Turns My Stomach

Taken from a transcript of Bob Costas and GWB's interview at the Olympics:

"Costas: If these Olympics are as successful as they are shaping up to be, most people believe this only further legitimizes the ruling party in the minds of most Chinese citizens. And even absent true liberty as we understand it, the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese people are much better than they once were. Therefore, what's the party's incentive to reform?

Bush: Well first of all, if you are a religious person you understand that once religion takes hold in a society it can't be stopped. And secondly I think the Olympics are gonna serve as a chance for people to come and see china the way it is, and let the Chinese see the world and interface and have, you know, the opportunity to converse with people from around the world." [Emphasis mine.]

Costas said NOTHING about religion in Chinese society. Bush mentions it only because he is frigging obsessed with pandering to his "base."
Does the dragging in of religion turn your stomach? It did mine!
If I considered myself religious, I'd be insulted by the blatant pandering.
If I didn't consider myself religious, I'd be insulted by the inference that only through religion can society elevate itself.

As I believe Jeri pointed out on a comment somewhere "the ability to believe despite all evidence to the contrary is not necessarily a good thing in a president."

I cannot watch the idiot anymore.

(PS - Bravo to Bob Costas for having some pretty insightful questions, despite his blockheaded interviewee.)


John the Scientist said...

"first of all, if you are a religious person you understand that once religion takes hold in a society it can't be stopped."

WTF? Buddhism and Daoism are still going strong over there and are doing nothing to stop the Commies. Christianity? Never been more than a fringe element. The big new one? Falun Gong. Yeah, the people who believe that my kids are part of an alien plot.

But I have to take issue with Costas in that he thinks these Olympics are successful just because the sporting events are going off without a hitch on the field. What myopia. These Olympics have been an unmitigated disaster for the CCP. I've said so from an intellectual perspective, but even sports reporters with more than a thimbleful of common sense are saying the same thing.

Anne C. said...

I'm betting that because NBC is the official American broadcaster, Costas has to bow (pun intended) to Chinese censorship a bit more than the print news.

However, I haven't been watching that much, so I couldn't comment on Costas' perkiness in long term.

John the Scientist said...

Heh, the headline in the New York Metro yesterday was "Just What is Real".

I figured out what else was stupid about that question - what he heck is the president supposed to do? Order the IOC around like that Chinese official who ordered the substitution of Lin Miao Ke? Order the IOC not to give the games to China? We don't operate that way in the West, so I'm stumped as to what the question was getting at in the first place.

Methinks both interviewer and interviewee are candidates for the short bus.

Anne C. said...

I'm not sure which "first question" you mean. The first in the interview was along the lines of "what are your impressions" and the first (and only) one referenced in my post is "what's the party's incentive to reform?" Neither asks the president what to do.

Are you referring to the controversy about whether we should have boycotted the Olympics (in order to emphasize our objections to China's human rights "track record")?

Sorry, I'm a little confused, but I guess that's the natural result from listening to Bush's non-answers.

John the Scientist said...

I'm referring to the assumption that the Olympics have anything to do with the party's incentive to reform. Yeah it's a nice showcase for them, but so was the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, and within 5 years Gorbachev was in power on a reform platform, despite the success of those Olympics (and the egg on the face of Carter after the boycott). Costas is assuming his particular field has a lot more importance than it really does.

The president can do things like revoke Most Favored Nation status. Which has nothing to do with the Olympics. I was left reading that question with "and your point is?"

Had I been the interviewee I would have attacked a) the assumption that the Olympics are successful on any basis other than events completed (with press releases like that one to back up that assumption), and b) the stupidity of assuming that successful Olympics = legitimization of regime, with the Gorbachev example.

Look at it this way. The Communists regularly stage pageants like the opening ceremonies for May Day parades, etc. That's how they could get that many people together for this one - they were members of PLA Song and Dance units that are not, as is our USO, volunteer organizations, but actual members of military units. The Chinese people saw this as a big May Day parade, not as a legitimization of the regime. The real target of this show was the international community. And given all the scandals, people outside China are not buying it.

Instead of a real analytical probe, we got an inane question and an insane answer.

Anne C. said...

Instead of a real analytical probe, we got an inane question and an insane answer.

I could say, yes, well it's the Olympics, a glorified sporting event, but the truth is, I don't really expect that level of discourse on primetime television at any time of the year. One of the reasons I don't watch TV news much.

At least they've improved on the inane questions they used to ask moments after the race... "you just lost the race by miliseconds after training for ten years. How do you feel?"

John the Scientist said...

Yeah, the sad thing is that Costas is no deeper than "real" reporters.

Speaking of bad reporting, the sports announcers could at least try to study up on a little Chinese pronunciation if China is the host country. The mangling of the two marathoners' names is horrific.