Mr. Bush, prepare to meet...

In honor of this year's White House Correspondent's Dinner, at which Valerie Plame, Joseph Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Ludacris, and Alex Trebek, among others, are expected, let's take a quick look at the past couple of fetes.

Last year's lovefest included the beginnings of a Bush jerk-off joke, before Laura took the stage to gently lambast her husband's, er, benign bedside manner. David Corn wrote: "No mention of the US troops being killed in Iraq but a horse jerk-off joke--that is one way to sum up the First Couple's appearance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner." [VIDEO]

In 2004, Bush closed his speech with a paean to Pat Tillman: "Corporal Tillman asked for no special attention. He was modest because he knew there were many like him, making their own sacrifices. They fill the ranks of the Armed Forces."

Tillman, of course, was killed by "friendly fire" -- a fact we only learned much later. And as for the Armed Forces being filled with many like him? He's the man that called the Iraq war "so fucking illegal." On this, the president seemed to have been correct. Many of our soldiers believe the war should end. And end soon.

According to a recent Zogby poll 68 percent of our soldiers said they believed that the real reason for the war was simply to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Or: this war is so fucking illegal.

In 2002, the president made this little joke -- just not as humorous in retrospect:


BUSH: Drew Carey is our entertainment tonight. Drew has a fun TV show called "Whose Line Is It Anyway," which is totally improvised. Drew, got any interest in the Middle East?
But don't confuse the chummy White House Correspondent's Dinner with the chummy Radio and Television Correspondent's Dinner. That's the one where, in 2004, the president joked about the failure to find WMD, showing slides of himself looking under oval office furniture and cracking: "Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere..."

That had them rolling.

And that's really the problem isn't it? Whether it's the White House Correspondent's Dinner or the Radio and TV dinner, there's this gentlemanly -- wink wink -- tension between the press and Bush but for all too many it's a form of sport; not a crucial check on the man at the helm of the world's most powerful nation.

I'm all for black comedy but I don't share it with the perpetrators of the blackness...

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