Bush Smarter than the Press

Steven Taylor provides a reprise of President Bush’s news conference (which I didn’t even know he was having) and notes that Bush understands fundamental principles of politics much better than his questioners.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kappiy says:

    James, I would suggest taking a look at the transcript of Bush’s press conference. Taylor’s “analysis” was pretty absurd.

    He cites Bush’s answer to a straight forward question about whether or not Bush has thought of alternatives to “reform” other than private accounts as an example of the press’ ignorance (and Bush’s wisdom) on the separation of powers.

    The problem with this, is that the reporter was asking Bush about his personal views on the issue. The lawmaking process, separation of powers, Congressional action, etc..were not even mentioned.

    Bush himself brought it up in his rambling as he was avoiding a straight-forward answer to the question.

    Rather than exemplifying Bush’s smarts, the exchange is more indivative of the opposite–his inability to comprehend and respond to a simple question and understand the complexity and consequences of public policy choices.

    His deluge into the land of non sequitirs is a typical response.

    My favorite came back in April when Bush was asked the very legitimate question: “And can you assure the American people that, post-sovereignty, when the handover takes place, that there will be more burden-sharing by allies in terms of security forces?”

    He rambled along for a while before coming up with this gem: “Some of the debate really centers around the fact that people don’t believe Iraq can be free; that if you’re Muslim, or perhaps brown-skinned, you can’t be self-governing or free. I’d strongly disagree with that.” You wonder what “debate” he was following! The debate within the KKK?

    Text of today’s press conference: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/12/20041220-3.html

    Text of April 12, 2004 press conference: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/13/politics/13CND-BTEX.html?ex=1103691600&en=5121061ec0de2f2c&ei=5070&oref=login&pagewanted=print&position=

  2. carpeicthus says:
  3. Igor Volsky says:

    For a president who prides himself on being a straight shooter, refusing to answer any social security questions because it would force him to “negotiate with myself” [himself] is hypocritical at worst, a ploy to not answer difficult questions at best. It is all a bit arrogant.

    more: http://www.politicalthought.net.

  4. McGehee says:

    Carp, go back and read Taylor’s answer to that comment.

    Igor, buy a Blogad.

  5. JakeV says:

    I think it defies credulity to assert that Bush’s evasiveness on the social security issue comes from respect for separation of powers and congressional prerogatives.

    Did Bush show similar reticence on the Medicare bill? I don’t think so.

    Seems to me that Bush either doesn’t want to discuss exactly what he’d like to see done with SS or he hasn’t yet figured it out.

  6. Dougrc says:

    I just love it that Dubya keeps the press corps back on their heels. A surprise press conference, the week before Christmas. What a stroke of genius. Most of them were probably mad they had to cancel their weekly Monday manicure appointments. No real politician starts the week out putting himself in the line of fire. Real politicians wait until late afternoon on Friday so that any collateral damage from gaffs will die down by Monday. That’s why I love our President. He doesn’t play by the Beltway “rules”.