I can remember back when everyone was talking about how Reagan won the cold war, and that Bush 43 was going to defeat the “axis of evil” the same way. I was scared out of my wits. We had a dimwit President who wanted to revise history then embrace that revision and launch Armageddon. Or so I thought. As bad as the
We keep hearing stories of protesters celebrating the action of the stocking footed journalist. Indeed, I have heard no one strongly upset about what happened; perhaps they have stopped shaking as well. Even the secret service seems to be downplaying it as an unimportant incident. I guess that might be because they are embarrassed.
Beside the fun though, what is most interesting about the shoes? It is not the demonstration that there are angry people. We kind of knew that; Bush probably even had a clue. No, what is interesting is how well the President handled it. There was no fear in his face, just a slight glint of amusement. And he followed up almost immediately with a joke.
This little incident has probably more to boost Bush’s favorability rating than anything else that has happened this year. He came across as cool, collected, and fully aware that some people do not like him. He did not get angry or do anything that would give the remotest hint that he wanted revenge.
So, as the Iraqi’s struggle to come up with an appropriate punishment, they should consider the following. While throwing a shoe may be big insult in the Middle East. Standing up to an insult is something that big people do. The journalist’s action, rather than doing anything to harm Bush, has shown him in that light.
While it may be a crime to attack a foreign dignitary in Iraq, it is not a crime to insult one, especially when the insult is so gracefully deflected. The best punishment for this man may simply be the knowledge that he was foiled in his intent. Worse, he helped the one he wanted to hurt.
The dilemma facing the Iraqi government need not be a dilemma at all. This is, after all, the time for Presidential pardons. If Bush were to issue a symbolic one for this journalist, the Iraqi’s could choose to simply drop the matter with no side losing face.