Cartoonist (see right) and blogger August Pollak wonders how far some conservative bloggers, talk show personalities, and pundits will go in their support of Bush.
So he sent them a questionnaire:
I would like for you to imagine the President of the United States, George W. Bush, killing kittens one-by-one with a hammer. When doing so, please keep in mind the following conditions of this hypothetical scenario:
- The kitten will be killed by President George W. Bush. It will not be ordered killed, nor terminated in any way by a subordinate. You are to assume for the whole of this scenario that the reference to the killing implies a scenario in which President Bush will sit at his desk in the Oval Office, place a small kitten on the desk, and kill it by beating it with a hammer until it is dead, and possibly for a short time afterwards. No other means or individuals will be employed in the death of the kitten.
- The hammer will be a standard carpenter’s hammer, of steel construction with a rubber handle grip. It is not a sledgehammer or any form of giant hammer that will guarantee the death of the kitten in a single blow.
- You are to assume that for every kitten death you accept, you will be willing to watch the actual act performed by the President. It will not be done privately or in any intimate conditions to which the act may be deemed "more humane" or "less graphic." Assume you will watch the full act of the President terminating the life of the kitten by one or possibly a series of blows with a hammer. You may determine the distance at which you are watching depending on your estimate of how messy the act may be and how much you may enjoy kitten parts being sprayed on you, if at all.
- You are not to assume the kitten needs to die, is already dying, or has a reason to require being killed with a hammer by the President. In fact, assume that the kitten is perfectly healthy and of normal temperament, and would be perfectly suitable living a full life in any normal American household had it not been selected by the President to die.
- Furthermore, no acknowledged benefit shall be suggested by death of the kitten nor any practical use be made of its remains. When the President has declared his satisfaction with his repeated blows to the kitten and a medical advisor concurs it is without question dead, an aide shall squeegee the remains of the kitten off the desk into a bag which shall then be incinerated.
- At no point will you be given a reason for the President doing all of this. The only statement that will be offered by the White House regarding the killing of kitten will be that the President was well within his authority. While you may personally surmise a legitimate reason, the President himself will give no reason for killing a kitten with a hammer other than his desire to do so.
- For the sake of this experiment, assume the President is not insane, nor of any unsound mind or condition suggesting a rationale for his actions above. Assume the President has decided that it is not only within his authority, but a necessity in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief, that he begin to murder kittens one by one with a hammer on the top of his desk.
Given the terms of the scenario described above, this Survey presents the following three questions:
- Were the event detailed above to occur, would you still support the Presidency of George W. Bush?
- If the answer to Question #1 is yes, is there a number of kittens President Bush would kill with a hammer that would change your mind?
- If the answer to Question #2 is yes, what would that number be?
While acknowledging that his hypothetical is absurd, Pollak’s questions to conservatives were made in all seriousness.
So far, he hasn’t received much response (although, notably, he did get a death threat)