Monday, July 31, 2006

New Book Notes That Not Long After 9/11, Bush Twice Took Time Out To Discuss ... The Prospective Ownership Of The Boston Red Sox?

On Friday, I questioned whether, in the midst of a growing crisis between Israel and the terrorist group Hezbollah, and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was appropriate for President Bush to take time out to have a photo-op with the singers from the just-completed season of Fox's American Idol.

Turns out, Bush found time not long after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks for similar moments of questionable appropriateness.

On page 120 of Feeding The Monster, a new non-fiction book about the Boston Red Sox baseball team by Seth Mnookin, there's this tidbit:

MNOOKIN (discussing the events of Dec. 19, 2001): (Prospective Red Sox owner Tom) Werner arrived, fresh from a dinner he'd attended with Katie Couric at the White House. President Bush, who'd gotten to know Werner when Werner owned the Padres and Bush owned the Rangers and had personally lobbied Bud Selig on behalf of (prospective Red Sox owner Joseph) O'Donnell ...

So, not long after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Bush took time out of his schedule to:

a) Lobby baseball commissioner Bud Selig regarding the planned sale of the Red Sox.
b) Have dinner with prospective Red Sox owner Tom Werner and then-girlfriend Katie Couric.

Yes, this is four-year-old information, albeit information just recently revealed by Mnookin (more on that below). But alongside Friday's visit with the American Idol singers, it paints a better picture of how this president works when some pundits are saying that World War III is upon us.

Maybe it's wrong to think our president should be all-business during crises. In the weeks following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, with the nation looking to rally around Bush, weren't most Americans envisioning him huddling with his inner circle or his top military leaders, determining how to capture Osama Bin Laden and dismantle Al Qaeda? Or working with the powers that be -- in the days before the befuddlement known as the Department of Homeland Security -- to discuss improving air, rail and port security, border security, and the security of our nation's chemical and nuclear plants? Or meeting with, or writing to, the families of those who had lost loved ones -- especially police officers, fire fighters and other emergency personnel -- in the terrorist attacks?

No one is suggesting the president should be Superman. But less than 100 days after one of the worst points in American history, it bothers me to think the president spent meaningful time on the potential ownership of the Red Sox. And I'm a Red Sox fan.


What was discussed at Bush's dinner with Werner and Couric? Who knows.

After conducting several Google searches -- this and this among them -- I found no evidence that Couric referenced her dinner with Bush on NBC's Today Show. A little odd, considering Couric is one of the world's best-paid journalists. The White House also made no reference to the dinner.

We can only imagine.

In addition to discussing baseball, maybe Werner brought up Sept. 11. Mnookin notes on page 101 of Feeding The Monster that Werner was scheduled to fly on American Airlines Flight 11 (one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center), but because a Sept. 10 meeting ended early, he flew to New York, had dinner with Couric, and boarded a different flight to Los Angeles.

Maybe Bush brought up the videotape Bin Laden made, which the White House had released just a few days earlier. Or maybe he discussed the "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh, who press secretary Ari Fleischer discussed at that morning's press briefing.

Or maybe, in keeping with a light-hearted dinner, they discussed the new $65 million contract Couric had signed that morning with NBC.

Maybe it's best we don't find out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's all very troubling. It represents part of the same pattern of Bush post disaster follies.
I think it might be more important for Americans to focus attention to activities of the Bush Administration prior to 9-11 rather than the weeks immediately after, as during the disclosure of the Aug. 11, 2001 memo: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the U.S."
Despite Condi Rice's misrepresentations of a "historical analytical" document, the document clearly was focused on recent suspicious Al Quada activity in the U.S.
The media were more focused on reporting Rice's spin/lie than allowing people to read the memo for themselves.
(The Administration even lied about the headline during press conferences when the memo first came to light in 2004. They said it read determined to strike "the" U.S., conveniently leaving out the words "in the" U.S.)
This was the same Condi who said "no one could have predicted airplanes flying into buildings," despite a 1999 memo from the National Intelligence Council, a division of the CIA, unambiguously warning of just that.
This is the same Condi who is now orchestrating U.S. policy in the Middle East. This is the same Condi who is now a Republican front-runner for 2008 president.
Yes, the Bush Administration fought to prevent the Aug. 11 2001 memo from declassification, just as it fought implementation of the 9-11 Commission that ultimately released it.
And there are very troubling credible reports that Bush expressed anger with the CIA agents at the time for disrupting his vacation with the presentation of the Aug. 11 memo.
It is nevetheless well documented Bush did nothing in response to a document indeed reporting of suspicious new activities of a terrorist organization operating in the U.S.
Yes, my post here may be old news compared to what JABBS has reported above.
But in the name of the most deadly terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil, I for one will never forget, even though it appears many already have.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous kentuck said...

This is part of the Bush psychology... His Daddy would do the same thing. He would go out on his cigarette boat during the most critical times. They pretend nothing is bothering them. They are on top of it. etc..

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Felinity said...

Pretense/bravado or ???

Perhaps they just don't care. A sociopath is comfortable in almost any situation. Denial is superfluous, it's just breakfast, then torture, maim, kill, destroy some property, then "How about lobster for lunch?"

11:03 AM  
Anonymous El Fuego said...

He brought the American Idol finalists to the White House last week

Even as war raged in the ME and the media talked about the start of WW III.

He has his priorities.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you expect the President to have a siege mentality every second of every day he's in office?
That's what did in Jimmy Carter during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979/1980.
The business of the nation goes on, and a part of a President's duty is to do these stupid little PR stunts.
The idea that he's not "on top of things" simply because he's not in his office every minute of every day is assinine.
I'm surprised you guys didn't go off on him for "pardoning" the Thanksgiving turkey last year.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous emald said...

I sure won't argue your premise as I think the monkey is incapable of holding any thought longer than a few minutes. As for running our country and deciding action, well, we are in serious trouble. Thats all.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

To anonymous above: His dinner with Werner and Couric, and his calling Selig, weren't p.r. stunts -- no one knew about it until this book came out.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong to be critical, but let's get the facts right.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush on top of things?
Based on Bush's record in the months preceeding 9-11, the Iraq invasion, Katrina, the Hezzabollah attack on Israel, etc. maybe it would be better for the country to have Bush attend frivolous dinners and participate in PR stunts 24-7.

2:26 PM  

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