I’m now watching Bush and Blair as they do their little dance in front of the press together. As usual, Blair is dazzling; his words flow with a noble logic, with no pause or hesitation, and the ideas he articulates are instantly clear and infinitely wise. Bush stands there, looking like a confused child, and you can see him trying with all his might to achieve something close to Blair’s gravitas. Frequent “ummmms” and “uhhhhhs” pepper his sentences; he tries so hard to look casual and relaxed, and the platitudes flow like water.

Okay, I won’t be too hard on our president tonight. (The number killed in Istanbul has just gone up to 25, with an inconceivable 392 injured.) I just wish Bush could could clean up his act as a communicator. After all, that’s 90 percent of what being the president is all about.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

yeah, that’s the ponit:) i am looking at the press too…..Blair was likely making the speech, while Bush was like a student. And the pronunciation of Blair is clear, but that of Bush is blurry.

November 21, 2003 @ 12:05 am | Comment

But the anti-terrorism action is not only the matter of words……

November 21, 2003 @ 12:07 am | Comment

Unfortunately, the majoirt of the British public does not see Blair in the same way; practically nearly everyone hates in, in varying levels of course.

If only they are more understanding.

November 21, 2003 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

You know, whether Blair is popular right now or not is irrelevant. All I am commenting on is his ability to communicate. No matter how history sees him, Blair will always be remembered as one of the most articulate and brilliant speakers of our age.

November 22, 2003 @ 10:37 am | Comment

Richard, clear syntax and pronunciation are useful and important tools for communicating. Bill Clinton is much more articulate than George W. Bush- but would he have had the courage to lead the US down the same effective path in the War Against Terror?

And don’t forget the revulsion that too much glibness can cause in ordinary people. That, I think, is one of the reasons that Blair’s personal popularity is so low in the UK. (Of course, he’s been Prime Minister for, what, 8 years, so a lot of it is ordinary democratic desire for a change.)

Again, don’t confuse the medium with the message. Bush has been very clear about what we are fighting for, what we hope to achieve, and why it is the US’ responsibility to lead this war.

November 23, 2003 @ 1:40 am | Comment

MGCC, two things:

1. I was only talking about Bush’s presentation skills, especially compared to Blair’s, and not whether he is a good or bad president. Obviously there are other factors that determine a president’s net worth, though communication is right up there. So I am talking about the medium in this post; plenty of other posts deal with the message.

2. Your point on Bill Clinton: I believe he would have handled the situation infinitely better than Bush. First off, Clinton had signed onto the treaties and protocols that Bush rejected, creating unresolvable frictions with our allies. If we had had a truly international force going into Iraq backed by the UN we would be so far ahead today. This myth of Bush’s machismo and “courage” is….well, a myth. Snide, tough-talking, arrogant, bullying — don’t confuse those qualities with courage. I see him as a puppet on a string, pulled around by a small circle of secretive, dishonest people. Clinton was a better president and a better man.

November 23, 2003 @ 10:47 am | Comment

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