Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dipstick Diplomacy

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of catching some of President Bush's press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi.

It's always nice to see the president try out his patented I-Think-You're-Retarded speaking style before a foreign audience -- you never know if he's going to speak even more slowly and loudly, like a tourist outside the Colosseum asking where's the nearest Pizza Hut. And on this occassion, the master of verbal disaster surely didn't disappoint.

Here are some of the highlights of the high-powered exchange between the Leader of the Free World and one of our most important allies:
PRESIDENT BUSH: I want to thank you for opening your markets to U.S. beef. I think the Japanese people are going to like the taste of U.S. beef. As a matter of fact, I had a good slice of beef last night, and you told me you did, as well, and you look like you're feeling pretty good. (Laughter.)


PRESIDENT BUSH: .... I also talked about one of the most touching moments of my presidency, when the mom of the abducted daughter came to the Oval Office and talked to me about what it was like to have a young daughter abducted by the North Koreans. And it really broke my heart. I told the Prime Minister it was -- it was a moving moment for me. I just could not imagine what it would be like to have somebody have taken, you know, my daughter -- one of my daughters -- and never be able to see her again. And the woman showed such great courage, Mr. Prime Minister, when she came and shared her story with me. It took everything I could not to weep, listening to her.


PRESIDENT BUSH: All in all, it was a visit that I knew was going to be a good one because I know the man; I know what he's like: he's a good thinker, he's a strategic thinker, he's a clear speaker. And, plus, as you all know, it's become quite well-known that we're going to visit Graceland tomorrow. He's an Elvis fan. Laura and I gave him a jukebox as a gift, and I can't -- what was the first song you put on? It wasn't "Hound Dog," it was --

PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You."

PRESIDENT BUSH: See, he loves Elvis, and I couldn't think of a better way to honor my friend by going to Graceland. But it also sends a signal about how close our relationship is.
There you have it. Beef is tasty, missing little girls make us cry, and Elvis music is cool. Great. The President of the United States of America has exactly the same likes and dislikes as my 8-year-old niece.

You'd think a wordly, intelligent man like Koizumi would hate having to converse at that level. But I guess given the history of Japanese prime ministers and U.S. presidents named Bush, he's probably just thrilled that Dubya didn't throw up in his lap.

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