Bush: Americans Ain't As Dumb As You Think

Did you catch Bush's press conference today? Feisty. The big news was that he re-iterated his lifting of the executive order against offshore drilling and --even though it's meaningless unless Congress acts-- the price of crude fell $9 a barrel. Take that, those who say drilling won't make a difference. The mere prospect of drilling makes a difference. But nevermind that; I simply enjoyed this exchange, which was even better if you listened and heard the tone of his voice.

Q Mr. President, understanding what you say about energy supplies being tight and the debate over energy, which has gone on for years and will continue long through the campaign and into the next administration -- one thing nobody debates is that if Americans use less energy the current supply/demand equation would improve. Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?

THE PRESIDENT: They're smart enough to figure out whether they're going to drive less or not. I mean, you know, it's interesting what the price of gasoline has done, is it caused people to drive less. That's why they want smaller cars, they want to conserve. But the consumer is plenty bright.
Blah-de-blah and then the reporter presses the matter in a follow-up.

Q But you don't see the need to ask -- you don't see the value of your calling for a campaign --

THE PRESIDENT: I think people ought to conserve and be wise about how they use gasoline and energy. Absolutely. And there's some easy steps people can take. You know, if they're not in their home, they don't keep their air-conditioning running. There's a lot of things people can do.

But my point to you, Mark, is that, you know, it's a little presumptuous on my part to dictate to consumers how they live their lives. The American people are plenty capable and plenty smart people and they'll make adjustments to their own pocketbooks.

He also gave an impressively wonky answer in response to a question demonizing oil companies. That must be the Bush everyone said was Governor of Texas.