Over the weekend, an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush at a Baghdad press conference, obviously trying to demean the president. The guy is now in prison.
Here's a review of what happened and how the president reacted:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH: It's like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It's like driving down the street and have people not gesturing with all five fingers. It's a way for people to draw, you know, attention. I don't know what the guy's cause is, but one thing is for certain. He caused you to ask me a question about him. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, the sad truth is there are millions of Bush-haters all over the world, including many Americans.
Two of the most hateful political Web sites in the USA, the Daily Kos and The Huffington Post, were absolutely gleeful about the shoe thrower. One loon opined, "It's a shame he didn't connect." Another wrote, "Why the f weren't American reporters throwing shoes at this lying tyrannical war criminal?" And yet another sage said, "And I don't care that O'Reilly will say I'm a hate site poster. I hope this is Bush's future." Blah, blah, blah.
Well, hate is hate. But in a country that honors free speech, it's allowed in the private sector and sometimes even in the public arena, as we've seen in Washington state.
And now in Iraq, dissent is allowed as well. The shoe guy knew he'd get thrown in the slammer, but he still has his head, something he wouldn't have if he did that to Saddam or to some Taliban leader.
Now, the incident refocused attention on Mr. Bush, who has just a month left in office. He will leave with low poll numbers, a chaotic economy and an unfinished War on Terror. There's no doubt some historians will hammer the president, but his legacy will be open to debate.
After 9/11, his administration has kept the homeland safe, a very big achievement. Al Qaeda was also badly damaged by aggressive Bush policies. His generosity has saved millions of lives in Africa, a continent largely ignored by the rest of the world. And for three-quarters of his administration, there was relative prosperity in America.
But those accomplishments have been marginalized by a hostile media and a vicious hate-Bush movement. It's not really fair, but that's the way it is.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Actor Will Smith is running around doing promotion for a new film, but he's also helping folks in the process. Mr. Smith showed up in Minnesota for a fund-raiser to help the Second Harvest Heartland Association, which gives food to the poor. So Mr. Smith is a patriot for doing that.
On the pinhead front, does Michael Jackson really want to be Zorro? The bankrupt singer stepped out in Los Angeles, looking for Sergeant Garcia or something. Don't you just love this? Jackson apparently doesn't want to be recognized, so he wears a weird outfit, prompting everybody to look at him. Pinhead? Yes.