculous return of the adversarial press anytime soon. What really gets to me is the potential spectacle of a presidential candidate running for office without ever facing us outside scripted, tightly controlled campaign “events.” Is Rove going to duck the debates? Is Junior going to stay holed up in the Oval Office pretending to be “presidential” except for appearances in front his corporate donors and “photo ops” where no questions or contact with the real public is allowed? I mean, what kind of a democracy do they think this is?
If the press let that happen–and this “private session” BS suggests they will–they will forfeit in disgrace what little credibility they have left. If Rove is allowed to run Junior like the Kremlin ran Andropov, the GOP will forfeit whatever slim claim to governance they think they have. And if the Democrats don’t hammer Bush for being disconnected and afraid to face us, they will forfeit the last grains of their integrity.
(Thanks to Body and Soul)