1.04.2004

POLITICS - The Other Fib

Here's my other favorite fib to be generated by the Bush Administration in 2003. This one isn't a big deal when compared to the felonies of BoxGate or the SoTU address. But this fib encapsulates the contempt that this Administration has for the American public, its willingness to speak untruths on the record and then try to double-speak out of it.

However, this untruth wasn't spoken by Rumsfeld or Cheney in the buildup to the war. This lie comes from Laura Bush. Matt Bivens from the Nation provides the details and the commentary here (Go check out the rest of the article, too):

About three months ago, First Lady Laura Bush, in a speech to the National Book Festival, told a charming anecdote about her husband. Here, according to the White House website, is what she had to say:

"We delight in great works of literature and especially in the works of budding new artists. President Bush is a great leader and husband -- but I bet you didn't know, he is also quite the poet. Upon returning home last night from my long trip [to Europe], I found a lovely poem waiting for me. Normally, I wouldn't share something so personal, but since we're celebrating great writers, I can't resist:

Dear Laura,

Roses are red,

violets are blue

oh my lump in the bed,

how I've missed you.

Roses are redder,

bluer am I

seeing you kissed

by that charming French guy.

The dogs and the cat

they miss you too,

Barney's still mad you dropped him,

he ate your shoe.

The distance my dear

has been such a barrier,

next time you want an adventure,

just land on a carrier.

It was such an awful poem that it actually rang true, and therefore kinda treacly sweet.

Now it turns out that this was a bizarre falsehood. A lie. Interviewed on "Meet the Press" over the weekend, Laura Bush was shown the video clip of her remarks -- in one of those let-our-hair-down moments the television journalists so love. Anchor Tim Russert teasingly turned to Mrs. Bush for comment:

MR. RUSSERT: Now, who could have written that poem, huh? I mean, what ...

MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, he didn't really write the poem. But a lot of people really believed that he did. That evening at the dinner, what some woman from across the table said: "You just don't know how great it is to have a husband who would write a poem for you."

Gee, I wonder if some people really believed that George Bush wrote that silly poem because Laura Bush said: Hey, my husband wrote me this silly poem, and normally I wouldn't share it because it's so personal, but I can't resist.

This hardly qualifies as "an outrage." It's more just weird. Think about it. If George Bush didn't write that poem -- who did?
- Matt Bivens


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