Lest you fear I've gone soft on Bush while on vacation, Crooks and Liars reminds us why Bush is so well respected abroad in ‘What exactly did I say?’:
Bush at a press conference on Saturday:
Q: And on the deadline [for Kosovo independence]?
Bush: In terms of the deadline, there needs to be one. This needs to come — this needs to happen. Now it’s time, in our judgment, to move the Ahtisaari plan. There’s been a series of delays. You might remember there was a moment when something was happening, and they said, no, we need a little more time to try to work through a U.N. Security Council resolution. And our view is that time is up.
Bush at a press conference on Sunday:
Q: Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday you called for a deadline for U.N. action on Kosovo. When would you like that deadline set? And are you at all concerned that taking that type of a stance is going to further inflame U.S. relations with Russia? And is there any chance that you’re going to sign on to the Russian missile defense proposal?
Bush: Thanks. A couple of points on that. First of all, I don’t think I called for a deadline. I thought I said, time — I did? What exactly did I say? I said, “deadline”? Okay, yes, then I meant what I said.
At which point assembled reporters started laughing at him.
Kevin asked, “[I]s it really too much to ask the president of the United States to take his own policies seriously enough to actually know what they are?”
The issue, though, isn't so much whether Bush knows what 'his' policies are as what role he plays in setting them. Or, as Adam Kotsko suggests that The real problem with the Bush presidency is that it is conceptually unclear what kind of king he thinks he is — the absolute monarch of the Ancien Régime, or the Hegelian constitutional monarch who just “says yes and dots the i's.”. But I prefer his other observation, that
The Democrats are now the party of continuing to have a constitution — paradoxically, they think that the only way to do this is by refusing to face down Bush's gravest violations of the constitution. Hence no impeachment, no real investigation into intelligence manipulation, just this endless dithering with marginal scandals like the US Attorney thing.
No one wants to “officially” expose the fact that the executive branch has been effectively treating the constitution as suspended for all this time, even though the information pointing to this conclusion is publicly available and overwhelming.
Meanwhile, I read in the papers that Bush received a rapturous reception in Albania. “Why did Bush go to Albania?” someone asked here. “It was the largest country he could find that approved of him,” someone else said.