George Bush Comes Down To the Quarters:
The worst thing about George W. Bush's speech to the NAACP yesterday is it was just a pussy speech. It was filled with an idiot's view of history, the kind of "Oh-shit-here's-what-I-just-learned" bullshit that you get in a college freshman history course, the kind of dawning enlightenment horny white dudes use at the bar to try to impress the black chicks they wanna bang. Talking about slaves as "founders" of America, Bush said, "These founders literally helped build our country. They chopped the wood, they built the homes, they tilled the fields, and they reaped the harvest. They raised children of others, even though their own children had been ripped away and sold to strangers." Oh, really? Hey, welcome to the party, motherfucker.

And then there were the usual absurd feints at religiosity, statements so self-evidently lies that somewhere up above, St. Peter gently held back Jesus's hair while he puked into the Ark of the Convenant (why not?). Said the President, "My faith tells me that we're all children of God, equally loved, equally cherished, equally entitled to the rights He grants us all." Somewhere, in a secret prison in Crazystan, Eastern Europe, a captured Afghani getting his nuts power-drilled by a CIA agent is awfully happy to hear that Bush's faith guides him in such a strong moral direction.

Taken as a whole, the speech was meant to demonstrate that Bush "gets it" or some such shit. See? He knows things sucked for black people back in the day: "Slavery was legal for nearly a hundred years, and discrimination legal in many places for nearly a hundred years more." See? He gets that the majority of the black community thinks Republicans are savage wannabe slaveowners who'd just as well create a legal caste system in the nation. Talking about the Medicare prescription drug "program," Bush said, "Look, I understand that we had a political disagreement on the bill. I know that." See? He knows it. He said he knows it. Don't start tellin' him he doesn't know it, 'cause he'll let you know: he knows.

And our goddamn President clings to a catchphrase like that old lady yellin' "Where's the beef?" until the day she died. Here's Bush on education: "I like to call it this: We need to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations. If you have low expectations, you're going to get lousy results." C'mon, at this point it's like hearing Steve Martin say, "Well, excuuuuse me." Just sad.

The whole speech was just a campaign stop. Bush may as well have said, "Here's all the shit I've done for you people - with home and business ownership, with AIDS, with other shit, shit you know about. Why don't you negroes love me? Why?" No challenge, no confrontation, no defiance, just an incompetent attempt to appease and get some good photos surrounded by the darkeys.

If you go back to Bill Clinton's 1996 speech to the NAACP's national convention, you read the words of a man who doesn't need to try to demonstrate to African Americans that he understands the absolute basics of history and struggle. What you got was the moral authority (yeah, that's right) of a man who put race less in terms of "here's what I can do for you people" and instead in terms of a struggle that all of America has a stake in. Qualitatively, the difference between Clinton and Bush talking to the NAACP is the difference between listening to Carnegie Hall concerts by Gerry Mulligan and Kenny G. They're playing jazz on roughly the same instruments in the same space. But only one of them gets it.