George and Laura, America's first couple, had an interview with Larry King thursday night. There's been a lot of criticism of King for conducting a softball interview, but King has made a career of lobbing softies to get the guests he wants. No one really expected him to drill the Bushes - including the President and First Lady. That's why they chose King.
Laura was there because she polls much better than the President. I guess they figured that by sitting next to her, Bush would look better by association. It's kind of like smearing fudge on an onion. It looks like a big ball of fudge from a distance, but not so appetizing once you get a good look at it. Unfortunately for Bush, this was primarily an interview with the onion.
More cynical viewers (if that's possible) might've seen this double interview as a way to offset rumors of a rift in the marriage and a possible affair by Bush with, of all people, Condaleeza Rice. My take is; one, no one really takes the rumors seriously and, two, even if they're true, I don't give a hot bowl. Bush's job is to be President, not Laura's husband. I didn't care that Clinton got a BJ and I don't care if Bush is playing grab-ass with the Secretary of State. Beats drinking, anyway.
Back to the fudge. Editor & Publisher tells us:
Intrerviewed with her husband on "Larry King Live" on Thursday night, Laura Bush once again charged that "good polls" for the president never end up on the front page.
She also said that she did not trust the polls at all, because polls that reveal the president's low approval rating "are not what we we when we travel around the country." She added: "As I told you before, you don't see good polls on the front page."
Just recently, newspapers gave wide play to the president's positive "bounce" following the killing of al-Zaragawi. That bounce has since faded and, in any case, there have been no truly "good polls" for the president for the past year.
President Bush said he doesn't make decisions according to polls and said, when King suggested that he was "not popular," that this didn't bother him at all. Asked again about bad polls, he said flatly that they did not bother him emotionally.
OK, so Laura's not a politician. But anyone who thinks that all of these answers were completely off the cuff is drunk. They were both coached beforehand. The fudge was fed her answers.
It worries me a little that Bush says he's not bothered emotionally by bad polls - I don't believe it for a second, but it bothers me nonetheless. There is a grain of truth to it, though. Sy Hersh wrote in The New Yorker "A former high-level Pentagon civilian official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the government, said that Bush remains confident in his military decisions. The President and others in the Administration often invoke Winston Churchill, both privately and in public, as an example of a politician who, in his own time, was punished in the polls but was rewarded by history for rejecting appeasement."
Still, it's hard to believe that the pampered rich boy doesn't take rejection personally.
I wonder if anyone buys the fudge's argument that everyone loves the onion and all the polls are wrong. She seems to suggest that there are good numbers out there, but they aren't getting any press. Bush's numbers are so low, that they practically represent a consensus. You really can't lie to people about what they themselves think.
E&P also reports, "Asked if the U.S. was ready to shoot down one of the rockets launched by North Korea on July, Bush said, to the surprise, no doubt, of many, 'Yes, we have a missile defense system to protect our country.'" This is a flat out lie. Sure, we've got a missile defense system - it just doesn't work.
In the end, I really doubt whether this interview will accomplish anything at all. Those who love Bush will continue in their delusion, while the rest of us won't be moved at all.