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Liveblogging the Press Conference
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, April 28, 2005

The president is holding his fourth press conference in 5 years. I thought I would liveblog it.

Staring off with Gasoline:

—Doing everything we can to lower prices. No gouging, etc.

—Must address root causes, which is mainly that we use too much oil.
1. Gotta use technology.
2. Gotta use more efficient types of energy
` 3. Gotta have high tech stuff like hydrogen.
4. Gotta think about making the heathen foreigners more efficient.

Social Security:

—People are living longer, and taking more benefits. They're sucking the lifeblood out of the system. At the same time, there are too few young workers.

—Social Security will start spending more than it take in 2013. By 2040, it'll be bankrupt. Like, you know, it's not bankrupt now, really.

—Man, how 'bout that FDR. He was the bomb! Too bad his program is tanking though.

—So, here's some of the President's ideas.
1. Screw the rich (those bastards)! Poor people should make a better return than rich people (those bastards).
2. Younger people should get voluntary personal accounts. Not with a lot of options. Make it simple and easy to understand. Key word: voluntary. A lot of you seem worried about this. Wussies.

—Social Security is too important for politics as usual. Yeah, he's right about that, which is as good an excuse as any to eliminate it as a government program.

Questions:

1. The public thinks your Social Security program sucks. And the Repubs in Congress are bailing on you. That piss you off?

A: Hey, it's my job to try and explain this stuff to people. Once they realize there's a problem, they'll put pressure on congress. Then those weasels will have to do something. Oh, and polls suck. Never look at 'em. I'm a leader.

2. Gen Myers says the Iraqi insurgency is still kicking our butts. Why aren't you gettin' it done?


A. There's some old regime holdouts. But the Iraqi people are coming around. And the new Iraqi government is starting to get it done. But we're facing stone cold killers, so we gotta deal with them. Iraq is really, important. Gotta have that democracy in the Mideast. In the long run, that's the best way to beat terrorism. I'm talking to the Iraqi government. Gosh, I'm proud of those guys. I talked to the prime minister, and we agreed on everything. But he's not a puppet. Making progress.

3. Are judicial filibusters an attack against faith? Democrats: Anti-religious bigots?

A: Dems don't like it that the nominees are originalists. But they deserve an up-or-down vote. Don't ascribe opposition to my nominees to faith. Faith is a personal issue, but I don't condemn people on religious grounds because they disagree with me. I'll let the Democrats do that.

4. You keep talking about the energy bill, and wanting Congress to pass it. How would it help the prices now if they did?

A: Gotta get more crude on the market. Crude is the feedstocl foejw ww;oi hWR*{* [Oh, sorry, got mesmerized by all the oil-industry insider talk.] Gotta produce more oil, like the oil those caribou in Alaska are preventing us from drilling. Nuke the caribou! Drill for oil!

Oh, yeah, and conserve.

Gotta have an energy strategy.

5. If we're winning the war on terror, then why are there so many terrorist attacks?

A: We're engaging terrorist abroad, so all the killing is happening over there. We're opposing them, so they're getting ticked off. But they're getting ticked off in the lands of the heathen foreigners. No bombs exploding over here. We're making progress, but the long term success will only be reached by spreading democracy and hope. Meanwhile, we'll do some more killin'.

6. What's up with Vladmir Putin. Is he an ass or what? I thought you looked into his soul, and found the gooey center. What happened?

A: Hey Vlad's a hoopy frood. We're working with the Russkies on all sorts of stuff. But, we're still pressuring him on democracy, and when we do, he mouths the right words. Vlad's trying to help in Iran. Give them enriched Uranium for civilian power use, and then collect the used fuel. That's helpful.

7. John Bolton. Is he really a whack job?

A: John has been confirmed before, and he's done a fine job. He's a blunt guy, and he can get the job done at the UN. He's been confirmed by the Senate on 4 occasions, and has served the government for 20 years. He's exactly what we need to reform the UN. That's why I want to send him up there. The UN is important. For some stuff. Take Syria and Lebanon. They actually seem to have accomplished something. Kind of a freakish surprise, considering the problems at Turtle Bay.

8. Would Social Security reform be a success if congress preserves its fiscal reliability but refuses personal accounts?

A: Why should ownership be restricted to rich people (those bastards)? Why can't people have the right to have some personal investments? Congress doesn't participate in Social Security. If Social Security is so hot, then why don't congressmen and senators participate in it? They get private accounts. There is no trust fund. You don't have a personal account. Social Security is pay as you go. If you're worried about personal accounts, then don't volunteer to have one. Let people make a choice, and get a chance for better returns.

9. When can our brave boys come home from Iraq?

A: No timetables. We'll come home when we accomplish the mission. It's only like the 10,000th time I've said that. Have I been unclear? As soon as the Iraqis can start killing the terrorists, we can pull back. The Iraqis are progressing, and when they get to the point they can take over, they will.

10. Are the troops tied up in Iraq preventing us from getting things done with the NoKos or Iran?

A: Nah, we're fine. Let me talk about the NoKos while we're on the subject. Kim Jong-Il is an ass. And he may have nukes. We don't know, but we gotta assume he can. That's why we're including China, Japan, and South Korea. Bilateral approaches haven't worked in the past, because Kim isn't trustworthy. So we've built a consortium to deal with him. Don't wanna be unilateral. Helps to have the ChiComs on board, too. 'Cause he's kinda pissing them off, too. Oh, and by the way, Kim is exactly why we need a national missile defense system.

11. What up with all this hyperpartisan politics BS?

A: Yeah, that sucks. I've been disappointed in the tone. The Dems hate me. I'm proud of our party, though. At least we have some new ideas. Unlike the Democrats, whose last new idea came up in 1936. But, for stuff like social security, we gotta work together and get something done. And people are wondering why we can't get stuff done. All I can do is work with anyone who's willing to work with me.

12. That "changing the tone" deal isn't working out to well for you. IS your agenda in danger?

A: Nope. House passed the energy bill. Got tort reform. Got the bankruptcy bill. Got a budget agreement. Sure, SocSec is a big issue, but we're making progress. And if we don't get it done, SocSec is gonna cost an arm and a leg. If we don't, we're looking at 18% payroll taxes.

13. Given the fact that Kim Jong-Il is such an ass, what are our chances of getting anything solved?

A: Well, how far we let it go on is a question of setting up consensus among our coalition. May need to go to the UN Security Council. [Like that will help]

14. How about that whole "Extraordinary Rendition" deal? Would you like it if an American was "rendered" to some other country?

A: Hey, we ask the rendered country not to do icky stuff like torture. But we gotta defend the country. If that means letting the Egyptians or the Pakistanis do a little "interrogation", then that's what we'll do.

15. How's the economy? Is it weak?

A: I'm concerned. Energy prices are high. Makes it hard on small businesses. High gas prices are like a tax on families and small business. It affects consumer sentiment. Forecasts for growth are good, though. But to keep that going, taxes have to stay low, and we gotta have tort reform. Gotta reduce costs on business. Gotta open up markets to get the heathen foreigners to buy our stuff. Gotta reduce regulation. Oh, and by the way, we'll be unveiling tax reform in the fall. Tax system needs to be fairer and easier to understand. Hint, hint.

16. Teachers think "No Child Left Behind” sucks. Is it actually working?

A: Sure it is. [The fact that teachers unions hate it is evidence of that.] We're seeing results. We're forcing measurements of progress. Measure early, and correct problems early. Too bad if that makes the whole teachers union deal less cushy. If you don't like it, my response is this: If you're teaching children to read and write, then measurement won't bother you. If you just want federal money without accountability, then it sucks to be you.

17. NoKo again, when are you gonna do something, again? Bombing?

A: I'm talking about diplomacy. We need to get all our partners on board. But, at some point, there needs to be diplomatic repercussions on the NoKos.

18. What are your ideas about dealing with SocSec's solvency? What about this whole poor people get better benefits deal?

A: That's part of the negotiation process. My job is to lay out an idea as to how to make the system more fair. Not to be a detail guy. I'm the president, man. Oh, and another thing: Most families have two income earners. If one spouse dies early, then the remaining spouse gets screwed. All the money the dead guy puts into SocSec just goes "poof!" At least ownership let's you keep the dead spouses personal account money. That seems a lot more fair to me. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programs, that I don't want to interrupt, and prevent economic growth from broadcasting.

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So, there you go. Again, the plan for social security still isn't clear to me. We know he likes personal accounts, and we know he wants some sort of means-tested deal to ensure that the poor get better benefits than the rich (those bastards). But, still, that's not a "plan", it’s just an interesting set of ideas. There's still no detailed explanation about what he's actually trying to do in terms of how a Bush Social Security program would actually look.

One thing is sure. As long as the president pushes personal accounts, the Democrats will never agree to any Social Security reform. They go to the wall to keep absolute government control over pension, or, more precisely, the tax money that funds them.

The other thing, and no one is really picking up on this, is his announcement that there'll be some sort of big tax reform in the fall. I suspect the 2006 election year will be fought largely on the idea of tax reform.

Now, the president was all over the congress about energy policy, and explaining how, if we'd had a rational energy policy 10 years ago, we wouldn't have a big problem now.

But, he's been president for more than four of those ten years, so you gotta wonder why he wasn't pushing harder for an energy policy four years ago. So, if the lack of an energy policy for the last decade is the problem, then I guess 40% of the blame goes to him.

Strong performance by the president. He seemed at ease, and animated. As to whether he made enough of a case to peel off some Democratic support for Social Security reform...well, we'll see.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I wonder why the resident didn’t test the waters with respect to the possibility of means-testing Social Security. Of course, means-testing contradicts the "entitlement" feature that makes Social Security available without regard income or wealth, but I wonder why that is critical.

 
Written By: Dennis
URL: http://
But, he’s been president for more than four of those ten years, so you gotta wonder why he wasn’t pushing harder for an energy policy four years ago.
Jim Jeffords defection. Obstruction on ANWR. Sept. 11, 2001. Two wars (Afghanistan; Iraq) and "NO BLOOD FOR OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Obstruction on Energy Bill. Etc., etc. These were just off the top of my head. I’m sure Google would come up with more.

To be sure, I’m not trying to suggest that Bush doesn’t shoulder some of the blame for the lack of an energy policy. But he has tried to implement some things, and there have been more pressing problems in the past four years. One could argue that if he hadn’t handled the terrorism problem so effectively, we wouldn’t have the luxury of worrying about the rise in energy costs right now.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Dale, that’s the best summation/translation I’ve ever seen for a presidential press conference. Can we ask for a repeat performance on the State of the Union addresse?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I usually do liveblog important stuff. For instance, my liveblog of the last SOTU is here.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Yes, that was brilliant. If I could get my Symbolic Logic professor to break things down like that, I might actually pass this course. That was great!
 
Written By: David Quick
URL: http://heavyrebel.net
Easy, funny, concise, and I can practically hear it translated into the confident dialect of the Bushish language.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
"Vlad’s a hoopy frood"

Bonus points for that!
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://godco.net/matt/verisimilitude/
I’m wondering if he will get enough Republican support to get his bills passed.
 
Written By: M. Simon
URL: http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/
No Child Left Behind Can’t Work.

The problem is not the schools. It is the family. Says Bill Cosby.
 
Written By: M. Simon
URL: http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/

 
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