I was waiting for my bagel this morning and noticed a story on the cover of the Buffalo News: Bush orders border plan review. Bush had criticized an earlier announcement that passports would be required for Canadian border crossings in a couple years; which is a big deal in a city where you cross the border to go to dinner, for example.
But the criticism was not really the news. I was shocked by the following quote:
“When I first read that in the newspaper about the need to have passports, particularly the day crossings that take place, about a million for instance in the state of Texas, I said, “What’s going on here?’ ” Bush said when asked about the new rules.
This raised a couple issues for me:
1. Bush reads newspapers??? No, this isn’t merely a jab at a president I strongly disagree with on… well, just about everything. (I’m in favor of fiscal conservatism, small government, and liberal social policy, and Bush… isn’t.) He told Fox TV a couple years ago that he doesn’t read newspapers, though he may glance at the headlines to see what is “moving”. Instead he relies on his staff, who can provide news “directly from the participants on the world stage.” But if he is reading newspapers…
2. He didn’t hear this from his staff??? I don’t know, maybe this isn’t a big deal outside of the border states, but it strikes me that if this is something your administration is about to go public with, the president might want to be made aware of it in some way other than reading it in the paper. After all, our relations with our neighbors to the north and south, while still fine, are not exactly warm lately.
This might sound unfair of me, blaming him for not reading papers and then for getting his news from papers rather than his staff, but that was my immediate reaction to reading the story. In the best of all possible worlds, our president would get news both from the mass media and his own staff, wouldn’t he?