Rich – I agree that Bush’s debating skills are being wildly over-spun. But there’s something else that bothers me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to so much NPR lately, but I thought the liberal anti-Bush, pro-Kerry spin went something like this. Bush is a moron. He talks stupid. He’s uncurious, unintellectual, unknowledgable. Outfits like Slate have devoted a lot of time and energy cataloging “Bushisms” on the outright assertion that Bush’s poor speaking skills reflect something of profound and enduring importance. These assertions and assumptions have soaked into the grain of elite liberal writing and thinking on both sides of the Atlantic. One cannot read Maureen Dowd or listen to Michael Moore, nevermind the lefty blogs, without hearing snotty allusions to them.
Meanwhile, with less passion perhaps, we’ve been told for more than a year that John Kerry is everything Bush is not: subtle, intellectual, nuanced, knowledgeable, curious, cultured etc etc.
And yet, these same people keep saying that Bush is the better debater. Okay, now, here are the problems. First of all, these people could simply be lying in order to help their candidate. That would make them liars. That’s simple enough.
Or, second, they might not be lying. But if they’re not. What the hell does it say about the importance of all these faults Bush has and all these attributes Kerry has, if the alleged dolt is the odds-on favorite to beat the cultured polymath? You get me? If Bush is the better debater — despite Kerry’s training as a star debater in the Ivy Legue — then why have you wasted so much of our time with all this yammering about the significance of Bushisms?