Blarney and 'Friends'
Expect a hot August: The way the Bush Error was received in Eire in late June gave a broad hint of what Dubya can expect here at the Republican National Convention. No wonder his handlers seem to be trying to scare the country into shutting up.
It's almost funny, if it weren't so damned tragic, that his campaign weapons are so conventional: Some of the same information on possible terrorist activity that federal officials shrugged off before 9/11 is now just stale, but nevertheless has become part of the "detail" being trotted out by the Bush regime to strike fear into post-9/11 America.
As my colleague Jim Ridgeway points out (along with The Washington Post, the families of the 9/11 victims, and others), Sunday's "terror" alert by Tom Ridge seems to have been plucked out of the thinnest air atop the highest mountain on Earth.
The real reason for Thomas of Orange's stern warning is becoming clearer and clearer: Lock down Manhattan to protect Bushnot from violent protests but from talkative protesters eager to tell the world what they think when they see him in a few weeks.
Bush's handlers no doubt studied the ruckus caused by the president's visit in late June to Ireland, where he was met by 10,000 protestersand guarded by 6,000 security troops. What drastic measures are the U.S. government and its Manhattan coalition of the willing going to take to ensure that Republican Square Garden won't be deflowered?
In Ireland, it took "the biggest security operation ever mounted" there, according to The Australian newspaper. During a Dublin march, the paper said, "leaders of the Green Party handed out copies of a mock set of instructions advising protesters how to make a 'citizen's arrest' of Mr. Bush if they meet him."
Hardly likely, as the paper noted: "Eamonn McCann, a veteran socialist from Northern Ireland, raised a cheer by saying that if Mr. Bush's reasons for war had been legitimate, 'he wouldn't be cowering behind rings of steel in the County of Clare.'"
But Bush was in trouble with the Irish before he even left D.C.in fact, before he even left the White House.
Carole Coleman, Washington correspondent for Radio TelefÌÐs ÌÅireann (RTÌÅ), the Irish national radio-TV system, interviewed Dubya in his home on June 24. She didn't bring a pen; she brought a big-ass shillelagh. (See the video; read the White House transcript.)
Harpooned by his own gaffes, Bush sounded like a Moby-Dickhead. When Coleman asked him, "Why is it that others don't understand what you're about?" the historically hysterical Bush riposted, "One of our greatest allies ofin the world is your neighbor, Great Britain. Tony Blair has been a strong advocate for not only battling terrorists, but promoting freedom, for which I am grateful."
Ah, th' British gov'mint! 'Tis a foin, foin neighbor fer those of us who spake Erse!
Bush probably thinks the Irish Republican Army is some group of elderly American stamp-lickers named Murphy and Boyle who send out GOP fundraising letters.
The New York Times took a few words on July 4 to praise Coleman as "intrepid," noting that after her polite but firm (assertive, bub, not aggressive) probing of Bush, the White House canceled her scheduled interview with Laura Bush. "The griping and debate about the [Dubya] interview," noted the Times, "was a sad reminder to Americans that the White House seldom welcomes robust questioning, especially when it is most needed."
The Q&A was tee and hee. Here are excerpts from Coleman's questions:
And here are excerpts of his answers:
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.