What would you have asked the Pres?

What would you have asked the Pres?

: If you’d been invited to the Pres conference last night, what would you have asked the Pres?

I wouldn’t have asked what the press did. I wouldn’t have kept harping for an apology, a confession of failure, a mea culpa, a begging for forgiveness, a rendition of Feelings with feeling. That’s not news. That’s not policy. That’s meaningless. It’s spin.

Right now on the FoxNews afternoon talk show, they’re replaying the questions reporters asked last night and asking the audience whether they are — of course — “fair and balanced.” You can guess the answers.

I’d ask instead whether they were good questions. Too many weren’t.

Also below, I suggest that the White House press office — or any flack in power — would be wise to ask bloggers to a press conference to do what reporters are supposed to do: Ask the questions that we, the people, would ask if we’d been invited.

So what would you ask the Pres?

  • craigl

    Since Iran appears to be sponsoring unrest in Iraq, what will you do about it?

  • http://mithras.blogs.com Mithras

    “Mr. President, are you currently taking any prescription medications? Did you take any medication before tonight’s press conference?”

  • hen

    yes mithras we have noted your countless posts that you believe the President was medicated. if you smack that horse a couple of more times it might move a bit….

  • http://www.bcvoice.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=205 A Alexander Stella

    Okay, here’s what I’d ask. Mr President, would you ever consider delivering a state of the union that’s “corleone style”.
    I’d like you, dear Visitor to this weblog, to consider reading the text for a “state of the union” address that I believe is imperative for this country of ours. To get to it, all you need do is click on the below enclosed U.R.L
    http://www.bcvoice.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=205
    By the way, the proprietors of the http://www.BCVoice.com website have provided a couple ways for you to leave your comments.

  • Pat

    I would ask the President to delineate specifically to which Iraqis sovereignty will be handed over, and what specifically is being done now to get ready for elections. Is there a model that the UN person he briefly mentioned is using as he works with the Iraqi governing council and what is it?

  • http://www.woogieworld.org Brian

    Besides “Can you take off that tie, it’s distracting on the TV?”
    “Mr. President, if we can safely evacuate the women and children of Falujah, would you be open to carpet bombing that town back to Allah?”

  • Robert E. Bihlmayer

    “Mr. President, given the press’ constant, unfair, utterly biased, and arguably unpatriotic attacks on you and your Administration, how do you keep from either laughing or vomiting when facing the assembled jackals of the press?”

  • superfly

    I would ask “Do you get tired of all these repetetive, shallow questions? Why do you think the press has not bothered to report many of the successes of our troops in Iraq?”

  • michael

    The press should ask difficult and challenging questions. The should probe decision-making processes and try to get underneath the spin. Hard questions won’t be fair & balanced. Most of the questions were lobs – even the one’s that seemed biased.

  • Angelos

    “Whether you stand by the June 30th handover date or feel the need to extend that (which would be understandable), how many years do you think our troops will remain in Iraq?”

  • Doctor Slack

    Reader’s”>http://gadflyer.com/flytrap/index.php?Week=200416#211″>Reader’s digest version of the Q&A. Very funny.
    How about:
    What is your current plan for delivering on your pre-war promises to reform Iraq as a self-sufficient and prosperous democracy?
    Why is it the role of a UN negotiator to determine how the transfer of sovereignty process will happen? In the event he cannot make such a determination, what is your administration’s contingency plan? What is the specific significance of June 30th as a date for the transfer of power?
    You mentioned that you have a plan for fighting the war on terrorism. What exactly does it entail?
    You mentioned that you are prepared to provide more troops and resources for the Iraq effort. How many more troops and funds would be needed, and where will they be found?
    Many Iraqis have criticized the reconstruction process as shoddy and corrupt. How do you respond to this, and what is your administration’s plan for determining the true extent of such problems and alleviating them where they exist?
    Most of all, there followups to the inevitable evasive blathering.

  • Mister Ghost

    Hello Jeff,
    I’m not sure how good of an idea it is to have Bloggers at the Presidential press conference.
    Can you imagine what Wonkette would ask?
    “Mr President, what is your policy on
    ass-f@@@ing?”
    Then there be Kos:
    “Bush-Hitler, when do you plan on resigning and putting yourself and your administration on trial for criminal acts against the american public?”
    So, I’d take a pass at the blogger thing, and try to have a larger cross-section of the current media invited to the conferences, rather than just the leftist loons that predominate with the NY Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, NPR, Newsweek, Time, Christian Science Monitor, etc.

  • onecent

    Slack, you are the perfect parody of last night’s journalists. The only core Slackesque question you forgot to add is “Mr President, why haven’t you apologized for 9/11 yet?”

  • Hunter McDaniel

    My question:
    It hardly seems debatable that the current tempo of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is a huge strain on the military and leaves us little or no capacity to handle anything else. For instance if the Chinese decided to invade Taiwan tomorrow, what could we do besides impotent bluster? Given that the War On Terror is likely to span decades, shouldn’t we be considering how to build up the size of our forces?

  • Yogi Berra

    could your ego get any larger, Jarvis? I assume you mean the press office should questions from bloggers who are symapthetic to Bush — as you are — because I can’t for a million years see you saying that Atrios or Kos should be invited to the press conference.
    Must be hard to be Chief Nerd at your day job — a station you so obviously see as beneath you.

  • superfly

    Other possible questions: What do you think of the Oil for Food scandal and its effect on the UN’s ccredibility? Do you think that that program and the UN in general should be given a full audit by an independent auditing agency?

  • http://www.joemaller.com Joe Maller

    Q. “What is your understanding of the current state of political discussion in America, and how can we improve the national dialogue?”

  • PJ

    “How are you and the military going to resolve the al-Sadr crisis and the Fallujah crisis, and how does the cease fire square with your vow of no negotiating with terrorists?”
    I turned off the TV in disgust after the fourth apology question. I expected to hear, “If you could be a tree, which one would you be…?”

  • Doctor Slack

    Ah, good to see I’ve offended onecent, that means my questions aren’t too fawning.
    Yes, of course the point of Jeff’s exercise is to look for Bush-friendly — or at least easy-on-Bush — blogger questions. No, I don’t think anything will actually come of this. Someone would be stupid enough to actually ask Bihlmayer’s question.

  • Trump

    Much as I disagree with his politics, Dr. Slack actually raised some reasonable questions- though I would change some tone and wordings. But the nuggets are decent…..certainly better than the press performance last night.
    I would’ve asked about what we’re doing in OTHER theaters in the war on terror, specifically in Iran and Syria.

  • http://www.thecricketcage.com Syl

    Since Saddam’s briberies to France and the UN are coming to light, and given Britain’s interference in our dealings in Iraq, would you agree that multilateralism is still a worthy policy?

  • Mork

    What about:
    Are there any steps that we can take to increase the political legitimacy of the occupation, as it is perceived by the Iraqi people?
    Follow-up: Do you think that Iraqi people would be more supportive of the occupying forces and the reconstruction effort if it were seen to be a genuinely multi-lateral effort?
    Has the failure to find WMD affected the way the Administration uses or plans to use intelligence data, particularly with regard to the doctrine of pre-emption?
    As a war-time leader, how do you go about striking a balance between the imperative to rally public support behind the war effort and your responsibility to be honest and frank with the American people?
    Why do you think that your conduct of the war has created such partisan divisions, and is there anything you plan to do to reduce them?

  • Mork

    Oh, and:
    “Why are you appearing before the 9/11 commission with Dick Cheney, instead of separately, as they requested?”

  • SamAm

    I don’t know that Bush has any idea what a blog is. Certainly the Bush team remains behind the curve on the issue, as Prof. Reynolds noted yesterday.
    I’m also not sure why people think bloggers would do such a better job. Criticism of the media often includes things like elite, disconnected from the public, plays inside baseball, ideological bubble, etc. I think you could make a case that bloggers do those even more.
    Other than pushing the intellectual tone of the event to a higher but way more charged state, and perhaps cutting through some press corps BS, I can’t imagine bloggers having that much of an impact.
    For every question on Iran, remember, there’s one on Halliburton no-bid contracts, or whatever leftist question you can imagine.
    Do we really want Misha and Kos asking questions of the president. Does that really serve to illuminate anything?
    At the same time, it would be great to see Yglesias or Marshall question Bush, or Lileks or Tacitus question Kerry.

  • Mike

    Jeff: Good post. Too bad more of us aren’t taking it seriously.

  • Mumblix Grumph

    I’d pay good money to see Lileks put Kerry on the hot seat for an hour.

  • TMH

    Glenn Reynolds has taken a stab at this very question. His questions (answers?) are actually fairly similar in substance to Slack’s, though of course different in tone.
    The reason questions about Iran, Syria, et al. never show up at press conferences is that the press believes the important question to put to Bush is whether we have gone too far in the War on Terror. The idea that we might not have gone far enough is unacceptable to them, and they are not inclined to bring it into the public debate.

  • chris b

    But the idea that we haven’t gone far enough is going to be debated within the Republican party as soon as this election is over. If Kerry is President, the partisan nature of our political system will make him the focus of the attacks. If Bush is re-elected, the debate will be more fratricidal and will increase in intensity through the next election.

  • Yogi Berra

    > I’d pay good money to see Lileks put Kerry on the hot seat for an hour.

  • Virginia

    My question would be – Mr. President how in the world do you put up with the nimcompoops that ask such stupid questions and how do you contend with those that would put words in your mouth to fit what they want to hear? Next, I would add: Mr. President, no matter what anyone else says my military family believes in you, your faith in God and your commitment to peace!
    I agree with Yogi Berra – I bet Kerry would look shelled shocked also at the dumb barrage being handed out! Of course, he looks shell shocked most of the time.
    P.S. do not edit and please post the other side’s feelings!!!!!
    !!!!!

  • AST

    Mr. President, what effect is this election having on your conduct of this war and formulation of future foreign policy?
    It is really good for our country to have to fit matters like a war on terrorism into the four year election cycle, and what can we do about that?
    In light of the UN’s failures in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and the corruption by Saddam of permanent members of the Security Council, not to mention the Oil for Food mismanagement, how can you possibly seriously consider allowing it to oversee the establishment of a government in Iraq?
    Have you considered a restoration of a monarchy with a constitution and parliament?
    What makes you think that the Iraqis understand what democracy means and the citizenship duties that come with it? Can they even defend their own borders without American troops, or put down the kind of uprisings that we have seen in recent days?