Bits and Pieces

Sunday, February 06, 2005


If there's one thing that gets under my skin it's spin. Atrios treats us with this little nugget proving beyond all doubt that President Bush is an uncaring, evil maniac:-

In Omaha on Friday, a divorced single mother named Mary Mornin tells the
president, "I have one child, Robbie, who is mentally challenged, and I have two

"Fantastic," the president exclaims, and he tells her she has "the hardest
job in America, being a single mom."

Later, the 57-year old Mornin tells Bush that she works three jobs, which
the president deems "uniquely American" and "fantastic." He asks her if she gets
any sleep.

Far be it from me to claim that Atrios may have intentionally misrepresented Bush's statement, but I can't help but think that maybe he has some ulterior motives.

First, lets clear up some facts. This is an excerpt of the transcript from Friday's discussion:-

THE PRESIDENT: Mary is with us. Mary Mornin. How are you, Mary?

MS. MORNIN: I'm fine.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Okay, Mary, tell us about yourself.

MS. MORNIN: Okay, I'm a divorced, single mother with three grown, adult children. I have one child, Robbie, who is mentally challenged, and I have two daughters.

THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. First of all, you've got the hardest job in America, being a single mom.

MS. MORNIN: Thank you. (Applause.)


MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

MS. MORNIN: Not much. Not much.

In essense, Atrios remained faithful to the text. However, his implication is obvious. It really kicks off in the comments with these thoughful observations:-

Wow, how'd that woman make it through screening?

Uniquely American = "57 year-old people in other civilized countries don't have to work three jobs to support themselves and their three kids, one of whom is mentally challenged"

W deserves a serious cock punching for that one.

Condi thinks the tsunami was fabulous opportunity. George thinks that working three jobs and have a mentally handicapped child is terrific.Did I miss something?

On top of his failure on Social Security privatization, if this gaffe spreads around, I wonder if George's second term just jumped the shark.

I'd like to punch that bastard right in the nose.

Good instincts, hadenough and Atrios. SS wonking is productive in terms of legislative debate, but this sort of thing is what reaches the voters. I hope the DNC gets their noise machine
together and mentions this in every available forum.

A single mother working three jobs while trying to raise a disabled child and have some semblance of a normal life with her other kids is not "fantastic", it's shameful.

He probably sees this as family values. Trouble is Mary doesn't get to ever see her kids, much less raise them, cuz she's never at home.

it's "fantastic" to work 167 hours of an 168 hour week

It was the work of 5 minutes to find the schedule for the Religious Education Dept. of the St Robert Bellarmine Church, where Ms. Mornin is a secretary. As it happens there are only 2 classes a week including Sunday School. It's a part time job. Ms. Mornin probably works a couple of mornings a week at the School, and the rest of the week in 2 other part time jobs - and there's nothing wrong with that. It probably offers more flexibility than she would have in a single full time job - flexibility she enjoys as it makes it easier to take care of her disabled son. Indeed, her boss was more than happy to let her take the day off to attend the discussion. No sweatshop for her.

A little more searching reveals that Ms. Mornin has enough disposable income to buy take-out food for her dog, Snoopy. She isn't reduced to living on bread and water under the harsh rule of an evil dictator. Her cup runneth over - far from crumbs and table scraps, the family pet is treated to chicken nuggets, nachos and bagels.

See, as Atrios and I prove, it's easy to spin a story either way. The most reliable method of reporting, if we're so concerned about Ms. Mornin's wellbeing, would be to ask her what she thinks. Did she think Bush was rude, cruel and uncaring? I think not:-

"I like his plan," she said after Bush's speech. "He's just so personable.
He really put me at ease."

Ms. Mornin told us later that, "He knew I was nervous... Twice on the stage, he turned and said, 'are you OK?'"
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