Our president speaks

I just watched a newsclip of Bush answering questions at a rare press conference yesterday. I am not exaggerating when I say I wanted to cover my face in embarrassment.

I think of the way Tony Blair, through a contagious passion and the confidence of a born orator, can inspire a crowd. I think of Clinton and Reagan, the two greatest American communicators of my lifetime. I think of Churchill. And Hitler (the man could talk, I’ll give him that).

Then we come to Bush. As he coughs and sputters and stammers and stutters, trying to decipher his torturous syntax becomes an exercise in sheer futility. He is fine when he has a prepared speech in front of him. But when he’s on his own, forced into spontaneous dialogue, all we see is this fat head with two frightened eyes swimming helplessly in their sockets, an obvious “fight-or-flight” dread emanating from his pores; he clutches at phrases, for some banal platitude that will be uncontroversial enough to get him out of the vice alive. When he isn’t uttering incoherent gibberish, he’s spewing out the tritest and blandest of cliches. It is painful watching him flounder to keep afloat.

More than anything else the president is a communicator. In this regard, Bush gets the lowest marks ever. He is the anti-communicator, the Great Obfuscator, the tongue-tied village idiot. That’s the best I can say for him. Watching him simply makes one’s skin crawl, in several different directions at once.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 10 Comments

But hey, all his Texas drawl aside, he said what you have been crying for for weeks! This morning’s local headline was simply: “President Accepts Blame”. How come no word on this after you and Adam have been ranting about those stupid 16 words and how all you wanted was the pres. to step up and say it was his fault.?

Ok, I’ll give you that his timing was well orchestrated, after the 16 words were slipping off the page, but that’s politics. It’s exactly what Clinton did, and exactly what he had to do to save his record and keep his agenda rolling. The nature of the game.

But you have a point, I bet he couldn’t repeat those 16 words twice without stumbling over them… :) That is a bit embarrassing.

July 31, 2003 @ 6:58 pm | Comment

Well, he looks like he’s partially dyslexic when he speaks or he’s trying to imitate a wise thinker and straining to think while he speaks.

DEMENTIA ALERT!!!

When you vote for spoilt bananas
You get diarrohea.

Simple as that!

August 1, 2003 @ 2:23 am | Comment

Giggle – sometimes the way he speaks looks as though he’s trying to pass motion through haemorroids.

Someone get him Daflon (it’s an haemorrioid med).
:)

Toodles
Edwin
Slowly learning english

August 1, 2003 @ 2:24 am | Comment

Petes, I hope I haven’t been ranting about the 16 words; I’ve tried to say many times that I think that’s been over-analyzed and should be left laid to rest. It’s been the White House’s methodology — smears, duplicity and scapegoating — that had me ranting.

As for the president now taking responsibilty…. It brings to mind Janet Reno taking responsibility for the Waco calamity, a move that was strongly derided by the right as an attempt to avoid deeper inquiry. With Bush, he’s taken many weeks to get to this point, and the genie is out of the bottle — his move is too little, too late. At this point, it seems more like an empty gesture, and it certainly makes me wonder, what was his strategy in stubbornly refusing to take responsibility earlier? That stubbornness led to some of the ugliest political back-stabbing and buck-passing in memory.And that is still worth ranting about.

August 1, 2003 @ 2:55 am | Comment

what if it’s all just a publicity stunt?

The article I link to was first printed in the Toronto Star, and it examines the possibility that Bush is a psychopath. I have to say, while it’s a little frightening to read and possibly farfetched, I do think there might be a little truth behind it.

August 1, 2003 @ 6:18 am | Comment

Kit, you’re way behind the times. I posted about this article months back over here. The writer makes some truly interesting points, especially about how Bush only slips up when he is trying to be a normal, nice human being, but does fine when he’s war mongering. Still, I wouldn’t take the argument too seriously.

August 1, 2003 @ 6:41 am | Comment

oops, sorry.

I also read it quite a while ago, to be fair, but it’s one of my favorite articles about Bush, and I thought it was rather applicable.

August 2, 2003 @ 1:10 am | Comment

mei wenti

August 2, 2003 @ 2:21 am | Comment

You’re looking at it the wrong way. Everytime you see Dubya on TV, repeat this mantra: like father, like son.

Like father, a one term president.

Okay, I’ll grant that Bush the father was actually a 3-term president, because as VP and former CIA director, I cannot believe he took a backseat to Ronnie.

August 6, 2003 @ 11:19 pm | Comment

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