Memo to the Washington Press Corps: GROW A PAIR.
What the fuck is "negotiating with myself", and how can you sit there and let it pass as an answer to a question, or even an excuse for getting out of answering a question?
I was sitting there, watching the year-end presidential news conference, and on top of the usual array of evasions, talking-point restatements, complete diversions into entirely unrelated topics, and half-assed jokes the press corps let Dubya use to get out of answering their questions, now Bush is proclaiming repeatedly that he refuses to "negotiate with himself" over Social Security.
How does anyone with even a remote understanding of journalism and its nature not just snap and revolt and start yelling at that point? What does it take to provoke these people into standing up for themselves? How many times do you have to get pissed on from the podium before you realize that maybe you should spend a little less time trying to one-up each other and spend a little more time not getting your balls handed to you time and time again by a trained monkey and his handlers?
"You're trying to get me to negotiate with myself." You know what "negotiating with myself" means? THINKING. It means the President is not going to think about the point you raised, consider the question you've asked, because the question you've asked might contradict the path he's chosen.
They call journalists "the fourth estate", which is appropriate, since "estate" is increasingly associated with CORPSES. I know why they do what they do, why they let this shit go, why they roll over and play the game. Because now that their parent companies are making money off of the news, the ability to provide the product is more important than the quality of the product. CNN can't be shut out. CBS can't be shut out. They're asking pussy questions and accepting non-answers to preserve their ability to ask pussy questions and accept non-answers in the future. Which is compeltely useless as news, but is great when you need to fill 24 hours a day with random, meaningless footage and government propaganda.
Oh, and to CNN's anchors and analysts: TAKING TOUGH QUESTIONS is not a virtue when you don't have to answer them. You can be asked all the tough questions that you want, and when there's no penalty for dodging them, no penalty for answering a completely different question nobody asked, no penalty for providing an answer that's inadequate, inaccurate, ridiculous, or an outright lie, "tough questions" becomes an oxymoron.
Beyond that, an hour-long news conference, in which the first fifteen minutes are spent reading a prepared speech, is not "exhaustive". Stop lowering the fucking bar. If spending 45 minutes answering questions, something Dubya does only a couple of times a year anyway, is "exhaustive", then maybe there's something wrong with the person in charge. If it takes that much effort to fire up the old neurons and send the result to his lie-hole, he cannot do the fucking job. Which we knew anyway, didn't we.
And another thing. Why has nobody reported Bush learning a new word? He whipped out "complex" three or four times in a short space yesterday, and only screwed it up once, using "complicated" instead before correcting himself. This is big, big news! Now, when people say Bush is incapable of understanding "complex situations", at least the right can now counter that he knows what both those words mean.
In any proper world, a performance like yesterday's should have damn near sparked a bum-rush of the stage. Riots in the newsrooms. Loud demands for follow-up questions, instead of allowing Bush to smack you around with his down-homey "wit" every time you dare consider asking more than one question of the guy who thinks he runs the country. No matter how much you pretend otherwise, that is supposed to be your fucking job.
Thirty years ago, the press took down a president who was grossly abusing his power. Five years ago, you got used as a tool to try to take down another president for getting his dick sucked. And now, you're just getting used. Money doesn't buy happiness, but it does seem to make a fabulous substitute for self-respect.