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November 30, 2004

President Sissy. From the BBC:
The president will not address parliament in the capital, Ottawa, apparently because of the risk of being heckled.
We have a President who’s afraid of being heckled. By Canadians.

This is part of showing the world how strong we are, right? [12:19 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on President Sissy.:

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 12:46 PM:

Well, he's afraid of being heckled by Americans. And Canadians hate him a lot more than Americans do (Canadians would have voted for Kerry 80% IIRC).

This is a guy whose handlers protect him from all negative feedback. I sometimes wonder if he even knows how many of us wish he'd choke to death on a pretzel.

David W. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 12:49 PM:

This news item so glaringly points out the snug cocoon the Bush White House has spun around itself to avoid direct exposure to critisism that could be reported on television. It's all about marginalizing the opposition to the point where what happens in the the real world doesn't matter. I'm embarassed to be a citizen of the United States when our President won't deign to brave even a little open critisism.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 12:50 PM:

On the other hand...'sissy'. I must say I don't much care for that word, having been tarred with it as a child -- and I never lacked moral courage, just masculine mannerisms. Dubya's fairly butch, actually.

'Wimp' -- now that describes him. I may be a sissy (less now than when I was younger) but I'm not now, and never have been, a wimp.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 12:53 PM:

Well, we already knew that. This is a guy who was afraid of a triple-amputee.

Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 12:59 PM:

I would like to take this opportunity to remind Chris that we have no evidence that 80% of Americans didn't vote against the little wimp, either.

Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 01:01 PM:

(I have to admit that in this context, I think "sissy" is kinda funny, but I do prefer that we remember: W stands for Wimp.)

fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 01:08 PM:

There's a phrase I don't often use, out of respect for all the women through the ages who have worked hard to raise children--both their own, through birth, as well as those who came their way by happenstance--to be worthy humans. However, after considering both the shy, timid shrinking violet in the White House and his lovely mother, Mrs. It's-not-rude-if-I-say-it, all I can say is "What a whiny little mama's-boy". Oooooh, Georgie, did the bad peoples say mean things to you and hurt your ickle feelings? Dat's OK, Mommy wuvs oo and remember, Georgie, since you're the Chosen One, you can make them all sorry they were so mean to you.

Yes, that was petty of me. I have issues with chcknsht sshls. Maybe it's a hillbilly thing, maybe it's my parents' fault. Harry Truman was right, though: if you can't stand heat, do you need to be in the kitchen?

Columbine ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 01:30 PM:

Not that I'm defending President Junior in the least, but he may be afraid of more than just heckling, as Charles Fincher points out today.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 01:43 PM:

Ya know, stuff like that just shows that we're letting the president choose the frame for his platform.

someone needs to schedule a massive sleepin on the whitehouse lawn. Isn't that what the vietnam vets did when they protested the war? Something big. Somethign unavoidable. Something that can't be ignored. Something that makes the news.

Something that reframes the discussion to let everyone know that some of us can see through the emporer's new clothes.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 01:56 PM:

Maybe he's afraid they'll throw empty Labatt bottles at him.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 02:50 PM:

Hell, even Nixon gave the crowds in Mexico City a shot at him.

Of course, he served, so he perhaps had a different view of what showing the flag means (like, something other than wearing it on your sleeve while out closing bars)

julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 02:51 PM:

Oh, dear.

Note that by "a shot at him" I was using a figure of speech for "an opportunity to express their opinion of him in person"

Kai Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 02:51 PM:

Where did the BBC get that conclusion? There's no quote, it's just inserted as an assertion, and you're all buying it without question.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 02:53 PM:

um, verbally.

OK, I'll stop.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 03:03 PM:

Kai, you're right, but it's a reasonable conclusion based on Bush's past behavior. His campaign staff made people sign loyalty oaths to get into his rallies. They even ejected three women for wearing t-shirts saying "Protect Our Civil Liberties".

mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 03:23 PM:

You know what'a annoying? Last night on tv news -- it might have been abc -- they kept talking about the Bushes visit to Canada amidst "anti-American" sentiment in Canada. I guess anti-Bush means anti-American now. *grumble*

Chris S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 03:44 PM:

Awww, and after we showed our willingness to play by firing a Cabinet Minister who mouthed off about him...

(And yes, okay, I know that wasn't the whole reason she was fired. But it was part of the reason)

jennie ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 03:54 PM:

Kai Jones,

President Bush's reluctance to speak in front of Parliament has been a feature on the CBC news for the past week or so. You gotta understand that the source for the speculation is Stephen Harper — the leader of the Conservative party. That would be the pro-U.S., right-ish wing end of the Canadian political spectrum. The leader of the New Democrat Party, Jack Layton, wrote a polite letter to Mr. Bush expressing his disappointment that the latter would not be addressing Parliament.

According to the Winnipeg Sun, a U.S. official said "Frankly we don't want to be booed."

The word "heckling" seems have entered the discussion Mr. Harper. I suspect that he was referring to what happened when Svend Robinson (when he was fiery and less pathetic) heckled Regan when the latter last visited Parliament, and to concerns over what the...outspoken Mississauga Member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish (she who ground an effigy underfoot on national TV) might do. I can find no references to any member of Mr. Bush's entourage using the word "heckle" or the word "afraid."

Certainly this morning he made it clear that while he was willing to "explain" the U.S. war on Iraq nobody had any cause to "debate" it with him. A paraphrase would go roughly thus "We went in, and made the U.S. safer, and I don't need to discuss that with anyone." (He did not "explain" precisely how the war in Iraq has made the U.S. safer, either. Which is sad, because I was wonderin'.)

N in Seattle ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 03:57 PM:

Is what MPs do in Parliament heckling? "Question time" and other activities may be impertinent and even confrontational, but I don't think I'd characterize it as heckling.

No, I think it's that Dubya isn't permitted to even be questioned, nor to be placed in a situation where he might be found without a prescripted response easily at hand.

Northland ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 05:07 PM:

He's got no reason to be scared. After the Parrish kerfuffle the MPs all rolled over and promised to be on their best behaviour, and I'm sure the public gallery would have been closed for security reasons anyways.

Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 05:37 PM:

What struck me was:

"I made some decisions that some in Canada obviously didn't agree with. I'm the kind of fellow who does what I think is right,"

As opposed to the other kind of fellow, who does what he thinks is wrong?

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 05:47 PM:

Ya know, this is a fairly common theme that Bush keeps getting away with, and it needs to be reframed. Seriously. Anyone have some good one-liners to reframe this in a way that sticks?

"President Sissy" is one, but it just doesn't have the ring.

loyalty oaths, refusal to debate, no dissention.

You're gonna tell me that there isn't some label that we couldn't come up with that cuts to the heart of the problem and sticks like shit on a blanket?

Here's my entry into the Frame-the-President contest:

President No-Dissent

It's got a ring to it. fits on a bumper sticker...

Anyone else?

Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 05:54 PM:

"What's he scared of? The truth?"

Troy Lissoway ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 06:42 PM:

thank you, mayakda!

As a Canadian, I'm tired of hearing how disagreement with this US administration and its policies makes one "anti-American". When Reformers and Tories up here disagreed with the Clinton administration, was that anti-American? For God's sake, I've only met a handful of Americans in my life, and I tend to enjoy their company.

There's this attitude among both the left and right up here that if you're at all wary of the political and cultural influence the US has on our country, that means you must hate America. It's a straw man argument the Right uses in the media, and a number of Lefties fall for it. The fact of the matter is the United States and Canada are so closely allied that any disagreement over trade or politics makes waves.

I have strong concerns about Canadian autonomy in an age of ever-increasing integration of trade and security (ie, the nonsensical missile defense shield, our probable participation in NorthCom, constant trade sniping by some protectionist industries), but I would never consider myself against Americans in general.

Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 06:45 PM:

Greg, you don't get on the White House Lawn without Secret Service permission (or arrest). The traditional place for protesting (and this is where the tent city was) is across the now-closed-at-that-point Pennsylvania Avenue in Lafayette Park.

Kai (have you told these people your new name is said "Kay"?), this is what the WashPost had to say about it:

"But Bush declined an invitation to address the Canadian Parliament, where White House officials reportedly feared a presidential speech would be met with heckling -- a common occurrence in parliamentary systems. Bush was heckled when he addressed the Australian Parliament last year, and President Ronald Reagan was interrupted by catcalls during a speech to the Canadian Parliament in 1987.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan refused to say whether the invitation to address Parliament was turned down because of concerns about heckling. He stressed instead that Bush would speak directly to the Canadian people Wednesday from Halifax."

Kimberly Chapman ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 06:51 PM:

I'm Canadian, living in the US. I heard about this this morning and laughed...

Most Canadians are polite and politically apathetic. The idea of a head of state being booed seems so...dirty. That is, if it was anyone else. I do believe Bush would have been booed, and not just for the issues Americans assume.

Bush represents the epitome of the stereotypical dumb-but-loud Yank that Canadians mutter about on a regular basis. He's ignorant of world politics. He's arrogant and mean. He's a blowhard. He forces his religion onto others. He stomps over anyone who disagrees with him - even people who would otherwise be on his side.

Nobody likes being confronted with what should be an untrue stereotype.

Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 07:03 PM:

Julia: If memory serves, Nixon served by playing poker and writing cargo manifests for several years, so possibly not the best comparison (Although, yeah, he did volunteer to go despite a religious get-out card, which is worth remembering).

On the other hand, he quite literally did give the crowd a shot at him in Venezuela...

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 07:12 PM:

The implied frame for Bush's behaviour is "Father Knows Best", which might be fine for raising children, but doesn't work for a representative government. To trump it, how about this:

George "Voters should be seen and not heard" Bush

Sort of shows how he's relating to the people he's supposed to represent.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 07:14 PM:

Marilee: thanks for hte info. probably too cold right now anyway.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 07:18 PM:

Oh, here's one that uses Bush's words against him, sort of a two-for-one reframing.

We shouldn't need a "permission slip" to attend our leader's political rallies

Public officials = Public Rallies

Sidra Vitale ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 08:10 PM:

We have a President who’s afraid of being heckled. By Canadians.

Well, it's not like Canada has a reputation for politeness, or anything.

Kai Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 09:02 PM:

Thanks, Marilee. I still don't know if it's *fear*, though; I can think of other reasons to avoid situations where you might be heckled (or even questioned) than fear.

Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2004, 09:18 PM:

Well, it's not like Canada has a reputation for politeness, or anything.


Bush was heckled when he addressed the Australian Parliament last year.

I wouldn't know about the Canadian Parliament - all the Canadians I've ever known were polite, pleasant and unassuming people - but the Australian Parliament, and particularly its lower house, has always had a rep for being one of the true bearpits of politics. This is a chamber in which a Prime Minister described the upper house as "unrepresentative swill" and the opposition as "scumbags" and "maggots". On the floor, in what was referred to as formal debate.

Samples of Australian Parliamentary repartee:

MP: The Member for Blaxland has the brains of a sheep.

Mr Speaker: Order! The Honourable Member will withdraw that remark.

MP: Very well, Mr Speaker, I withdraw. The Member for Blaxland does not have the brains of a sheep, after all.


MP: I will have this House know that I am a country member. I have always been a country member, and I will continue to be a country member.

Interjection: Yeah, mug, we remember.


MP: I have never in my life seen a bigger galah than the Member for Hotham.

Interjection: Look in the mirror, mug.

Elric ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 12:54 AM:

Come on, guys. This is the man who has, for years, refused to attend events where he would not be guaranteed his standing ovation. After all, what's the point in having the most powerful job in the world handed to you in a silver feed trough if you can't act like a spoiled child about it?

Herb T. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 02:10 AM:

Marc Emery [*kof*] is planning to heckle in his very own way.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 02:17 AM:

We shouldn't need a "permission slip" to attend our leader's political rallies

Oh, I LIKE it!


Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 06:43 AM:

Can't think of anything particularly eloquent, but there's always, "Free speech, my ass!"

I don't think he's "afraid" of dissent the same way my daughter's afraid of a dog, but it seems to be his policy to go to remarkable lengths to avoid having anybody disagree with him in any way at his rallies. To me, that's cowardly.

Liberal AND Proud ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 08:08 AM:


The term should be...

The Manchurian President

or how about...if Reagan was the Teflon President..

is Bush the "Freezer Bag" President? The "Sandwich Bag" President?..."The Hermetic President"?

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 09:51 AM:

"The Hermetic President"

heh, now that is funny. ;)

I imagine a t-shirt with a picture from above of George Bush standing at a podium. He's surrounded by a solid ring of Secret Service agents. And they're holding back a mass of people demonstrating. They're holding up signs like "President No-Dissent", "we dont need a permission slip to attend our politician's rallies", and others.

At the bottom is the caption "The hermetic president: freshness stays in, reality stays out"

Teresa, is this a t-shirt for cafepress or what?

anyone else got some one liners?

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 10:32 AM:

Hey, the Globe and Mail cartoon from Tuesday about the Bush visit was nasty, in a way I will give you long odds neither George nor any of his advisers will notice.

Same thing with the way Chretien phrased his disappointed comment, about the start of Iraq War. So far as I can tell, it sounds quite innocuous unless one is an ethnic Canadian.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 10:39 AM:

Graydon -- I don't either, but I want to. Could you explain? (I recognize the figures in his thought balloon, but don't see why that's so nasty...the Prez really does think of Canada as a bunch of idiots who will do whatever he tells them to AFAICT. The Chretien remark I know nothing about.)

Magenta ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 11:44 AM:

I wish you would NOT refer to W as the "hermetic" president. I know you are using it in the sense of "hermetically sealed", but there are those of us who practice magical traditions, and hermetic means something very, very different. Google hermetic and you'll see what I mean.

On the other hand, the Manchurian president is much more useful - the reference is scarily accurate. Are there any people of Manchurian ancestry who would object, though?

Perhaps the illegitimate president is the most accurate - there is more evidence he was not elected either time than for any other president, to the best of my knowledge.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 12:33 PM:


Blister-pack President?

Glad-Wrap George? (Works in writing but not so well out loud.) The Shrink-wrapped Presidency?

Bubble-boy W?

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 12:36 PM:

Tupperware. The Tupperware President.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 12:44 PM:

Magenta, to avoid confusion with magical traditions, how about a slight tweak:

"The hermetic President: sealed to keep freshness in and reality out"

Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 01:10 PM:

Rated W: Not admitted without parent. Maybe part of the white on green Preview screen. "The following administration contains policies not suitable for all citizens..."

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 01:18 PM:

Dan, I'm still chuckling. I thought maybe I had a chance winning the "reframe Bush" contest, but you slay me. I bow before your superiour framing skills. ;)

Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 01:42 PM:

Thank you, Greg. :) I too envision a T-shirt. Now, though, we need to name the movie that garnered this 'W' rating.

"Worst. Debt. Ever."

"Uninsured Side Story"

"A Land War in Asia Too Far"

"Wag the Chief"

I used up my idea fairy for the day, so take it away.

Katherine ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 03:19 PM:

the joke made my day, but then I thought:

He might not get heckled, but if he took questions he would certainly be asked about Maher Arar with the cameras on. That's never happened before.

Less funny.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 03:29 PM:

OK, I've never visited the Canadian Parliament, nor seen any video footage (though my father was born in Ottawa), but I can remember the first time I saw footage of the British Parliament. Margaret Thatcher was addressing the Members, and though I am not a fan of her policies, I was very impressed with her intelligence and her presence. But what amazed me was the whole atmosphere of the place.

When the President addresses Congress, everyone politely listens quietly. The may applaud a sentence they like, but other than clapping, they sit quietly and applaud at the end. Thatcher's audience, on the other hand, was constantly restless. Packed shoulder to shoulder, they shouted "Hear, hear," when she said something they liked, and "Disgraceful!" when someone said something they didn't like. The whole atmosphere was lively, raucous, and charged with emotion. I saw Tony Blair debating the head of the Conservative Party recently, and things were a little more subdued, but not much.

Be they Labour, Conservative, or Liberal, all the British politicians I've seen seemed totally at home with this sort of in-your-face discourse. Bush may say "Bring it on," but he doesn't practice what he preaches--and neither do most American politicians. Rudolph Giuliani, much as I loathe the man, might cope with this sort of thing well, but Bush is not going to face a potentially hostile crowd and win them over with a total "Blow me!" attitude the way someone like Mrs. Thacher could; his audiences have been stage-managed for years.

So I'm only assuming the Canadian and Australian Parliaments are similar in tone to the English one, and that his handlers don't want footage of Bush being booed.

Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 03:37 PM:

I strongly doubt that Rudy Giuliani could really stand up to public criticism...it would be very hard to tell every individual heckly M.P. that they need to seek psychiatric help, and telling them en masse to go into "group" might be too collectivist for the Right of the Republican Party.

Remember though, that there's little incentive to be tough when bullying swagger will do as well.

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 03:48 PM:

Giuliani wouldn't fare too well with the true believers in the US, even if he could stand up to a Parliament (which is doubtful, IMHO). He may be appropriately authoritarian, but he's sufficiently gay-friendly that he lived with a gay couple when his wife threw him out of Gracie Mansion.

In short Giuliani is viewed as a RINO, so whatever his talents or opinions might be, his political future is pretty much limited to New York State. (And I think the upstate Republicans wouldn't vote for him because he's too closely tied to NYC, which they despise.)

Jim Gardner ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 03:59 PM:

A couple of notes on Canadian politics:

Our parliament has a strong tradition of heckling, booing, etc.—a tradition that's increased since parliamentary sessions began being televised and everyone started playing to the cameras. Newspaper editorials frequently denounce MPs for acting like kindergarten kids in a sandbox, but there's no likelihood the catcalls will end anytime soon.

On the other hand, every party leader promised that if Bush addressed parliament, their members would behave. It would have been an interesting test of party discipline to see what actually happened.

It's worth nothing that Canada currently has a minority government. This means that the Liberal party has more members than any other single party in the house, but that the other parties, taken as a whole, outnumber the Liberals.

In this situation, the opposition parties can topple the government any time they feel like it. However, voters won't be happy if someone forces an election frivolously. Therefore, the opposition can't go off half-cocked. At the same time, the Liberals must govern cautiously, never giving sufficient cause for the opposition to pull the plug. (The public always loves minority government situations; it means the party in power only makes "safe" moves, and can't act too full of itself.)

All of this means that Bush can talk all he wants, but the government can't afford to give him real concessions. If, for example, the Liberals agreed to send Canadian troops to Iraq, it would be enormously unpopular with the public. The opposition parties would dance with glee and bring down the Liberals by nightfall. In the ensuing election campaign (roughly six weeks long), the opposition parties would compete to see who could denounce Bush the loudest...and whichever party did so would probably win the election.

Bottom line: Canada will do nothing significant to help Bush. He's far too despised for the Liberals to risk anything more than token gestures...and the tokens can't even look too good, for fear of giving the opposition parties the excuse they're looking for.

jrochest ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 04:47 PM:

One more Canuck, here:

I'm not sure that they'd have booed Bush; it's normally during debate or during question period that you get "Hear Hear!" and cries of "Shame". They score points off of others, and Bush, though unpopular, isn't a legitimate target the way the Liberals are. I suspect the MPs would have avoided rude catcalls, custard pies and stomping (with difficulty, in the case of Parrish (sp?)

But they would have asked questions and given comments to the press on their way out the door; the US press would have been full of comments on how Canadian MPs had this or that to say on the President's speech. And they would not have been polite.

That would have been embarrassing.

Murph ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 05:07 PM:

Chris S, Carolyn Parrish was just an MP, not a cabinet minister. But yes, she did get the boot from caucus, quite a risky move, considering the Liberals are a minority government.

I think Paul Martin's government probably encouraged the queasiness about speaking to Parliament; they're a little embarassment-shy these days.


Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 07:01 PM:

Greg, it is *never* too cold, too hot, too rainy, too tornadoy for protesting in DC. There's an average of three protests a day, not to mention races, big-name funerals, and charity events.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 07:12 PM:

Marilee, you might be right on the cold, heat, and rain... but damn it, if I see a tornado, I'm gonna run.


Chris S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 09:42 PM:

You are, of course, correct about Parrish. Eep.

In other news... Last night on the National [CBC nightly news program, for those south of the border], more seemed to be said about the US media than about Bush. Specifically, about the flurry of news outlets that have recently been calling Canada "Anti-American". There were lots of sound bites from Fox and CNN, along with several examinations of how Canada and the US differ. The tone was that careful mix of stuffy earnestness and dry deadpan humour that so characterizes the CBC.

At least, that's how I took it. It's quite possible it wasn't supposed to be funny at all. Hmmm.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 10:28 PM:

Xopher --

I'm not sure if I can make this explanation work, but Bob and Doug aren't even parody, they're fiction.

They're a great big shaggy dog version of the 'Americans at the border with skis on the roof rack in July' joke turned round and looked at from the back. (Also in this genre -- Spirit of the West, "We Are The People of the Frozen North".)

Bob and Doug are also a joke that has a lot to do with the presumption of stupidity -- it works off of Bob and Doug being dumb, in a way that's a counterpoint to 'and you think we're so dumb, eh?' -- being mistaken for stupid -- as a cultural response. (Keep in mind that both the actors/writers are very sharp guys, and well known as such.)

So here's the leader of our largest trading partner (and if people in the US forget that, the readers of the Globe and Mail generally will not) arriving for a state visit, and the stuff on his mind is this thing that depends for its humour on the instant recognition of how wrong it is, and how familiar the value of wrong is, presented in a way that implies he's taking it for the Gospel truth.

Which is to say, 'dumber than a five pound sack of ten pound hammers'.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 02:39 AM:

This is terribly off topic, but we don't seem to have an open thread lying around loose. And I'm afraid I feel compelled to say that I want to see the Village People Christmas Special. No, really. Yes, I'm sick and twisted. You may all shun me now. (But I say it'd be a lot better than the nth reruns of It's a Wonderful Life, or White Christmas, or Holiday Inn, or whatever that thing's called, or any of those sickening schmaltzy sentimental Christmas movies foisted off on a whimpering public every year.)


scorpius ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 03:03 AM:

I don't know, is the Kerry practice of threatening to sue T.V. stations if criticism is put his way better? Or threatening FCC action better? Or getting a hard-working man fired from his job and ruining him better? Are the Fascist tactics of Richie-rich Kerry the Poodle boy better than a President saying I would rather not deal with the moon-bat left?

Bush's tactic shows maturity.

Kevin Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 03:11 AM:

The avoidance of heckling is not just a Bush trait. He's set a sufficient number of precedents so it's about time elected Dems did, too. As in, booing at the SOTU address.

The media will be covering it, there's no way they could play it down. It would establish once and for all that half of America's not going to be the silent whipping boy for the other half.

Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 04:12 AM:

A crucial part of Bush's strategy is to maintain the illusion that everyone agrees with him. It wouldn't do for one of his loyal supporters to tune into the news and see him getting booed. It is just one way that they maintain the echo chamber effect, and extend it to the populace at large.

It is a sad pattern in recent history, this disenfranchisement of dissent. And the worst part is that in trying to counteract it, liberals run the risk of looking like tantrum-throwing babies.

"Ziploc President"
Image: Bush's smiling head with a ziploc bag pulled over it.

scorpius ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 04:34 AM:

It is a sad pattern in recent history, this disenfranchisement of dissent.

eh, how is his not showing up to be booed disenfranchising them? Or is the President required by law to be publicly humiliated?

scorpius ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 04:35 AM:

BTW, at least Bush is not explicitly calling his dissenters and critics terrorists, as Clinton did to Rush Limbaugh after the Oklahoma City bombing

pericat ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 04:56 AM:

Being questioned is Dubya's worst nightmare. It's why such an oxymoron as "free speech zone" is now a done deal.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 09:16 AM:

Had another one last night, but I'm not sure how many people in your random sample of americans have read "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Basically, the idea would be to give the Guide's definition of a "Ravenous Bugblatter Beast", including the part that the RBB is so stupid that it thinks if you can't see it that it can't see you.

That might a little too obscure of a reference to frame it for most people though...

Come on, folks. No one has any more one-liners to frame Bush on avoiding any negative comments?

mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 09:34 AM:

Come on, folks. No one has any more one-liners to frame Bush on avoiding any negative comments?

His Excellency, President Bush.

(I guess that might only work for me)

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 09:40 AM:


I think it's a symptom of a larger problem.

Imagine a picture from above of George Bush standing at a podium. He's surrounded by a solid ring of Secret Service agents. And they're holding back a mass of people demonstrating. The demonstrators are behind Bush so he can't see them, and he looks to be completely oblivious that they even exist. The demonstrators are obviously mad. And they're holding up signs that include:

"President No-Dissent"

"We don't need a permission slip to attend our representatives' rallies"

"Hermetic President: sealed to keep freshness in, reality out"

"Rated W: Not admitted without parent and/or Loyalty Oath. The following administration contains policies not suitable for all voters..."

"George "Voters should be seen and not heard" Bush"

"Public Officials = Public Rallies"

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

"A patriot swears loyalty to his country, not its politicians"

Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 09:48 AM:

Graydon, that cartoon would be a lot funnier if I didn't actually think it represented a large part of Bush's thinking.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 10:54 AM:

Greg, don't engage Scorpius. It's counterproductive and will only result in his trying to steal the wormhole knowledge from your brain.

cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 11:16 AM:

I just want to say that Canada is not at all anti-American. Rather, the vast majority of us are completely anti-Bush. Don't listen to the media.

mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 11:23 AM:

It's counterproductive and will only result in his trying to steal the wormhole knowledge from your brain.

ROFL! Thanks for the laugh, Xopher.

So, what would Crichton do? (About Bush, I mean).

Hmm ...

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 11:33 AM:

The Tupperware President.

That's good. The Tupperware President. Freshness stays in. Blood stays out.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 12:15 PM:

Thanks, cheryl. It's appreciated, even though we're still trying to make that distinction clear to our own countrymen wrt ourselves...

mayakda, I'm pretty sure he'd try to steal the cooling doohicky and let him overheat and die. But that's just MHO.

Nobody else likes "the bubble boy"? I think he's being protected from the "infection" of dissent, and probably has no immunities. Heckling during the SOTU sounds like a good idea for that reason. I hope some congressbeings have the guts.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 12:42 PM:

Dave Weingart -

Hey, this is the Globe and Mail. They're not necessarily trying to be funny.

(The Globe and Mail is the analog of the Wall Street Journal, sorta.)

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 12:57 PM:

Scorpius, you got an actual, in-context citation to back up your bullshit? Or do you actually believe that saying somebody "fosters a climate of hate" is the same as saying that person is a terrorist?

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 01:20 PM:

Avram, you know we love you, right? Scorpius is just a DBT. Check its View All By.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 01:22 PM:

Graydon, thanks for that elaboration. I was told, actually, that Bob & Doug were invented as a protest against Canadian Content laws -- "well, here's some Canadian Content for you!"

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 01:56 PM:

If someone dissagrees with Bush's opinion, he doesn't call them a terrorist. That would be wild speculation, guilty before innocent, and using emotionally charged words to silence his critics.

Instead, Bush uses the more accurate and objective phrase that dissenters are "aiding the enemy".

Clearly there is a huge difference here.

Keith ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 02:36 PM:

The Farmer over at at Corrente has been refering to W as Bubble Boy for a while now, which is oddly fitting. As is, I think, President Kill Again (with the added bonus of being musiclaly referential).

Andr ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 04:21 PM:

Yep, yet another Canadian.

I have to comment here on Canadians (politicians or otherwise) reation to Bush. One of the few things we actually know is part of our 'national identity' is an aptitude for heckling - Canadian comedy is almost completely satire. It rubs off on the common politician as much as any of us, I'm sure (especially since they're often the targets).

They might hold their tongues (mostly) in parliament, at least when it's not 'one of their own', but they'd get their say coming out. This way it's only the people who satirize world leaders for a living that get much air-time on the subject.

Zara Baxter ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 06:04 PM:

Scorpius: "It is a sad pattern in recent history, this disenfranchisement of dissent.

eh, how is his not showing up to be booed disenfranchising them? Or is the President required by law to be publicly humiliated?"

Well, I don't know about Canada, but here in Australia we had various of our democratic laws and traditions mangled so that George W didn't get heckled.

Some examples listed here http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/23/1066631577337.html

There's more than just those examples; the extent to which various democratic freedoms were modified during the visit were quite disturbing, but..

I'm proud that we still managed a bit of heckling.

Respect has to be earned, and treading on the customs of the country you're visiting shows about as much respect as I'm willing to give in return. Which is to say, none.

Dave Hollander ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 07:43 PM:

Chicken George

"is the President required by law to be publicly humiliated?"

This one, yes.

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 08:08 PM:

"President Pupa"?

(Think of a developing beetle swaddled in a protective coat.)

Greg London writes: "George "Voters should be seen and not heard" Bush"

The attitude goes beyond just voters, though. Maybe

"George 'Subjects should be seen and not heard' Bush"

Where clearly 'subjects' includes, well everyone on earth, even if they don't know it yet.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 11:35 PM:

Hm, if someone who is loyal to their country is a patriot, then someone who is loyal to a politician is a what?

minion seems not quite right...

Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2004, 02:27 AM:

Rather than minion, how about lackey, or (only in some cases, mostly those who work directly for him) lick-spittle loyalists.

Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2004, 06:11 AM:

The thing about parliament (UK, Canadian or Australian) is that it means 'let's talk'. This is what I like about it.

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2004, 06:30 AM:

Jon H: "President Pupa"?

or "President Papoose" or "The Presidential Burrito"?

Nah. The first is insulting to Native Americans and for the second, I like Mexican food.

sundre ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2004, 10:49 AM:

I managed to catch some of his speech in Halifax. He made a point of quoting Canadians. Including an unnamed Canadian politician from the 60's who reportedly said "America is our friend, whether we like it or not."

It takes a great man to make friendship sound like a threat, yes? (I'm still trying to find documentation of that quote. Nothing found online as yet, but I'll get to the library this weekend.)

Here's another Canadian talking about America:

"Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant: No matter how friendly and even-tempered the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."
Pierre Trudean, 1969, to the Press Club in Washington DC.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2004, 01:59 PM:

Saw a great bumper sticker this morning that frames Bush's war succinctly:

"We are making enemies faster than we can kill them."

it occurred to me that the "war on terrorism" is a conservative frame that brings along with it the premise that the war is entirely justified.

Therefore, I won't be saying those 3 words in sequence again. "Bush's War" is my new frame.

p.s. Lackey is good.

Any other one liners for the hermetic president t-shirt?

mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2004, 03:43 PM:

A bit off-topic (but not much) - has there been a poll anywhere on whether voters have any regrets about the way they voted?

Jim Gardner ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2004, 04:37 PM:

In an earlier post, Cheryl said that Canadians aren't anti-American but anti-Bush. That got me thinking...because historically, Canadians are anti-American. Heck, we're the original anti-Americans. We were the first to tell the Americans, "Back off!" when we repelled a U.S. invasion during the Revolutionary War. My own ancestors were United Empire Loyalists (i.e. loyal British subjects who left the Thirteen Colonies after the war rather than become Americans). Ever since, Canadians have tended to have a passive-aggressive snootiness toward the United States. (Historian J. Bartlett Brebner once said, "Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well-informed about the U.S.")

But oddly enough, Bush has improved the situation by becoming a lightning-rod for all our habitual antipathy. Canadians no longer have a vaguely universal disdain; we have a specific target. Anti-Bush sentiment has reduced our general anti-Americanism. (He really is a uniter, not a divider!)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2004, 10:28 AM:

Getting back to the original post, what's really striking about Georgie's trembling fear that someone might boo or heckle is the way it contrasts with certain Canadian leaders who, wisely or not, showed little hesitation in offering hecklers--or parliamentary critics--a direct personal response.

Supposedly Bush-style Texans are all macho and direct and stuff, while Canadians are subdued and polite, but in when the athletic directors of the Bardo get around to staging the George W. Bush vs Pierre Elliott Trudeau Cage Death Match, I know who I'm betting on.

Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2004, 07:06 PM:

Patrick --

I'd pay more to see the George W. Bush vs Jean Chretien version, especially if Jean got his Inuit carving.

It's a pity the US doesn't have the same tradition of having politicians appear as guests on political satire shows, really it is.

Chloe ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2004, 11:13 PM:

I just had to chime in and say that while I don't necessarily condone the use of the word "sissy", I'd hardly call GWB "butch" when it comes to demeanor.

That said, I would've probably described Bush's hiding from hecklers as a tad on the namby pamby side. haha.

Alison ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2004, 01:15 PM:

Greg: Marilee, you might be right on the cold, heat, and rain... but damn it, if I see a tornado, I'm gonna run.

Marilee's right. Not quite a protest, but when we had our tornados in the DC area a couple of months ago, I drove past what looked like a ground-breaking ceremony for a church in Fairfax County on my way home from work.

Now that's faith.

Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2004, 12:02 PM:

How about:

President George II.

Unfortunately, there isn't enough anti-royalist sentiment to draw upon.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2004, 04:26 PM:

sundre quotes:
"Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant: No matter how friendly and even-tempered the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."
Pierre Trudean, 1969, to the Press Club in Washington DC.

Interesting timing; IIRC, this was not long after LBJ told the Greek government (pre-coup) about what happens to gnats who irritate elephants too often. Trudeau may have been riffing on that self-description....

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2004, 06:19 PM:

Isn't it magical how an emoticon can so swiftly and economically make a dumb post look much, much dumber?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2004, 06:27 PM:

I want a time machine and various other unspecified magical devices that will allow me to arrange a free-for-all debate between Pierre Trudeau and George W. Bush.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2004, 08:51 PM:

Sorry, that's it; "Towering Barbarian" can go tower barbarically somewhere else.

Yes indeed, I will tolerate my wife being rude to a dingbat, and I won't tolerate the dingbat being abusive back. Don't like it? Aw.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2004, 08:57 PM:

Igor not get to play "Jacob's Ladder" with power feed and barbarian's legs?