7 minutes in an alternate universe

(This is satire concerning the ongoing Bush-sitting-in-the-classroom-for-7-minutes debate.)

June 32, 2004: The release of the 9/11 commission report, long supported by the Bush administration but opposed by congressional democrats, has finally shed some light on the precise actions of President Bush during the morning of 9/11 itself. In Bush’s own words:

"When (chief of staff Andrew) Card whispered to me that America was under attack, I was initially too stunned to respond. But after a few seconds, I decided that, as president, I needed to be actively engaged in the chain of command, and see if there was anything I could do. So I got up, excused myself from the classroom, and went out into the hall where my staff was.

The next 20 minutes were the most frustrating and miserable of my entire life. We talked through the entire situation many times, looking at it from every possible angle, and trying to come up with anything useful that we could do. But information was scanty, and in the end we decided that everything that could be dnoe already was being done. But we couldn’t stop thinking about all the suffering and death that was happening to our fellow Americans, right at that moment. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried, and I wasn’t the only one.

Eventually, the secret service decided to move us to Air Force One…"

Congressional Democrats were quick to criticize Bush’s actions. “Why didn’t he do more?”, asks Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. “We elected a former Texas Air National Guard Pilot to be our president for a reason! Why wasn’t he in a jet plane, saving those poor hijacked souls?”

Massachussetts senator Ted Kennedy agreed. His freakishly large head quivering with emotion, he pointed out that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, his brother Jonh F. Kennedy actually developed super powers and used them to help enforce the blockade. And Ronald Reagan is well known to have once single-handedly infiltrated and destroyed a cell of ninja cyborg Russian spies.
Other critics of Bush lambasted him for acting without sufficient restraint. Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 shows gripping footage of the president leaving the elementary school classroom, focussing on the looks of mild confusion and puzzlement on the children left behind. In a searing interview, 1st grader Kimberly Smith talks about how she still doesn’t know what happened to the goat from the book. “I still wake up crying, wondering if he ever made it back to the Happy Red Barn”, she said, Moore’s camera-work highlighting the tears dripping from her frightened little eyes. Her classmate Bobby Hodges clearly remembers how worried he was about what might call the president away in such a hurry. “I thought it might be martians”, he said. “I was really really scared, until I found out that my entire family had been killed on flight 93. Now I’m not scared of martians anymore.”

Author Al Franken has also argued that Bush’s action in leaving the classroom was dangerous and foolish. “Bush is the only one who has the authority to launch preemptive military action,” he points out. “But as long as he’s in a classroom, separated from his staff, it’s much harder for him to do so. By rejoining his staff, he was making it possible for himself to actually exercise the powers of the presidency. Is that something that’s really appropriate in a time of national emergency?”
Numerous debates have sprung up around the internet about the appropriateness of Bush’s preemptive classroom-leaving. On the Straight Dope Message Board, an online forum notable for the liberal pomposity of most of its posters, the criticism has been unceasing, and the countercharges of “oh, c’mon, if he’d just sat there in that classroom and continued to read for 7 minutes, you liberals would be criticizing him for that” have been laughed off.

For fuck’s sake, another thread on this? There’s another one, started by yourself, that’s still on the front page of this exact forum, you dickhead.

Not only that, but it’s fuckin’ easy to win a “debate” when you get to argue both sides. Where’d you learn that trick-Hannity, Savage, Limbaugh or O’Reilly?:rolleyes:

Arguing both sides of a deabte and losing, however, is a real feat. :cool:

I just find this sort of argument underhanded. Pitting a group of people for what the OP imagines they might say in an imaginary scenario tells us absolutely nothing.

I don’t know which forum the OP would have been best placed in (probably here), but I, for one, enjoyed it.

Just because he might have been criticized even when doing better does not mean he shouldn’t have done better. If anybody had argued that Bush should have been quicker simply to avoid criticism, and not because it was the better thing to do, then this type of argument might actually mean something. Instead, it’s the desperate plea of the partisan-blinded mind that simply cannot accept that the leader of their party didn’t do something in a 100 percent optimal manner, and is a human being.


August 16, 2004, for immediate release:

The Progressive Left Crier

Proper Interval Now Known

Political activists Barbra Streisand and Susan Sarandon held a press conference this morning to announce that their committee, the People’s Committee for Nonviolent Hand Wringing, has reached a consensus on President Bush’s famous seven minute black hole of time. The proper amount of time for the president to have waited, the committe found, would have been 4 minutes and 12 seconds.

The committee reenacted that fateful morning with Martin Sheen playing the role of the President and John Spencer playing the role of White House Chief of Staff. The clock began when Spencer walked onstage and bent over to whisper in Sheen’s ear, “Mr. President, America is under attack.”

A voiceover from Sheen played as he looked toward the heavens while the children continued to read, oblivious to the gravity of the situation.

0 - 60 seconds: “Hell’s bells! Under attack!? Who could it be? If it’s those damn Canadians, I’m gonna be pissed. I told Fitz we should secure that border. Fucking Canucks… Jeesh, that little girl has an ingratiating whine… Oh, wait a minute. I wonder if it has anything to do with that plane crash in New York… Yeah, he said there was a second plane… Kamikazees! It must be those damn Japanese! I knew we should have nuked Tokyo when we had the chance… I can’t believe I let those bastards con me into eating raw fish when that damn crown prince and his bitch visited… But I gotta say, CJ looked hot that night… Tight gown… Big, tall woman… Commanding… Dominating… Bitch would look good in a tight black leather…”

61 - 120 seconds: […beepers begin to go off in press area…] “Good Lord in Heaven! Can’t these guys wait until they’re outside to do their drug deals? Oh, hang on! Maybe they’re getting news about the attack… I wish I could get news. I’m tired of getting nothing but blank stares from my staff when I ask them questions, only to turn on CNN and get every friggin’ detail complete with live coverage… Barnyard, kid, barnyard! Sound it out for cryin’ out loud. B-a-r-n… y-a-r-d… Fucking hell, we spend billions on education and a seven-year-old girl can’t even figure out barnyard?.. What the hell is Toby trying to signal? What? Might as well be Joey Lucas for all I can understand…”

121 - 180 seconds: “C’mon, kids, pull it together. Finish the damn story… Hmm… As I think of it, I can deduce by my powers of logic that the nation is in a state of crisis. The New York Fire Department is walking into a death trap. I recall from a recent briefing that the Twin Towers are constructed in such a way that burning fuel from a 747, which these planes surely must be, can ignite a fire sufficiently hot that they will collapse after they have burned steadily for 6 hours and 23 minutes… In my mind’s eye, I am also seeing a plane headed toward the Pentagon. This I deduce by the principle of modus operandi… I also deduce that there must be a plane in Pennsylvania, and that passengers on board are struggling to subdue their hijackers.”

181-240 seconds: “I further deduce that this is not the work of White Separatists angry about Zoey’s relationship with Charlie. That’s because reporters are talking on their cell phones. They must be getting word from their newsrooms that this is the work of al-Qaeda, and that they’ll be announcing the information this afternoon shortly after 4:00… Where the hell is Zoey? And what about my wife? Those bastards better not touch a hair on her head. She might be a lush, but she’s a physician by God!.. I gotta pee something fierce! Why won’t that damn principal look at me so I can raise my hand?.. Shit, they’ve got four more pages to go, and they’re reading about four words a minute. There’s not time to finish this crap.”

241-252 seconds: […leaping from chair…] “Kids, run for your lives! Fitz, scramble the F16s! Charlie, get me Henry from the control tower in Baltimore and Colonel Frakes from the NEAD command center at Otis Air Force Base! Put 'em on a two-way conference. CJ, get CNN, AP, and Reuters ready for an announcement on Air Force One! Toby, write me a speech declaring a war on terror! Josh, get your finger out of your nose! Donna, get me a cup of coffee! Leo, call Hoynes and conference me into the Situation Room! And somebody find Ainsely Hayes! I want to know what the Republicans are thinking! Let’s roll!”

Upon completion of the reenactment, noted historian Michael Moore took the stage and observed that, “a reasonable President would have behaved in the manner we just saw. He’s only human, so he would have to stumble, but after a few minutes, he should have gathered his wits about him and taken charge. By the way, I’m on record as saying that Democrats are weak kneed cowards who refuse to stand up to…”

Ms. Streisand interrupted Mr. Moore at this point to make a companion announcement that Alan Alda has been retired as the committee’s White Male. Mr. Moore will assume Mr. Alda’s position.

[slight hijack]

Just wondering – is this really the opinion of many conservatives around here? I’ve heard a few folks gripe about this before, but I am curious if this is the “reputation” the SDMB has.

[/slight hijack]

Let’s try actually debating this. In those seven minutes, what do you think Bush should have done? Knowing the children were there, knowing the cameras were on him?

Well, besides thinking the Secret Service should have grabbed him like a football and ran, as they did with Cheney… I would have him tell the children something like “I wanted to stay with you today. But something that may be very important to your country has happened, and I have to get to work.” And then I would have had him make all other necessary excuses, and gotten to an appropriate command center/safehouse.

Huh? OK, maybe starting a whole new thread for this post was a bad idea, but how on earth am I arguing both sides?

Let me make my opinion clear, if it isn’t already. This is a SATIRE. The point is, had Bush acted as he did in the first few paragraphs, there’s NO WAY IN HELL that he would have gotten the kind of criticism that I describe. This whole thread is a response to the repeated “oh, c’mon, you liberals would have criticized him whatever he did” business.
I may be pompous and not know when to let something drop, but I sure as hell am not arguing both sides of any issue.

(Oh, and Liberal’s post was well done and entertaining.)

IIRC Lib and Blowero hijacked the other to high hell.

Heck - I thought it was funny, Max.

Waaaaaaaah!!! Boo hoo!

This horse is dead and beaten but it’s amazing how many people are trying to claim it’s still walking around.

But Liberal’s post was great.

Holy crap, Liberal. That post almost made up for the time someone asked who Fred Phelps was and you referred to him as “a Democrat from Kansas”. I think I’m starting to respect you just a little!

If Bush had acted as the fictional OP has it, no one would have grounds for a legitimate gripe.

The rest is horseshit so fetid even the hogs hold their snouts.

Max, it looks to me you’re too partisan to recognize common sense.

I can’t speak for others, but it seems the point of this overblown debate over something so small (but telling) is that Bush should have done something, anything but sit and gnaw his lip.

Sure, but keep in mind that these faithful card-carrying Republicans believe that any forum, group, party, media outlet, or band of three or more people who don’t toe the GOP’s official party line is a hotbed of “liberal pomposity.”

Come to ruin this one as well?


Precisely. That’s why it was a SATIRE. Because no one would possibly have responded in that fashion.

The whole point was that, no, liberals would NOT have complained no matter what Bush did.

(I appear to have completely failed to communicate my point with my OP. :frowning: )