We of the Corner have a professional problem with GWB. We are verbalists, and he is not. Conservatives had the same problem with Ike. I am too young (b. 1955) to remember Eisenhower, but I have read conservative critiques of him in early issues of NR, and in such early WFB books as Up From Liberalism. Conservatives laughed at his gargling and gurgling as much as the pointy-headed Adlai fans did. Murray Kempton and Fred Greenstein ultimately taught the verbal classes that Ike was in fact smart; they should have known that all along, of course, based on the fact that he successfully invaded Europe. What they should also have noticed was that, for all Ike’s verbal bumbles, he communicated good sense, strength and decency, and was rewarded with 80 percent of the electoral vote in two successive elections–a feat such verbal presidents as Jefferson, Lincoln, TR and Wilson never touched.
Which raises the question–does GWB communicate these things? He lost the popular vote to Gore. He can energize his base, and, in times of immediate crisis, the nation. Will that be enough this November?
I am sticking with my prediction that he beats Any-Democrat with 53 percent of the vote: a solid, slender victory.