President Bush has indicated that he will hold a primetime press conference Tuesday. Many of questions will likely be on the recently released memo. Others will be on the current state of affairs in Iraq. Here are some of the questions I’m less interested in because I think they distract us from the core issues that this president should answer for:
1. What did you know before Sept 11 and could this administration have prevented the attack? — I don’t see this election shifting towards Kerry because the American public comes to believe that the Bush administration is somehow, even partially, to blame for the attacks.
2. Questions about the current state of affairs in Iraq. — Important, of course. But we all agree on several issues already. We must stay the course at this point. We all support our troops wholeheartedly. We all want some form of democracy. We don’t need another five minutes of testosterone-laced tough talk from W.
3. Questions about Richard Clarke and Condi Rice. — Been there, done that.
4. Inside baseball hogwash about why W hasn’t been in the public eye for the last several days or a week when many columnists said he should have been, and related questions about vacation time. — We need a president to level with us. I don’t care when he punches the clock.
So what should we focus on?
1. The lead-up to the war and whether or not the American people were misled. There is now a endless array of clues that this was the case. Forget about whether or not you are ultimately in favor of our actions in Iraq. My position at the time was that I didn’t know. We weren’t given enough facts. Lying to the American people (or merely exaggerating facts) on the road to war is unforgivable.
2. Our behavior post 9-11, the Iraq decision and how it really relates to the war on terror, our status in the world and whether, if when we need to build a coalition in the future, we should expect allies to trust us.
3. Demanding a clear explanation of why we are safer now that Saddam is out of power.
4. Today Bush explained that he is enthusiastic about hearing the important recommendations offered by the important 9-11 panel. Why did he withhold information at every turn? Why has he placed secrecy above security? Why was he against the formation of this panel? Why was it so important to discredit those who offered opinions he didn’t like? Why shouldn’t people laugh when they hear that he and the Vice President are testifying together?
5. Should we have had more troops in Iraq all along? Aren’t our problems about more than a few thousand miscreants?
6. What’s the plan – beyond being tough – in Iraq and the war on terror?
7. Have you been surprised that there has been so little opposition to the cultural war that includes shifting the tax burden, infringing on abortion rights and turning up the FCC’s indecency sensors?
8. Is the phrase No child left behind really a coded message to far right religious zealots who needed to be reminded that you will do everything in your power to overturn – step by step – Roe v Wade? (Lat two are off subject I know, but aren’t you curious?)
9. What’s with the weird smirk?