George W. landed at Ljubljana Int’l hours ago for the EU-US summit which is by a curious twist of fate hosted by Slovenia. From a political point of this is actually a non-event, which happens at more or less regular intervals. This is emphasised by the fact that George a lame-duck by now as most of the free world as well as the remains of the axis of evil are looking all the way to November to see whether it’ll be a maverick or a brother running the show.
Air Force One lands at Ljubljana Int’l (source)
As noted yesterday, though, Dubya in Slovenia means some great photo-ops, not to mention a possible bump in the polls for the ruling clicque (and I use the term in the most pejorative way possible). The protocol of the event is rather complicated, though. Officially, Dubya is attending the EU-US summit, which means that he will be hosted by the current President of the European Council who in this case doubles as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia. Janez Janša, naturally 🙂 However, George Jr. will be co-hosted by Jose Manuel Barosso, the President of the European Commission who doesn’t double at all 😉 Additionally, however, as the event will be taking place in Slovenia, our Prez insisted on meeting with the other Prez and this wish was dully granted. It must be noted that the powers of the US president are in effect those of Slovenian President and Prime Minsiter combined (now you know what Janša is after :)), therefore only a meeting with both the Prez and the PM creates a balance between both delegations. Add to this the loitering Barosso, to whom Janša is superior in terms of protocol during the presidency and you’ve got yourself an all-aces poker hand.
All fine and and dandy so far? A bit complicated, but not all that much, no? No. Unfortunatelly, things got sour with the presidential biotches. A small cat-fight erupted between the PM’s and the President’s cabinets as to which babe will host Laura Bush. Will it be the President’s wife or the Prime Minister’s fiancee? Or perhaps just Ms. Barosso? For a while it seemed that Doc Urška prevailed, but Laura showed up a day early and did some sighseeing on her own, without Janša’s babe holding her hand and today, as the official progamme start, Laura will be hosted by all three ladies.
But don’t get overexcited… Yes, some lucky tourist might have caught a glimpse of Laura having a look into the Franciscan church in downtown Ljubljana, but in reality such summits are about as interesting and glamorous as a cold cow turd on a bad hair day. Believe me, I’ve seen it first hand.
I covered the Bush-Putin meeting in Slovenia in 2001 and I can tell you that covering the US President (especially this president, I would imagine) is shit. If you’re not exactly a member of the White House Press Corp, you cannot even come close to the guy let alone ask him for a statement. The journalistic flock is kept somewhere in the back, major networks do get their own (pre-approved) space, whereas photographers and cameramen are put on a podium which is naturally too small and once Air Force One starts its descent (somewhere above München, probably) you cannot leave the podium. Which is fucked, because you’ll naturally have to take a leak at that precise moment. And as you try to go to give your Johnson a good handsake, darkness falls upon you and looking up you realize that you’ve bumped into a 7-foot tall Secret Service agent who immediately shows you back to your place. Your bladder goes apeshit, while you scratch your back thinking “Wait a minute… I live here. Not you…”. But – naturally – it is of no avail.
And then it happens. The Thief in Chief comes out of his 747, waves, strolls down the steps, inspects the guard of honour, jumps into his rocket-launcher-proof limo and whizzes off. If you’re lucky, you can also attend a joint statement, where you are naturally not allowed to ask questions, but only dully report what was said.
And as he flies away into oblivion, you are left with a huge ammount of useless recordings, because you will end up using the only coherent and meaningful sentence he made in the joint statement, which was the original idea anyway. And then everyone will ask why all the media report the same.
Unless of course they get an exclusive with the man, like POP TV did the other day. In this case you can exclusively watch Bush give only one usable sentence in the interview. Truth be said, the questions weren’t much better either, but the interview was in English