Yet another "Bush's 7 minutes" thread

First of all, I apologize for starting up a new thread on this topic, but the most recent ones have all been big trainwrecks, most have been other topics hijacked (in particular, Ariman Doors’s commendable review of F911), and I want to be able to clearly lay out my position without feeling like I have to respond to 12 different posts from different threads, and without worrying that other people won’t even bother reading it because it’s on page 7 of some hideously unreadable flamefest.
So, here are the points I’d like to make:

(1) It’s not really a big deal

I’m against Bush. I have plenty of reasons not to vote for him. This is not high on that list. It’s nowhere near Iraq, The Patriot Act, the environment, stem cell research, tax cuts for the rich, or Cheney/Ashcroft/etc.

Why, then, am I starting this thread? Well, basically because I like to argue, and because a lot of people have said a lot of extremely arguable things about this topic on this board, many of them extremely condescending and insulting towards people who hold opinions similar to my own. And I can’t stand to be condescended towards without responding. So don’t think that I go through my days thinking about nothing but My Pet Goat or that I’m going to vote based nothing on 7 minutes out of the past 3.5 years.
(2) All us liberals aren’t insane brainless anti-Bush nutbars

A repeated meme that has run through all of these discussions is something along the lines of “whatever he did, you Bush haters hate him so much that you’d just make fun of what he did. If he got up and left the room, you’d be like ‘why did he stand up? what if he got a head rush? how irresponsible’ (chortle chortle chortle).” (Liberal in particular is guilty of this, and then he refuses to directly respond when challenged, then when enough people get pissed off at him he claims that he’s being dogpiled on, and has a headache, and we’re all so MEAN to him.)

This is total bullshit. There are doubtless a small number of truly rabid Bush haters who will criticize and mock him no matter what. The vast majority of us are not that way, and a moment’s thought will demonstrate that this must be true, in that there are plenty of things that Bush has done which haven’t been ripped to shreds by Michael Moore and the Great Liberal Conspiracy of the SDMB. A good example being the decision to go to war in Afghanistan. If all liberals blindly hated Bush as much as some of you imply that we do, why aren’t we criticizing that more? Another example is his actions in the days and weeks following 9/11. As far as I know he didn’t do much that was objectionable (with the exception of focusing too much on Iraq), thus, I’m not just randomly bashing his actions.

It’s unbelievably insulting and condescending to respond to an attack on Bush’s actions in that classroom by saying “oh, you’re only saying that because you hate Bush”. Not only is it insulting and condescending, but it’s also wrong, and it’s also pointless. If everyone here is so blindly partisan that we can do nothing but go “quack quack quack bush bad bush bad” or “moo moo moo bush good” then why do we even both trying? Sure, it kind of seems that way sometimes, but, in all honesty, the situation isn’t that dire.

I hold the opinion about Bush’s actions during those 7 minutes due to my brain, my reasoning, and my thinking. Sure, I’m human, and I don’t like Bush, and that probably colors my conclusions somewhat. That’s going to be true for anyone, pro- or anti- Bush. But I’m not just a blindly partisan tool, and neither are the vast majority of posters here, on either side of either issue.

(Oh, and I’m SICK of holier-than-thou people who claim to be non-partisan and then bash everyone involved on both sides as if no one who’s not non-partisan could ever possibly be objective about anything. I’m a liberal democrat. That doesn’t mean that every position I hold about every issue is just a dogmatic parroting of what tells me to think. Political independents don’t have a monopoly on free, creative and meaningful thought.)
(3) It doesn’t matter a whit whether Bush’s actions could have actually prevented further planes from crashing

Pervert in particular seems to be obsessed with the idea that as long as we can prove, in retrospect, that nothing Bush could have done during those 7 minutes could have stopped the primary events of 9/11, then it’s perfectly OK for him to have done nothing. This is blatantly ridiculous for at least two reasons:
(a) Even if this made any sense at all, it would only make sense if it is something that could have been determined from the information available at the time. That information, as we all agree, was extremely sketchy. So only if Bush had heard all the information that was available at that precise moment, quickly and efficiently analyzed every conceivable option available to him, and immediately realized that every single one of them was guaranteed to either not help the situation, or make the situation worse, would it even begin to be OK for him to just sit there like a tool
(b) Leaders can do useful things even when decisions can’t be made. If nothing else, they can prepare to start making decisions once decisions can be made. Suppose it was totally clear that there were no meaningful decisions that could be made for, say, the next 20 minutes. That’s no reason not to start discussing the situation, bouncing options off of people, listening to other people’s ideas, and so forth, so that 20 minutes down the line, when new information comes in, when actual meaningful decisions can be made, Bush could make better, faster, decisions than if he’d just sat around doing nothing.
(4) No one is saying that Bush should have panicked

This one has been pretty ripped to shreds by EVERYONE, but I’ll repeat it just one more time… I’m NOT saying that Bush should have sprinted out of the room, waved his hands around like a madman and started spitting out commands. There’s a middle ground between that and doing nothing. And while we’re on this topic, one of the most inane things that has come out of this entire conversation is the idea that if Bush had somewhat alarmed the poor kids in that classroom, that would have been a terrible national tragedy. There already WAS a terrible national tragedy. The kids were going to be a lot more than alarmed over the course of that day. Somehow the idea that his hanging around reading was “for the kids” and that if he’d left in a hurry, we liberals would be angry at him for “scaring the kids” has gotten mixed into this discussion, and it’s abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous.
** (5) Was Bush just in shock?**

A lot of people have mentioned that maybe Bush was just in shock at how horrifying the news was, as were many of us. Well, OK, fine. If so, then he’s just human. But (a) if that were the case, he could admit it, and (b) much of what really makes me so pissy about this whole issue is the conception that Bush is strong on terror. If Bush were being touted as a president who we should reelect because of, say, his fine singing voice, then I would get pissy about videotape that clearly shows him to be lip-syncing. Similarly, because he’s being sold to the American public as such a strong decisive leader, that makes it all the more frustrating when I see what I view as evidence that he’s not.
** (6) Should Bush have just left all the decisions to his underlings? **

Another favorite them of both Pervert and Liberal is that Bush actually acting (and by acting I don’t mean panicking, I mean asking questions, staying informed, offering suggestions, and making decisions when appropriate) would have caused more problems than it solved. And this is not something that can be prima facie dismissed. For instance, if there were already a department of homeland security on 9/11, and there was a director of that department who, the moment anything untoward happened, had swung into action, and was already taking control of the situation, processing many facts, and making crucial life-or-death split-second decisions, then having Bush start calling this fictitious individual up and demaning frequent updates would be bad.

However, that’s pretty far from the case. And if there was anyone like that, he sure as heck wasn’t in the hallway outside the classroom. And furthermore, this whole argument is awfully condemning of Bush however you look at it. How can he be a great leader if the best thing he can do at the moment of a crisis is do absolutely nothing until other people tell him what to do when it’s OK to do it? I suppose that it may actually be the case that the very best thing for the nation that Bush could possibly have done was nothing at all, and that this was clear ahead of time, so that he made the right choice. Well, if so, he’s a terrible president, if we’re better off not having him around at all.

The standard of excellence I want from my president is not “well, he’s worse than useless, but at least he knows he’s worse than useless, and he stayed out of the way”.

Another problem with this argument is that you can apply it recursively and you’ll immediately conclude that no one should ever make a decision, ever. So Bush shouldn’t have made any decisions, because that’s what the Secretary of Defense and heads of FAA and NORAD were for, eh? Well, the Secretary of Defense surely shouldn’t have made any decisions, because his subsecretaries had already been delegated to, and that’s what makes America great, this concept of delegation and trusting your underlings. And his subsecretaries shouldn’t have made any decisions, because… etc.

I have a feeling I’m missing some things I want to cover, but this post is long enough already, so I’ll stop for now.

Just speaking for myself, but when there’s a time of crisis, I do not want my leaders to sit around passively, waiting for others to bring stuff to him. What’s the point of being a leader if you don’t lead?

My personal thought on the matter.

I would expect any leader given that information to WANT to learn more straight away. Most people I know, when first told of that news, turned on the radio/tv/computer and attempted to find out more on the subject. Now, these are just regular people.

I don’t expect Bush to fly out of the chair and save the day. In fact, I suspect there really was little he could have done. But to not even show the smallest interest in learning more on the matter blows me away. It also wasn’t just the 7 minutes in the classroom, it was also 20 more for a photo-op session. 27 minutes in all.

He’s the “leader” of the USA. Get up and at the very least show some interest in what is happening to your country.

I’m just speaking for myself, but in a time of crisis, I do not want my leaders to rush off to action rashly and hastily, getting in the way of others whose job it is to bring stuff to him. What’s the point of being a leader if you’re just going to try to do everyone’s job yourself?

“Sir, a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center.”
“Bring me more information when you get it.”
“Will do, sir. It’ll be about, oh, seven minutes.”

Oh yeah. Because it’s better to freak out a classroom of kids than to handle a crisis calmly and rationally.

Bingo. As I’ve said before was he supposed to jump up, go DEAR GOD, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo…, and dive out the window?

So he fucking sat there while Cheney figured what the dealio was, big whoop.

Actually, it was the second plane that Bush was notified about while reading to the children. The first plane might well be an accident, so waiting for additional information seems like an acceptable response. Two planes, fifteen minutes apart, is quite obviously an intentional attack on the nation.

Aide: “Mr. President, the Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbor.”
FDR: “Notify me if they do it again.”

By the way, does anybody know what happened to the copy of My Pet Goat that the President was reading at the time? I figure that thing would go for major bucks on eBay.

A fair point, but… would you like to address the lengthy and hopefully clear points that I made in the actual OP of this actual thread?

Or to put it another way, are you actually happy with the way Bush acted? Did he get it right? Was it further evidence of what a great leader he is? Is there nothing else he possibly could have done which you would have thought was better?

Or do you have reservations aboutit, but you just think it’s not as big a deal as we liberals do?

So once the second one hit, they knew it was an attack, and they needed 7 minutes to warm up AF1. Monday morning Quarterbacking is really getting old.

This doesn’t even make any sense.

Err…see point 4 of the OP. Its not like Bush’s only options were to “freak out” or sit there.

I was going to say that whatever the next step was, it probably would have taken at least 7 minutes for his entouge to clear out a classroom, make phone calls, find a TV for him to watch CNN on, whatever…and that his hanging out while they do that was alright with me, but if Seven has a cite for him moving on to a photo-op afterwards I might change my opinion.

Taking a few minutes to let your people figure out what to do, get all the info togeather etc. is OK. Hanging out for a half hour, while it may not have made a difference in the end, certainly projects an image of indecision.

MaxTheVool, that is one fine post! I agree with most of your perspective right down the line.

Absolutely! When we suggest that the President shoud have done something other than sit in the classroom for seven minutes, we are not suggesting that he wouldn’t be somewhat stunned as all of us were that day. And we weren’t suggesting that he should know immediately exactly what to do. But of all of the people in the United States, he was selected to be the person in charge. If he was decisive and responsive, he failed to convey that. He failed to convey a sense of leadership that day.

I do not expect the POTUS to behave like everyone else anymore than I would expect my Dad to behave like everyone else if I were in danger.

When someone suggests that we Democrats would have criticized him for standing up or that we are suggesting that he should have panicked, they are raising false arguments which simply underscore that they don’t have a reasonable response. If those on opposing sides of the arguments would learn to see shades of gray and find the middle ground, maybe our country would be less divided.

I do think that the President was wise not to do anything to traumatize the children. It’s bad enough to see your teachers and parents upset and worried. To see the President of the United States frightened could have caused all sorts of panic – especially in a group situation. Seven year olds can be pretty vulnerable to permanent damage.

And I think that the President was just about perfect the day he was at Ground Zero. His down-to-earth style was appropriate for those who were working so hard at such a grusome task.

Thanks Goodness for those who remain fair and open-minded on both sides.

Most of these guys are splineless chickenshits when put to the test, color me unsurprised.

Given that we know for a fact that no actual spoken conversation of the sort took place in front of the children, one can only assume that Bush was able to convey the bolded portion telepathcially, and since we have now established that he’s a telepath, we can absolve him of all criticism because he knew what his advisors, his security detail, his cabinet members, his military chiefs-of-staff, and lunchlady Doris were all thinking. Why waste precious energy asking questions when he had all the answers already?!? :confused:

Furthermore, we can next assume that he needed the seven minutes to convey a telepathic one-on-one message to each of the children, providing calm reassurance that despite the horrors of the day that would later be revealed to them, that the president was in command and in charge and the goat was going to be fine, too, so nobody should worry. :slight_smile:

This was especially true because he could tell (telepathically, let’s not forget) that these were children whose nerves were already so frayed with worry and doubt over issues like sippy cups and Blue’s Clues and grass stains and booger consumption that the mere sight of seeing a grown adult quietly walk out of a room a few minutes prior than expected :eek: would’ve resulted in mass hysteria, and the risk of little children blindly running amok (w/scissors, no doubt) was too high for our Commander-in-Chief to take.

My hero.

Most of what guys? People who disagree with you? What, because it took me this long to reply to your previous post? What the hell are you talking about?

I hashed this issue out with Liberal in the Airman Doors thread. I’ll recap:

So you claim that the moment the second tower hit, someone made the (very reasonable) decision to get Bush out of there as quickly as possible, but it took 7 minutes for the Secret Service to get their acts together and hustle him out of the building? First thing… cite? That doesn’t seem to align with any of the more-or-less first hand accounts, although everything is a bit hazy, and my reading of it is that basically no one took charge. Secondly, are you nuts? I abso-fucking-lutely guarantee you that the Secret Service is ALWAYS ready to get the president out of where he is and to somewhere safe on a moment’s notice. You can bet that if someone had come dashing into the classroom with a gaping lung wound yelling “there’s five guys out there with guns” and then keeled over dead, they sure as hell wouldn’t have taken 7 minutes to get Bush out of the room.

The problem (I speculate) is that there are certain events (someone with a gun, bomb threats, what have you) which trigger automatic Secret Service responses during which the SS will take charge and move the president, no matter what. If there’s a gun threat, they don’t stop and ask the president’s permission before hustling him into his limo (or whatever). However, there was not a standard SS procedure for what to do when there’s an apparent terrorist attack on other parts of the country, thus, no one took command of the situation and got Bush out of there faster.
Anyhow, even if it DID take seven minutes to get AF1 warmed up, Bush could have been discussing the situation and preparing to make decisions, as outlined in (3)(b) of the OP.

Speaking of the OP, does anyone actually want to, you know, like, RESPOND to it, instead of just crassly insulting people or making vague dismissive statements?

–Bush later recalled his own reaction: “I am very aware of the cameras. I’m trying to absorb that knowledge. I have nobody to talk to. I’m sitting in the midst of a classroom with little kids, listening to a children’s story and I realize I’m the Commander in Chief and the country has just come under attack.”

Wow, just then he realized this?

Anyway, here’s the information you requested. cite - I was wrong. I was thinking twenty minutes AFTER the 7 minutes. It seems it was around 20 minutes which includes the 7 minutes. My bad. Sorry about that.

Bush: “Kids, it was great coming to your school, but as you know I’m the president and I have some president stuff that needs my attention.”


um… I just don’t see that happening.

Dropping a stink bomb (Moto’s anti-Kerry OP) and then complaining about being called up on it is silly. Anyone who does not want to face severe criticism should not make ludicrous attacks. Upon making such stupid attacks, one should not then dismiss the rebuttles as being no more than the screaming of Bush haters. That is no more than ad hominem attacks, first against Kerry, and then against those who point out the facts.

Woah, woah, slow down here. You mean we didn’t elect him based on his heavenly singing voice?


SPOOFE, please indulge my curiousity. What were you doing that morning when you heard? How did you hear about it? What did you do immediately after hearing about it?

World Eater, please indulge my curiousity. What were you doing that morning when you heard? How did you hear about it? What did you do immediately after hearing about it?

He was elected?