A SUSPICIOUSLY WELL-PUBLICIZED UNPUBLICIZED MEETING
There's some buzz in the right-wing blogosphere in response to this post on a PUMA blog (yes, PUMA blogs are still around) and this one by Jerusalem Post columnist and editor Caroline Glick, both praising George W. Bush for his "unpublicized" trip last week to see wounded Fort Hood soldiers.
An excerpt from Glick's post:
Missing George W. Bush
A couple of days ago I heard the news that George and Laura Bush paid a private visit to the wounded soldiers at Fort Hood. They specifically requested that the base commander not inform the media of their visit. They came. They comforted the wounded soldiers and the Fort Hood community for a couple of hours. And then they left. And they never had their pictures taken saluting the troops or holding their hands.
When I heard the news, I felt this pain that hasn't gone away. It's a pain that I have been feeling fairly often since last November....
When I heard the news, I was struck by the fact that I heard the news. Isn't it odd how fast word of this "private" visit got around -- on Fox News the next morning, and ultimately all over the media? Darn that base commander, or whoever it was, who informed the press of the visit even though Bush specifically requested that it not be publicized!
A cynic, of course, would say that there's an effort in Bushworld to sell him as a guy who not only visits troops but shuns any publicity for those visits -- and what do you know, there was a story publicizing Bush's aversion to publicity in the Bush-friendly Washington Times last December, just about when Bushies were devoting considerable energy to making the case in the media for his "legacy":
EXCLUSIVE: Bush, Cheney comforted troops privately
For much of the past seven years, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have waged a clandestine operation inside the White House. It has involved thousands of military personnel, private presidential letters and meetings that were kept off their public calendars or sometimes left the news media in the dark.
Their mission: to comfort the families of soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to lift the spirits of those wounded in the service of their country....
And somehow the secret, little-known, hush-hush, on-the-QT visits by Bush have been a frequent point of pride cited by online supporters since sometime in his first term. 2003:
Bush to visit wounded troops (Again)
I thought it would be nice to point this out, as many democrats try to claim that Bush "doesn't visit the wounded", when in reality he just doesn't use it as political fodder (translation: Bush doesn't mass publicize it)....
There are good reasons for not going to the funerals. And the President often visits the families of the dead, and also often visits wounded soldiers. (And doesn't exploit this for publicity.)
And, more recently:
I know guys who were at Walter Reed who had Bush, Rumsfeld, and others pay them visits. They were never publicized. Any photos that were taken were given to the soldiers; not put on the front page of the Washington Post by the White House.
But I'm sure I'm being cynical to think this is a meme deliberately circulated on the right to spread the notion of Bush's virtue. And I'm sure I'm also being cynical to imagine that Glick and the PUMA bloggers are part of that process.