How low can we go?
Crooks & Liars has the video, recorded from C-Span's coverage of tonight's White House correspondents' dinner, up at its' website. Dumbosaurus provides a transcript.
Unfortunately, C-Span did not broadcast the event as MSBNC did: With Bush on camera in splitscreen as Stephen Colbert lampooned him. If C-Span had broadcast the event in splitscreen, there would be no misleading and misdirected reporting of this story. "Not smiling" doesn't begin to cover Bush's reaction.
After Colbert completed the public excoriation of this President (and M.C. Mark Smith sent invited guests off into the night with the perfunctory "good night" and "thanks for coming" from the podium), Bush didn't hesitate for a moment before bolting from the dais and out of the room. He brooked no opposition to his movement. Laura's exit was more like being swept up by the current of the rushing, determined George, manuveured by strategic pushes whenever she paused to speak with him.
The C-Span cameras captured Laura craning her head to catch a glimpse of her husband's face as the program was ending, presumably to gauge his reaction at being taken to the woodshed in front of the Washington press corps. It only took a moment for her to assess his mood, after which Laura looked like a woman dreading what was about to follow - an interminable ride to the White House residence in the back of an armored limousine, alone with a simmering, festering sore of a husband who has to keep it together for the next six minutes it'll take to get him out of the public eye.
This is the George W. Bush whom his handlers have gone to great lengths to hide from voters these last 7 years. The real George W. Bush, and what drives every decision and policy that comes out of his administration. "The Angry Meanness of 'King' George," when his exaggerated sense of entitlement is denied. The drive back to the White House tonight was probably one of the longest, most tense few minutes that Laura has had to spend with George in a very long time. Trapped in transit with him until Bush could escape to a gym or a bike trail (or a bottle of Beam) and work off the tension of being forced to endure that public humiliation, not with just merely a straight face, but with a grin. Having to pretend that it was all in good fun.
But it wasn't.
Colbert's routine struck the wrong notes and the wrong tone, as did Bush's own artistic contribution to the evening's entertainment. Watching the Bush double (Bush impersonator Steve Bridges) giving voice to Bush's actual thoughts while the real Bush read from the politically correct script made me (and I'm guessing many others) very uncomfortable, probably because both of Bush's and Stephen Colbert's acts hit too close to the truth for me to see any humor. For a couple of hours tonight, wine was drunk, hair let down, and with the cameras rolling, the wheels came off the cart. We saw the dysfunctional family system that is at the heart and soul of those running the country.
However, few are realizing what they saw.
What happened tonight was not good - not for Bush, not for Republicans nor Democrats, not for liberals nor conservatives. But especially, what happened tonight was not good for America. Tonight we witnessed a new low in Americans' relationship with this President.
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