Washington Post staff writer Joel Achenbach puts about the best spin possible on Bush’s deer-in-the-headlights performance at the elementary school that morning: On 9/11, a telling seven-minute silence. Lefty bloggers are grumbling about the piece’s description of Bush as the nation’s “spiritual leader,” and the way it talks about him “courageously” throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game shortly after the attacks. (Some of the better grumbling can be read in this piece by Xan at Corrente: Hollowed be thy name.) And I have to admit, Achenbach’s story does have an odd tone for a straight news piece. But I’m basically okay with it.
Sure, put the event in the best light you can. Let the Bush people talk about how he was thinking of the kids, wanting to project “calm” and “strength.” Millions of people are still going to be sitting there in darkened theaters over the next few months, watching the uninterrupted footage during Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. And I don’t care how much pro-Bush spin you apply before and after, I’m confident that a solid majority of those watching that footage are going to come away from the scene with just one thought in their heads: That man had no fucking clue whatsoever.
Now, you Bush supporters can make all the excuses you want. We were all shocked and befuddled on that awful day; I know I was. But that footage is going to resonate, and in the privacy of the voting booth it’s going to bubble up again. As it should.