Bush at Unity Conference
George Bush did not do well in his speech to the UNITY conference of minority journalists. For some reason, his stump speech call for tort reform did not meet with its usual round of applause, and when asked about "tribal sovereignty in the 21st century," his response -- "tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign" -- while technically accurate, did little to answer the question. Yet, as usual, Bush did have moments of true lyricism:
We actually misnamed the War on Terror. It ought to be the Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe in Free Societies Who Happen to Use Terror as a Weapon To Try To Shape The Conscience Of The Free World.We're sure that focus grouped well. In fact, we hear that the only reason they didn't go with it was that Toby Keith was having trouble making it scan. No, really: It's one thing to "misspeak," which everyone does, it's another thing to be so drenched in flop sweat that you start channeling David Foster Wallace, which usually only Dave Eggers does.
And this lengthy sound bite also reveals a real rift between Bush and some of his supporters. Apparently, 9/11 is sort of incidental to his foreign policy -- the hijackers just "happen to use terror as a weapon." Like they picked up some airplane tickets at the checkout stand or something. Whether or not they use terror, it's the "ideological extremists who hate free societies" that Bush has a problem with, and in that case, we look forward to his upcoming invasion of the Justice Department.
UPDATE: The White House has the official transcript. And it notes a detail almost too sad to include here:
We actually misnamed the war on terror, it ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world. (Laughter.)It's hard when you're used to speaking to pre-selected fanatics. . .
No, that's what they do.