Kerry's Failed Joke, Bush's Sick Humor

[EXCERPTED FROM "Kerry's Failed Joke, Bush's Sick Humor."]

John Kerry's failed "stuck in Iraq" joke once again highlighted the Massachusetts Senator's uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  But as George Bush, Dick Cheney and their amen corner try to make hay at Kerry's expense to help the GOP's flagging midterm prospects, they should take care that Americans not be reminded of the President's own sick sense of humor.  After all, Bush's jokes usually come at our expense.

A sense of humor has always been an invaluable tool for presidents.  Self-deprecating humor helped endear John F. Kennedy to the press and allowed Ronald Reagan to disarm his critics.  But for George W. Bush, humor provides only a occasional glimpse of the truth and a rare window into the dark soul of a man who apparently views his fellow citizens with disdain.  

President Bush's performance in March at the Gridiron Club was no exception. Bush used the roast that night to poke fun at his Vice President.  Bush delighted in Cheney's friendly fire quail hunting accident, declaring of Cheney's middle initial (Richard B. Cheney) that "B. stands for bulls eye." The light-hearted Bush also jokingly scolded the press "Good Lord, you'd thought he shot somebody or something."

The President's ribbing of Cheney, the supposed man behind the throne, extended to Bush's own disastrous mishandling of the Dubai ports deal and his calamitous response to Hurricane Katrina.  Bush claimed that it is in fact Lynne Cheney who is the woman behind the man behind the man.  Bush went on to the punchline:

"Lynne, I think you're doing a heck of a job. Although I have to say you dropped the ball big time on that Dubai deal."

Bush's attempts at comedy might actually be funny if there weren't so, well, tragic.  Only in mirth does Bush seem to speak the truth.  For example, Bush used the October 2000 Al Smith dinner in New York to shed light on the constituency for his first-term agenda:

"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores.  Some people call you the elites; I call you my base."

Bush's presentation at the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner showed his contempt for the truth and the suffering of the American people.  His tasteless White House slideshow made light of the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  Coming one year and hundreds of American dead and wounded after the invasion of Iraq, President Bush the cut-up hoped to regale the audience with his White House hijinx.  As David Corn of The Nation reported:

Bush notes he spends "a lot of time on the phone listening to our European allies." Then we see a photo of him on the phone with a finger in his ear.  But at one point, Bush showed a photo of himself looking for something out a window in the Oval Office, and he said, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." The audience laughed. I grimaced. But that wasn't the end of it. After a few more slides, there was a shot of Bush looking under furniture in the Oval Office. "Nope," he said. "No weapons over there." More laughter. Then another picture of Bush searching in his office: "Maybe under here." Laughter again.

President Bush seems almost physiologically incapable of telling the truth.  The Bush White House just can't come clean about pre-war intelligence, the NSA spying program, the cost of the Medicare prescription drug plan, his relationships with Ken Lay and Jack Abramoff, global warming, the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the Dubai ports deal or virtually anything else.  Only when he's telling a joke does President Bush shed light on reality.

Unfortunately, the joke's on us.

Tags: George Bush, Iraq, John Kerry (all tags)


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