Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reflections on a Presidential press conference- No. 4

President Bush's remarks at his press conference of 10/17/07 about the threat of Iran have sparked considerable interest here in the U.S.A. and, especially, abroad. He stated " So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously."

As reported by of Great Britain, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, said: "The expression by the U.S. president will eventually cause international insecurity. This sort of policy will jeopardize peace and security at the international level, and is a barrier for peace." But he was responding to what is fairly mild rhetoric for the head coach of the "mushroom cloud" crowd. As the issue of the appropriate U.S. response grows in importance, the overheated rhetoric by the Administration will intensify.

Whatever the wisdom of our policy toward Teheran, Mr. Bush's reference calls into mind remarks made recently to Time Magazine by country music legend Merle Haggard. This is the extraordinary singer whose sentence for Armed Robbery once was commuted by Governor Ronald Reagan, and whose career spans several decades, including "Fighting Side of Me," "Okie from Muskogee," and countless (well, actually, they can be counted) apolitical hit songs.

Mr. Haggard, a self-described "born-again Christian" who drives a Hummer and assured Joe Klein "I'm not exactly a liberal," criticized "these religious groups that have so much influence on the Republicans and want to tell us how to live our lives." But Klein writes also

"The thing that gets under my skin most about George W. is his intention to install (sic) fear in people," he said, after walking me down a hallway lined with gold and platinum records. "This is America. We're proud. We're not afraid of a bunch of terrorists. But this government is all about terror alerts and scaring us at airports. We're changing the Constitution out of fear. We spend all our time looking up each other's dresses. Fear's the only issue the Republican Party has. Vote for them, or the terrorists will win."

Spoken before the President's press conference, this nonetheless says a lot about what the GOP has become in this era of Bush 43.

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