Yes, I got a lot of e-mail about my postings too, some of it angry. Who the
heck do I think I am, criticizing Bush’s performance? Etc., etc. Well, I’m
a citizen, and this is not North Korea. I want GWB to win the general
election in November. I wish him well. I think a Kerry presidency would be
a horrible disaster. I do not, though, agree with Peggy Noonan that it’s
fine for a President to be this bad in an interview format, so long as he
gives good speeches. Being good in an interview format is part of the job
requirement, and I don’t anyway think GWB gives particularly good speeches.
And just read that transcript. Sure, not everyone can think on his feet.
I’m not much good at it myself. Remember the writer Oliver Goldsmith, who
apologized for his lousy conversational skills by saying: “I have only
sixpence in my pocket, but I can draw on a thousand pounds.” GWB’s speaking
skills don’t even amount to sixpence, though. Can you tell me what
questions the President is responding to in the following three cases?
(A) Listen, we got some five let me let me, again, just give you a sense
of where I am on the intelligence systems of America. First of all, I
strongly believe the CIA is ably led by George Tenet. He comes and briefs
me on a regular basis about what he and his analysts see in the world.
(B) And this is all in the context of war, and the more we learn about, you
know, what took place in the past, the more we are going to be able to
better prepare for future attacks.
(C) And the President of the United States’ most solemn responsibility is to
keep this country secure. And the man was a threat, and we dealt with him,
and we dealt with him because we cannot hope for the best. We can’t say,
Let’s don’t deal with Saddam Hussein. Let’s hope he changes his stripes, or
let’s trust in the goodwill of Saddam Hussein. Let’s let us, kind of, try
to contain him. Containment doesn’t work with a man who is a madman.
Answers: (A) Will you testify before the commission [on intelligence
failures]? (B) Same question. (C) In what way [was Saddam Hussein a danger
Now, the answers don’t bear any relation to the questions. They are just
incoherent babbling. Sure, the guy’s heart is in the right place on
national security — I don’t doubt that for a minute. “Language is the
dress of thought,” though, and we are entitled to suspect that a man who
can’t answer a question reasonably straight can’t think straight.
As for the lese majeste accusation: Shove it. This is a republic.