Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Deniability Presidency

Bush sat down yesterday with CNBC "Money Honey" Maria Bartiromo, who asked him if he used Google.

According to CNBC’s unofficial transcript, he replied: “Occasionally. One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps. It’s very interesting to see that. I forgot the name of the program, but you get the satellite and you can — like, I kind of like to look at the ranch on Google, reminds me of where I want to be sometimes. Yeah, I do it some.” He added: “I tend not to email or — not only tend not to email, I don’t email, because of the different record requests that can happen to a president. I don’t want to receive emails because, you know, there’s no telling what somebody’s email may — it would show up as, you know, a part of some kind of a story, and I wouldn’t be able to say, `Well, I didn’t read the email.’ `But I sent it to your address, how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about emailing.”

I guess I see what he's saying - if he had an e-mail address, he'd be so bombarded with messages he couldn't possibly read or respond to all of them. Wouldn't it be better, though, if he just did like all famous people with this problem, and have some auto-reply saying "sorry, I can't possibly read or reply to all of the messages I receive, but thanks for writing"? The way he puts it (or "puts" it - only Mayor Daley can deliver a less scrutable response to a direct question), he comes off as though the reason he doesn't e-mail is because it's just another form of "gotcha," any any engagement with the media or his constituency via this medium leaves him liabile, a paper trail may implicate him, etc etc. I don't mean to imply that this is not a valid concern; but there are ways around this as well.

By refusing to communicate via e-mail, Bush further isolates himself from the real world. But I guess it's promising that he ocassionally uses "the Google."


Blogger Jeff said...

I'm sorry, but if I had the smokin' hot Maria Bartiromo sitting in front of me asking questions, I probably would have sounded like an idiot in my responses too. Then again, I would stop sounding like an idiot once she left.

4:40 PM  

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