Fishbowl is trying diligently this afternoon to make it through the Washington Post’s massive inaugural coverage–mainly because we feel someone should read the 45 pages of the commemorative section, not to mention all of the special Inauguration 2005 stories scattered throughout the paper (Note to the Post designers: Was it really necessary to throw the inaugural story logo on the story about yesterday’s snow storm?). Anyway, we’re intrigued by the not one but two stories that cover the president’s lack of interest in exploring Washington.
The two-page spread (on page A-40– and A-41 if you’re interested) explores how the President pretty much never goes to eat, shop, or hang out in Washington’s many exciting neighborhoods, concluding, “Bush has led the most isolated, narrow Washington life of any chief executive in modern times.”
He almost never eats out, doesn’t browse the bestsellers at the Georgetown Barnes & Noble, and has never (at least since he took office) been seen getting smashed with interns at the Capitol City Brewing Company.
Partly it’s because he has such a giant entourage, explains former flack Ari Fleischer, “If he wanted to pop into Borders and enjoy a cappuccino, he’d have around 100 people and 25 vehicles with him, including a physician, a military aide with a nuclear football and a couple of dozen reporters. There’s no such thing as just dropping in.”
The Post articles point to the 567 days–more than one-third of his presidency–that Bush has spent either at his ranch in Crawford or at Camp David as evidence of how he’s secluded himself from the Washington beyond the White House gates. Then it turns to the great explanation by Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for Laura Bush, who “cautioned that the frequency of the president’s travels to the ranch and Camp David should not be viewed as an expression of the family’s attitude toward Washington”:
“If they didn’t like Washington, do you think they would have campaigned for another four years?” he asked.
Yea, um, ’cause the main reason you’d want to be reelected President would be to stay close to Lauriol Plaza…