Paging Dorothy Parker

SYNOPSIS: Krugman notes this article from the Associated Press, which includes Ari Fleischer insulting the space program and admitting that his boss really is just pretending to care about it. If you, like me, have trouble understanding Krugman's quotation at the end, click here for a good explanation. Sorry if this kills the joke <:(

There are good reasons to be really, really, dismayed about the Bush regime and its actions - the environment, the economy, the Western alliance, you name it.

Then there's this sort of thing:

A day after telling reporters that Bush had visited Johnson Space Center while serving as governor of Texas in the 1990s, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer backpedaled from that assertion.

"I think right now it's somewhat murky," the press secretary said aboard Air Force One Tuesday, en route to a memorial service for the seven Columbia astronauts who died in last weekend's tragedy.

It may not be so murky after all.

Fleischer's boss, communications director Dan Bartlett, worked with Bush in Texas and said a review of governor's office records suggests he had not been to the center - at least not as governor or president.

"I have no record of him going so I'm telling you in my judgment he didn't go as governor," Bartlett said.

On Monday, Fleischer dismissed suggestions that Bush had not been interested in the NASA program before the Columbia crash and rejected a report that Bush had never been to the Space Center. He told reporters the president visited the facility near Houston in 1995 or 1996.

The spokesman did not know the exact date, and promised to do more research.

Fleischer said Tuesday that after further review, Bush's staff could find no record of the visit. "Johnson Space Center says that he did not go there, and I'm not able to find the exact date. So that's why I say it's murky," Fleischer said.

"To the president's recollection, he thinks he has been there," his spokesman said, adding that Bush's staff from Texas also thought they recalled such a visit.

The spokesman said Bush has never seen a NASA launch or landing, in part because there are so many other beautiful things to see in the country that he has yet to explore.

After reading that last sentence, I thought of Dorothy Parker's review of "House at Pooh Corner": "Tonstant Weader fwowed up."

Originally published on the Official Paul Krugman Site, 2.5.03