Last Thursday evening, I was watching the news and heard a reporter explain, with a serious look on her face, that the next day Bush was going to begin “consulting” with world leaders in an effort to build support for the U. S. government’s position on Iraq.

Saturday morning, I opened the paper and read an extensive article about the Bush administration’s efforts to bulldoze Bush’s proposed war on Iraq.

Buried in that article were a few paragraphs that inadvertently revealed the illusory nature of Bush’s “consulting” claim. It’s enough to give spin a bad name, when the truth becomes visible like that.

These paragraphs explained that on Friday, Bush made calls to the leaders of Russia, France, and China. (Who all, not incidentally, oppose the U. S. efforts to promote war.) The article went on to say that the three calls, including translation time, lasted 30 minutes.

30 minutes? Including translation time?

Let’s see. If we assume that Bush spent an equal amount of time on each call, that would be ten minutes a call. That’s some major “consultation!”

But wait a minute. Figuring that the translation took as long as the original speaking, there was only five minutes of actual conversation!

But wait another minute. That five minutes included time for Bush to say “Hello, how’s the wife and kids,” and to explain the U. S. position. So if the time was divided equally (a big assumption) that means Bush had two and a half minutes actual time to spend on speaking and two and a half minutes of time for the respective world leader to respond.

Of course, that’s assuming that Bush was actually listening and not just doodling on a pad of paper or skimming the day’s security briefing (again, a big assumption).

But wait another minute! If you’ve waited this many minutes, you’ve already taken more time than Bush did on each phone call!

The mind boggles.

This is the real meaning behind the “consulting world leaders” spin – a couple of minutes of Bush posturing, and a couple of minutes of Bush pretending to listen, and then probably repeating himself.

My sympathies go out to the world leaders. They have to deal with this guy as if he was serious, as if he was really calling to get their opinions, rather than just calling so his spin doctors could report that he “consulted.” Those few minutes must have seemed like hours to them, discussing serious issues with the vast wasteland that is Bush’s so-called mind.

One wonders: is this an example of what Bush means when he claims he will be consulting Congress? When he says he’s going to listen to what the people of the U. S. think and feel? A long series of quick five-minute chats, full of pretense and posturing? And then a vapid announcement to the press, dutifully reported as real news?

Now I’ll know what to think the next time it is reported that Bush had “consulted” with someone. It means about as much as saying Bush is the “elected” president!

Marc Brodine is the chair of the Communist Party of Washington State.
He can be reached at