President Bush gave a press conference today. Which reminds us why he doesn’t do it more often. Here are some of the questions he fielded:
Q Mr. President, you say you’re making progress in the Social Security debate. Yet private accounts, as the centerpiece of that plan, something you first campaigned on five years ago and laid before the American people, remains, according to every measure we have, poll after poll, unpopular with a majority of Americans. So the question is, do you feel that this is a point in the debate where it’s incumbent upon you, and nobody else, to lay out a plan to the American people for how you actually keep Social Security solvent for the long-term?
Actually, the Washington Post reported this poll result yesterday:
Would you support or oppose a plan in which people who chose to could invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market?
No opinion: 3%
If reporters are going to preface questions with a long, hostile preamble, is it too much to expect them to get their facts right? Here’s more:
Q Paul Wolfowitz, who was the — a chief architect of one of the most unpopular wars in our history —
THE PRESIDENT: (Laughter.) That’s an interesting start. (Laughter.)
Q — is your choice to be the President of the World Bank. What kind of signal does that send to the rest of the world?
No comment necessary.
Q Mr. President, your judicial nominees continue to run into problems on Capitol Hill. Republicans are discussing the possibility of ending the current Democratic filibuster practice against it. And Democrats yesterday, led by Minority Leader Harry Reid, went to the steps of the Capitol to say that if that goes forward, they will halt your agenda straight out. What does that say about your judicial nominees, the tone on Capitol Hill? And which is more important, judges or your agenda?
This one just astonishes me. The Democrats are filibustering President Bush’s judicial appointees, all of whom are highly qualified, in violation of the Constitution’s requirement that the Senate “advise and consent” to such appointments. And the reporter wonders what the Democrats’ fit of losers’ pique “say[s] about [President Bush’s] judicial nominees”? Unbelievable.
Q Mr. President, back to Social Security, if I may. You said right at the top today that you urged members of Congress to go out and talk about the problem with their constituents.
THE PRESIDENT: About solutions to the problem.
Q But also to talk about solutions. It’s that part of it I want to ask about. Aren’t you asking them to do something that you really haven’t been willing to do yet?
As we’ve said before, it is pretty much impossible to imagine a world in which the American press is neutral.