President Bush "answered" questions today about many issues affecting his popularity, among them: Iraq quagmire, weapons programs in the hands of rogue states, No Child Left Behind. Little details or conclusive assertion were given. Mainly, Bush has asked Americans to put faith in policies that are meeting difficulty because they are a means to a desired end, or they sound nice. That's how he sells most of the policies he champions.
Here's a review of a few topics that were given attention...
When asked about a strong insurgency in Iraq, and a recent report that states how terrorist attacks increased in frequency between 2003 and 2004, Bush resounded his claim that freedom is on the march. American-driven democracy is the cure-all for the sectarian conflict in the Middle East and disputes between Islam and the West.
The recent forming of a cabinet and organization by Prime Minister Jaafari, Talabani, etc. all make a semblance of Democracy, and Jan. 30th elections showed a willingness of the Iraqis to participate, but does that make local ideology more tolerant of the West? Of course, one will only know by reading future history books. But rallies against the "Great Satan" taking place in Saudi Arabia and Syria make one skeptical.
Sum Bush response: Have Faith!
When asked about NEA lawsuits over the No Child Left Behind act and their claim of inadequate federal funding, Bush dodges the issue of funding and talks about the principle of the law which requires testing. He says blatantly that he doesn't know about the lawsuit, then goes on describing how its good that kids are measured on their ability to read, write, and do math.
The NEA isn't really taking issue with testing and agrees that kids ought to know how to read, write, and do things like "add, subract, multiply, and divide." However, Bush insists that the NEA rejects testing, and have a bad attitude, that they should change. I think Bush should really read up on that lawsuit.
Sum Bush Response: You better change your attitude!
Also, Bush sheds his great perpective on Putin's Russia,.
A reporter asked Bush about how Putin's willingness to sell short-range weapons to Syria and "nukular" materials to Iran reflects on Putin's willing to enact democratic reform.
Bush responded in a broader sense, reflecting on his talks with Putin in Slovakia about democracy. "he (Putin) stood up and said he strongly supports democracy. I take him for his word." Little reassurance there.
In regards to Syria, "we're working closely with the Russians on the issue of vehicle-mounted weaponry to Syria. We didn't appreciate that, but we made ourselves clear."
Sum Bush Response: shrug
In regards to Iran, "What Russia has agreed to do is to send highly enriched uranium to a nuclear civilian power plant and then collect that uranium after it's used for electricity, power purposes...I appreciate that gesture."
Sum Bush Response: Let's let the guys who are selling the Syrians weapons deal with regulating Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Bush ends his conference leaving more questions than answering those that he dodged, adding a quip about how he doesn't want to "cut in on TV show that are ready to air." One would rather have a distraction than to understand much of Bush's policy, such is the mass response his presidency.