Democracy by Example

by Kieran Healy on November 19, 2003

Like Tim Dunlop I am a little disgusted but not at all surprised to hear that President Bush will not be addressing Parliament on his visit to Britain. According to ABC News, “such a speech could invite the kind of heckling the president received when he spoke to the Australian Parliament last month.” One might have thought that a leader with thicker skin might have told the begrudgers to “Bring it on.” Bush’s aversion to explaining himself to people who might talk back is well known, of course, but it seems insulting to treat the representative body of your staunchest ally in this way. Some Tories appear to think so, too, though most of the anglospheroids seem content to bash Red Ken instead.

Needless to say, the spin on the visit—see the same ABC news story—is that Bush is in London to “address” and “confront” those who doubt his policy in Iraq. He’ll just be doing this without, you know, addressing or confronting anyone.

{ 19 comments }

1

Invisible Adjunct 11.19.03 at 1:24 am

A parliamentary system is not the best forum for a leader of Bush’s talents.

This is not the only thing that might be said in favour of a parliamentary system, but I’ll just leave it at that.

2

taak 11.19.03 at 2:59 am

In one of my deepest, darkest fantasies, George Bush and Tony Blair magically “switch places” (like in one of those dumb movies) and has to debate parliament in a Question Time session.

God, I would pay SO MUCH to see that.

3

Hamishm00 11.19.03 at 8:33 am

Yes, that’s a good fantasy, although I’m sure Blair (Bush!) would just feign another heart “spasm”!

4

Dave 11.19.03 at 8:41 am

Every week? Wouldn’t that get a little suspicious?

5

jdsm 11.19.03 at 8:55 am

I don’t think any civilised person should have to speak before the British Parliament. Not that Bush is civilised but as a guest we should at least treat him that way.

The childish points scoring that goes on in that chamber is a disgrace.

6

raj 11.19.03 at 11:43 am

What do you expect? Bush is our first chickenhawk president.

…well, maybe not the first, but he certainly is one.

7

Dave 11.19.03 at 12:06 pm

I once heard Blair speaking to/debating with Parliament on the BBC. At the time, I thought; “There is no way Bush could ever pull that off.” Turns out I was right. Still, I’d have more respect for the guy if he’d at least given it a shot. “Mr President, we WON the Revolutionary war. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.”

8

rea 11.19.03 at 2:23 pm

“A parliamentary system is not the best forum for a leader of Bush’s talents”

Oh, great. Now I’ll spend the day trying to imagine a system that WOULD be a good forum for a leader of Bush’s talents.

9

Rick 11.19.03 at 3:31 pm

“Oh, great. Now I?ll spend the day trying to imagine a system that WOULD be a good forum for a leader of Bush?s talents.”

Here are a few:

http://www.somethingawful.com/weekendweb/

10

Matt Weiner 11.19.03 at 4:47 pm

Kieran, congrats on the “anglospheroids” link. Everyone else, click on it or at least run your cursor over it.

11

Andrew Ian Dodge 11.19.03 at 6:26 pm

I think it would have been great to see Bush address Parliament. It is a great shame he isn’t. No doubt, some nitwit in his security detailed nixed it, worried about his safety.

BTW the chickenhawk comment is fucking bullshit. How many of you lot have over 1000 hours in a jet fighter?

12

Keith 11.19.03 at 6:56 pm

I have logged zero hours in a jet fighter, which is precisely the same amount as Bush has logged. Oh I’m sure he sat one a few times before going AWOL but I’ve sat in a jet fighter too. Does that mean I’m qualified to be Commander in Chief? After all, I lived in GTMO for three years*, Bush has not even been to visit the gulag he made.

*As a child my family was stationed there as my father, then employed bu the DoD took a job on base. This was back in the mid 80’s when it was still an opporational navel training facility. We had air raid drills once a week.

13

Thomas 11.19.03 at 8:25 pm

Why would he address the parliament, which is on record in support of his policy?

The ABC article notes that Bush has given interviews to British journalists. Isn’t that an appropriate way to speak to the people of our staunchest ally? Aren’t those British reports capable of talking back?

14

Ophelia Benson 11.19.03 at 8:36 pm

“Mr President, we WON the Revolutionary war. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.”

Oh but of course there is. Looking – well, foolish, to put it semi-politely.

15

Brian C.B. 11.20.03 at 12:20 am

Is there anyone else here who thinks this ought to put the final lie to “Bring ’em on!”?

16

Brian C.B. 11.20.03 at 12:21 am

Well, obviously. It’s end the damned paragraph. Sorry. (Note to self: Must read closer.)

17

Norman 11.20.03 at 3:48 am

Brian c.b., et al, I despair of guessing the best point to begin answering your questions; but I do know the answer to whether you seem to understand what a non sequitur is. Sadly, the only possible answer to that question, is that you don’t.

18

Ellen1910 11.20.03 at 4:51 am

A blog isn’t worth reading if it’s even more careless than the traditional media.

Two citations to “ABC” news imply that that network reported the news referred to. In fact it was AP that reported it.

Important? Yes. In fact ABC’s on-air report left the impression that Bush wasn’t addressing Parliament (or carriage riding with the Queen) due to security issues — not because he was loath to be booed in public.

19

Kieran Healy 11.20.03 at 5:13 am

Important? Yes. In fact ABC’s on-air report left the impression that Bush wasn’t addressing Parliament (or carriage riding with the Queen) due to security issues — not because he was loath to be booed in public.

Insecurity issues, more like.

do know the answer to whether you seem to understand what a non sequitur is. Sadly, the only possible answer to that question, is that you don’t.

Surely you mean “Sadly, the only possible answer to that question is a banana.”

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