President Bush arrived in town last night, and we were a bit surprised when he took us up on our offer to swing by Casa de Cobra for breakfast. Luckily we had Swiffers on hand to wipe up the dog hair and dust bunnies. Here follows a transcript of our chat.
PC (that's me): Honey, put the dog out in the back. The president's here. Hi, sir - how was your flight? Did you have trouble finding the place? (In a conversation that took place earlier between myself and the head of his Secret Service detail, I had suggested that the motorcade use MapQuest; he pointed out that they had a spy satellite tasked on our house, so that wouldn't be necessary.)
GWB: Nope - I recognized your truck from the surveillance photos. Got any bearclaws? I love bearclaws.
PC: Sorry, sir - I was gonna whip up some scrambled eggs.
GWB: That's fine. Hey - I read your post on the granola. That's funny. Made me laugh.
PC: Oh - wow. Didn't know you were a fan. Thanks!
GWB: Well, I found your site through Rude Cactus'. I read him every day. I post comments, too, only I disguise myself as a surburban housewife. "BoredMomAtWork"? That's me.
PC: Huh. Well, I gotta tell you, sir - I've been thinking about this whole Iraq war thing, and I have some ideas.
GWB: What'd you study in college, son?
PC: Political science, emphasis in International Relations.
GWB: Well, all right then. Shoot.
PC: Ok - first, Cindy Sheehan.
GWB: You gonna throat-punch me, boy? I played rugby too, you know.
PC: No, I'm not gonna throat-punch you. I see the snipers in the trees across the street. Anyway, Mrs. Sheehan. Meet with her, do a photo-op. Her politics aside, the woman lost her son. Agree to disagree about ending the war, but ignoring her is not right. It's a very visual way of saying that her son's sacrifice means less because she doesn't agree with you. And at this point, sir, most people don't agree with the way you're handling the war.
GWB: Well, I'm the C-in-C. I have to make the hard decisions.
PC: Right, but you make those decisions on behalf of EVERYONE in this country. We're your boss. Even the ones that didn't vote for you. You have a responsibility to all of us - ESPECIALLY the ones that disagree with you.
GWB: But when you say that you are opposed to the war, you demoralize our troops.
PC: I somehow don't think so. Despite what some in the press say, this isn't Vietnam - over there, or at home. People who want our guys and gals in Iraq home aren't calling them babykillers. They're worried that we're risking the lives of our troops in some misbegotten adventure. And you haven't explained to them why they should think otherwise.
GWB: I have! We must secure freedom for the Iraqi people, and win the war on terror. Are those eggs done yet?
PC: Sir, Americans are unique in that we are both the dumbest and smartest people on the planet. We tend to buy whatever the politicians sell us, but offer us a pragmatic solution and we're usually on board with it. And most of us have one thing in common that brings us together, liberals and conservatives alike.
GWB: I don't follow.
PC: Simple, sir. What's done is done. We can't climb into the Wayback Machine and change history. What we can do is fix the mess we made. Maybe. And we can start by being truthful. Stop talking to us like we're third graders. Explain WHY Iraq is having such a time drafting a Constitution - as the old saying goes, God didn't make Iraq, Winston Churchill did. Explain WHY it's so important that we make sure that Iraq becomes a stable, self-sustaining country. And stop talking about winning the war on terror. You want to win hearts and minds in Iraq? Get those people some electricity. You think the average Iraqi is gonna have faith in Uncle Sam when we can't even get their air conditioning to work?
GWB: You said we all have one thing that brings us together. What's that? The love of freedom?
PC: No. It's what prompted us to rise against the British when they told us they needed to increase our taxes to fight their wars, all the way to the present day, when car dealers finally put the muzzles and leashes on their salespeople and offered "Employee Discounts". Americans hate bullshit. We know when we're being bullshat, and we don't tolerate it. Stop implying that those who want to pull our troops out of Iraq are un-American. That's bullshit. They - we - don't want our husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and friends to die. It's that simple. Stop blaming the media for the very real problems that we've created and have yet to solve. That's bullshit. Stop trying compare this war with World War II; that's bullshit on so many different levels that it boggles the mind. It's like an M.C Escher depiction of bullshit.
GWB: Where do you stand? Do you think we should cut and run?
PC: You know, I'm glad you asked that. What I think is this: we have a responsibilty to our troops to bring as many of them back alive and in one piece as we possibly can. As soon as we can. We also have a responsibility to the people of Iraq - we promised them we'd liberate them from the evils of Saddam, and in return we gave them anarchy instead of democracy. Can we do both? I don't know. Smarter people than you or I have been trying to figure this one out.
GWB: Well, you've given me a lot to think about. Thanks for the breakfast.
PC: You're welcome. And as far as giving you a lot to think about...I wish we'd had this chat back on March 18, 2003.