Lots of talk, of course, about the shoe-throwing incident in Iraq. The point has been made, enough, I think, that this Iraqi reporter would never have been free enough to throw his shoes under Saddam.
In reading some of the forums, this commenter at Ann Althouse made a spot-on analysis that actually can be broadened.
Harsh Pencil wrote:
The reporter knows deep down that he can throw his shoe at Bush only because of Bush and it shames him. He can’t forgive Bush for that.
Yes. Spot-on. And when I read that, I realized Harsh Pencil had articulated the sense I have had, since 2001, that Bush Derangement Syndrome was rooted in shame and fear. I remember reading a Maureen Dowd column written shortly after 9/11 in which she blathered on about no longer being able to occupy her time discussing which nylons she bought (or something like that – I told you, it was blather). While I cannot remember the column clearly, I remember the odd (for then) tone of resentment Dowd expressed in it toward Bush, and at the time I thought:
she is resentful that it is Bush who she must look to for safety, that it is the parental, cowboyish Bush who is protecting her, and not the adolescent Gore.
I’m pretty sure Bush Derangement Syndrome is nothing more than adolescent angst because “their side” did not get to lead and reassure and hold-steady in a time of danger and uncertainty. It’s a larger demonstration of Bill Clinton’s regret that 9/11 did not happen on his watch, so he could have a chance to be a “great” and wartime president.
To some mindsets, there is shame in needing protection and rescue. In other mindsets there is resentment that the wrong person gets to be the hero. I will always remember Bill Clinton being asked about President Bush’s – by all measures – remarkable and well-reviewed speech to the Joint Houses of Congress after 9/11, and hearing him say, “I didn’t watch it.”
Right. The former president and political junkie did not watch a historic speech on a matter of grave concern to his country, while his wife sat rolling her eyes in the chamber. He didn’t watch it. Or, more likely, he watched it and resented the hell out of it, so pretended it didn’t exist.
Thanks, Harsh Pencil, for the clarity.
President Bush is processing this with his usual collectedness and unflappability.
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think you can take one guy throwing shoes and say this represents a broad movement in Iraq. You can try to do that if you want to. I don’t think it would be accurate.
QUESTION: Well, then, separately from him —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s exactly what he wanted you to do. Like I answered on your question, what he wanted you to do was to pay attention to him. And sure enough, you did…
[There was a noise on board the plane.]
THE PRESIDENT: The other shoe just dropped. Look, I’m going to be thinking of shoe jokes for a long time. I haven’t heard any good ones yet.
Say what you want about Bush, he’s a cool cat. Faces down two shoes, warns off the Secret Service and makes a joke. It reminds me of when he saved his SS agent in Chile, then shot his cuffs, and smiled as he greeted his host.
Classy, cool cat. And fearless. We won’t see his like again.
And his troops are on his side:
Look at the American troops; every race, every sex, every age, from every sort of background. I love it.
And of course, the people sick with BDS are still throwing symptoms.