I’ve just signed up for misleader.org, which promises to tease the truth out of what’s said by President Bush and members of his administration. The site’s backers ran a full-page ad in The New York Times recently, but it was my father who turned me on to the site; it’s good for a father and son to share things, even if it’s bemused skepticism (and sometimes outright alarm) over the people running our country.
I was skeptical of the site itself, fearing it would be a Web knockoff of the “They Misunderestimated Me!” calendar, which provides a jeering minority with an example each day of Bush tripping over his tongue. For instance, the March 24 page of this year’s calendar quotes Bush from a Feb. 27, 2001, speech on a proposed federal budget, which I saved from a friend’s wastebasket because it concerns my topic from Monday, the deficit: “My pan plays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt.”
It’s cute to be reminded of Bush’s silver spoonerisms, but I’m more concerned that, to make us feel more comfortable about his series of tax cuts, Bush claimed to want to pay down our debt.
Fortunately, misleader.org isn’t glib. It’s as substantive as one would hope. It’s scrupulously footnoted from a variety of newspapers and primary source material, well written and runs smoothly.
It also is educational, and includes good stuff I didn’t know existed. In summarizing the collapse of the administration’s implied link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it also goes on to note that:
“This week, (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld reversed earlier statements claiming that the U.S. knew where Iraq's weapons of destruction were located. When asked why the weapons hadn't been found, this past Tuesday Rumsfeld said, ‘What do you mean? You're talking about a country the size of California.’ Yet months ago, just two weeks into the war, Rumsfeld said, ‘We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.’”
That last quote, from the March 30 “This Week” talk show on ABC-TV, was new to me, but feeds my endless pleasure in parsing how carefully the Bushies speak. “We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad,” Rumsfeld says, and then, in a phrase so delicious it’s like caramel coating my tongue: “And east, west, south and north.” And, in the final scrumptious morsel, an orgasm of semantic butter and sugar that leaves me nearly helpless with delight: “Somewhat.”