The Corner

Kerryisms V. Bushisms

I know that a lot of liberals, particularly at places like Slate and TNR, are deeply invested in the idea that Bush’s “Bushisms” are very significant. That’s fine. I can’t imagine conservatives would say similar verbal fumbles were irrelevant if they came out of a liberal president’s mouth. But I would like to know what the principled argument would be for holding that Kerryisms are less revealing, less significant, less damning than Bushisms. So W. mispronounces nuclear. So he sometimes pops the clutch when trying to finish a sentence. His meaning is clear and even his detractors concede he rarely waffles. Meanwhile Kerryisms, I think, reflect a serious character flaw and a seriously troubling view of democracy and democratic accountability. Kerry refuses to give straight answers. Very often he refuses to say steadfastly he believes one thing to the exclusion of another thing. He almost never wants to be on the wrong side of an issue, so he not only denies that he’s on the wrong side but he denies that a wrong side exists.

The only argument I can think of that Bushisms are more damning than Kerryisms is the one which says they reveal Bush is too dumb to be president. But that’s an argument nobody but the liberal choir believes at this point.


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