President Bush last week appointed nine campaign contributors, including three longtime fund-raisers, to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a 16-member panel of individuals from the private sector who advise the president on the quality and effectiveness of U.S. intelligence efforts. After watching the fate of Michael Brown as head of FEMA and Harriet Miers as Supreme Court nominee, you might think the president would be wary about the appearance of cronyism -- especially with a critical national-security issue such as intelligence.
(Which reminds me to offer a parenthetical apology for not commenting on Brownie's inexplicable and inappropriate sartorial e-mails, but really, what could I possibly add to that?)
But wait, it gets worse (from a separate item in the same Newsweek column):
One Argentine reporter told the president that sources in Argentina's government suggested they would ask Bush for more help in dealing with the IMF. Bush's response: "Please don't tell me that the government leaks secrets about conversations," he began to joke. When the reporter insisted that he had his own sources, the president quipped "You do? OK, well, I'm not going to ask you who they are, of course." In case anyone missed the reference, Bush helpfully explained: "Inside joke here, for my team."
It's not the first time the president has sounded so, well, insensitive before a foreign trip. Just before his visit to Denmark in July, Bush was interviewed by Danish TV. As a softball final question, the Danish reporter asked what he was looking forward to most about visiting Copenhagen. Bush struggled to answer, explaining that he wouldn't have time to be a tourist, before ending with this: "I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep on the soil of a friend."
(That would make it... the night soil of a friend, right?)
Makes your heart just swell with pride, doesn't it? Makes you want to point to him and shout to the heavens, "That's my president! God, I love him so!"