As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Defining Moment

I think this shoe-throwing incident is going to end up being a signature moment in Bush's Presidency. If you watch the video, you can see that the shoes weren't thrown in reaction to anything said. It happens right at the beginning of the press conference, as if the very presence of Bush is enough to provoke this reaction (and it is). And afterwards, Bush has this goofy smile on his face as he cracks the "all I can report is a size 10" joke while they're dragging the journalist out of the room.

This is a bounty of metaphor. The man who destroyed everything tries to take a bow for it, gets the equivalent of a rotten tomato tossed at his face, and is unfazed by it, still clowning and cheering while the perpetrator is wrestled to the ground. It's a lot to unpack.

Culturally, I think he will be forever linked with this.

The Iraqis for their part, are demanding the release of Zaidi, the journalist, as thousands demonstrated and praised him as a hero. There is nothing you can do to this President, at the end of the day still a President of the United States, to cause scorn.

...I do think many (myself included) are looking to the wrong hemisphere to gauge the impact of this. With Al-Zaida the subject of mass protests in Iraq, if and when he is released, he basically becomes their Joe the Plumber. There are provincial elections in just a couple months, as well as a proposed referendum on this security arrangement which, if it fails, would cause a US withdrawal to be very immediate and unpredictable. This also has the potential of stirring up tensions and animosities between those on the side of the current government (seen in some circles as a puppet for the Americans) and those on the outside. It could very easily restart the civil war and a return to the grinding violence of a few years ago. US commanders were already expecting increased tensions during election time. Unstable countries don't need much to go up in flames.

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