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George Bush Is Not A Good Public Speaker

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During my time at University, I have come to appreciate the fact that it is not only a place for learning, but also an open forum where people can share their views and discuss them with fellow students. Despite this, particular views can certainly upset some people, even if they’re not meant to be upsetting.

George W. Bush’s ability, or rather inability to speak in public was discussed during a recent lesson. Over the course of history, there have been impressive speeches made by political leaders dating all the way back to Ancient Greece. During this discussion, Bush was quickly identified as one of the weaker public speakers.

At this point, the discussion veered from the main topic, but the class seemed to enjoy sharing their views on the topic – that is, until an American exchange student stormed out of the room in a huff, claiming she was too pissed and angry to participate in the class.

All the students were shocked, as no one knew the student was becoming angrier with every word that had been said about her President. No one had said anything personally attacking George Bush or his policies, yet she had refused to shed light on the situation.

As an Australian citizen and resident, I feel as though I have no right to be commenting on George Bush’s policies within his homeland. I am not thoroughly informed on all aspects of these policies to be commenting on them and I don’t live in North America.

However, commenting on his foreign policies, namely the war in Iraq, is something that affects everyone to some degree and therefore should be an open forum for discussion. In the case of this exchange student and George Bush’s public speaking being the only target for discussion, the whole walkout situation was a little confusing.

Bush’s domestic policies weren’t mentioned nor were his foreign policies. No one said anything derogatory about him or any other North American for that matter. Do we not have a right to question his public speaking skills?

Earlier on in the lesson, the class was discussing difficult reading material from the textbook. The same student who would later walk out brought the author into question by pondering his mental stability.

After some research, she found out he had committed suicide. This seemed to reinforce her view that the author was mentally unstable, which is why the text was so pessimistic and difficult to understand. It turned out the writer was Jewish and that the Gestapo was coming for him. She didn’t understand what this all meant.

Maybe a Jewish student should have walked out.

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About Jessa

  • Geez – If that student didn’t want to engage in discussion with other people who express different views than her own, she really doesn’t belong in college, period.

    When I was in college, I observed a few kids walk out during class for similar reasons. In one case, a few people stormed out of my creative writing workshop while we were discussing a short story of mine. The protagonist was a Italian girl growing up in an alternate Rome in which the old Greco/Roman gods were still worshipped. She was pissed because in my story, Christianity had waned in popularity and finally disappeared a few centuries after Christ’s death. Oh well. To each his own, I suppose. Good article! 🙂

  • Nancy

    People who storm out of classes are usually people who are unable to tolerate opposing viewpoints, criticism, or bursting their fantasy bubbles. In any event, as LDF points out, they’re far too immature to be in college. Ignore ’em, Mate.

  • Nancy

    Besides which, saying Bush is a poor public speaker is sort of belaboring the obvious. Even his fans have never claimed he was capable of public speaking.

  • Even among those Americans who blindly adore George W. Bush, the person you describe is unbelievably close-minded and childish. I’m not even sure she represents the wackiest fringe of Bush supporters in the U.S.

    Just tell me this wasn’t a graduate-level class–a person who’s attempting a Master’s degree surely is more open to multiple perspectives than this person is, right?

  • Bush wasn’t always a poor public speaker, amazingly enough. He was known for being witty and quick on his feet while here in Texas. I’m not sure what happened when he decided to go nationwide, but he’s certainly a poor speaker now.

    I mean to cast no aspersons on Jessa when I say that I would dearly love to hear the other student’s read of this situation before deciding that she’s close-minded or foolish.

    I’m not the type to leave a room, personally, but it’s by no means clear to me that the classroom discussion was as Jessa has spelled out. Perhaps it seemed so to Jessa, but it’s easy to overlook the pain of statements when you aren’t personally the target of those statements. I’ve seen too many situations in which people will say insensitive things over and over again and then express surprise when someone is bothered by them, whether racist, or nationalist, or whatever.

    It’s easy to say, “So and so couldn’t handle discussion of something with which they disagreed,” but that’s often an unfair characterization and over-simplification of the actual tone or content of the discussion.

  • Nancy

    Maybe her furosemide kicked in. That would send ME racing from the room.

  • He was known for being witty and quick on his feet while here in Texas.

    I don’t think he’s had a problem in office being witty. He knows when to crack a joke now and then. The problem is when he’s asked serious questions and he starts to stumble a bit.

    As far as other sorts of public speaking go, his speeches themselves aren’t bad (though laden with sort of sloppy rhetoric at times), it’s just his delivery that kinda sucks.

    I agree with Phillip that it would take both sides of the story before dismissing anyone as “close-minded or foolish,” but unless there were some extenuating circumstances (hell, maybe she was just having a bad day) it seems strange that she would react so poorly without even taking the time to voice her opinions.

  • I can easily see a discussion about Bush’s speaking ability sliding quickly into various denegrating comments about Americans as a whole. I’ve heard it happen, though I’m not the type to get so angry I can’t discuss things.

    Bush was seriously a better all-around speaker while he was here. It’s weird. It’s like he pretended to be dumber to appeal to a wider electorate as the anti-Gore/anti-Kerry, and now is stuck actually being dumb. Or something. Columnists here still write about it every now and then as an inexplicable thing.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Well I guess this would be jumping to a conclusion without knowing the facts, but my guess is that the girl is showing off. Either consciously or subconsciously I would bet she is showing off how Patriotic she is. I dont know about Australia, but here in the U.S. there is a lot of insecurities and showing off when it comes to Patriotism. If the neighbor gets a flag, you have to get a flag. Bumper stickers often express in-your-face phrases like “Support U.S. troops.” People who didnt like the war in Iraq were often declared unpatriotic (less true now). You get a lot of people who blindly support the President and anything he does or says, regardless. My general sense is people are insecure when it comes to their own patriotism and this girl is probably just showing off how patriotic she is.

  • Interesting anecdote. I know that you have mandatory voting in Australia, but do you think your whole class could move to the United States and vote here for a couple years? I can even help you be “legal” immigrants.

  • Wow, dramatic generalizations based on misperceptions — how exciting! Comment #9 might be better off without amateur pseudo-psychologizing, but I suppose there wouldn’t be much left after that.

    I know, let’s pretend that people in country X are morally superior by virtue of their birthright, and invite them to wherever we are! That’s a fun game the whole family can play! Wait a minute, is this related to national insecurity again? I’m confused.

    So it’s *good* to show pride in a country you *don’t* live in and know relatively little about, but a demonstration of insecurity to show pride in a country you *do* live in and know quite a lot about. Is that right?

    Well, don’t let me keep you from applying simplistic solutions to everything. Carry on.

  • Martin Lav

    I would bet that the majority of people in the class room were making fun of our dear President and his command of his presumably first language. While I might agree with #9 to a certain extent, I think Philip is probably more correct in that there’s 2 sides to every story and most of the time the snooty liberal left Bush bashers engage in a condescending posture to the point of not even realizing it, much like our author has done. What did I say? Why are you angry? Can’t you discuss something civilly? It’s a common tact taken up by the “LEFT” just as common as the “RIGHTS” constant questioning of patroitism and with us or against us mentalities. Back to Bush’s ability to public speak, I would think he’d be much better off sitting on a stool, with a cowboy hat and boots on while addressing the country. I think the Karl Rove should bring back the fireside chats of FDR and stage Bush in this fashion and I think he would come off far more real. Bush couldn’t be the idiot he sounds like, he did graduate from an Ivy league school, learned to fly a plane etc….so he can’t be as dumb as he sounds. I think he’s too over managed and scrubbed by the Rove machine and they’ve lost his realness.
    Put him on a horse in front of the camera and he’ll sound far more intelligent.

  • Martin Law wrote “Put him on a horse in front of the camera and he’ll sound far more intelligent.”

    Far more intelligent than the horse?

    sorry, couldn’t resist. go back to arguing everyone.

  • Clavos

    I think he’s too over managed and scrubbed by the Rove machine and they’ve lost his realness.

    Excellent point, Martin; I think you’re spot on with that.

  • Seems to me that the student in question is, not to put too fine a point on it, crazy. Best left ignored.

  • Baronius

    In the US, there is a common stereotype of people from the southern states as slow-witted. Their accents and expressions are ridiculed. Bush is from a southern state, and some of the quirks of his speech are southern.

    (I don’t know if you remember Bush’s father, but he had some awful speech patterns that he obviously passed down to his son. On top of all that, young Bush doesn’t care what people think of his speaking.)

    I don’t know where your classmate is from, but it’s possible that you insulted her without realizing it.

  • Clavos

    In the US, there is a common stereotype of people from the southern states as slow-witted. Their accents and expressions are ridiculed.

    Quite true. And many of us use that preconception to our advantage when doing business with yankees.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Jeez Phillip, i said it was a *guess.* Please note my use of the phrases “guess,” “general sense,” “jump to an assumption,” and “without the facts.” I more than acknowledge it is a bold generalization and pseudo-psychology without you pointing it out after the fact. All im saying is that from personal experience I find Americans, at least where I live, to have more of a desire to show off their patriotism than other people. *If* the facts are exactly as Jessa states them, I *wouldnt be surprised* if the girl is *a little* insecure about her own patriotism. I can also see how the conversation might have degeneratedm as you point out, into phrases like “he sounds so stupid” and of course stupid is a touchy word for most people. You cannot rule out my *guess* and i cant rule out yours. I can say that in my experience Americans are very touchy when it comes to a challenge to their personal patriotism.

  • Bush wasn’t always a poor public speaker, amazingly enough. He was known for being witty and quick on his feet while here in Texas. I’m not sure what happened when he decided to go nationwide, but he’s certainly a poor speaker now.

    Bush just isn’t good with scripted material. When he’s just chatting – which he had a lot more opportunitty to do when he was a governor – he’s fine.

    As for the scenario described in the article, how out of whack the girl’s reaction was is hard to determine from the very vague description of the actual discussion. What the author may have perceived as mild may have seemed more vicious to someone with a different perspective. My observation has been that what some outside the US are willing to say routinely about America and Americans is much more offensive than they realize.


  • the reason why the american student walked out is they were educated, shown light on the reality of bush, and what the world thinks of him. America doesn’t love George W. Bush, she shouldn’t be surprised that the rest of the world especially doesn’t love him. Besides, I doubt anybody was saying untruthful stuff. Sometimes its the truth that hurts.

  • I’m not exactly sure what the girl thought was so upsetting, but I can assure you that our class discussion went no further than “Bush is a terrible speaker” and of course, there were examples of this. Maybe it was because she was patriotic, maybe it is something we as Australians won’t understand. However, I really wish she did stay in the class to tell us her point of view which is why I wrote this article. I hoped some of you may be able to shed light on the subject. She’s from Atlanta so, I’m not exactly sure how that would fit into the political spectrum…

  • Atlanta’s a pretty diverse city, so that doesn’t tell us too much. Despite being in the south it’s got a strong Democrat presence, with Democrats in congress and as mayor and city council. Not a great deal of love for Bush in the city, though the surrounding area is much more Republican.

    Could be that she’d been exposed to some sort of Bush-related harassment prior to the class so her sensitivity was heightened. Australia is hardly the most anti-American country in the world. Attitudes there towards Bush are likely rather similar to the attitudes here, at least so I gather from the Aussies I talk to regularly. I mean you guys did elect ‘Bush Lite’ AKA John Howard, so you’re hardly in a position to get too high and mighty.


  • JP

    Republicans (right wing talk show hosts, for example) have coached people that anyone expressing any negative opinion of Bush regarding any aspect of his existence is “a Bush hater.” Respectful open debate is lost.

  • JP, your last statement makes no sense, because as far as I can tell there’s no negative stygma attached to being a Bush hater.


  • #24 sez…
    *because as far as I can tell there’s no negative stygma attached to being a Bush hater.*

    yer fucking kidding me…right?

    even here on BC, there is a certain segment of writers/commenters who will IMMEDIATELY rip into someone as “america hating” the second you criticize the Administration…

    and you know it Dave

    MUCH worse on AM radio or Faux news…

    now, you are one of the good ones, and will talk on the merits and argue rationally

    but we all know that such is the exception in today’s politics, not the rule

    would that more could be half as rational as you are Dave… but reality should set in for you that most of your compatriots in the GOP are much less reasonable


  • Clear speaking requires clear thinking. (Bush quote #1: “I know how hard it is to put food on your family).

  • Martin in #12 sez…
    *and most of the time the snooty liberal left Bush bashers engage in a condescending posture to the point of not even realizing it,*

    can’t you smell the Irony here?

    but i digress


  • Dean

    At least we know the country is in good hands…

    “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

  • cat

    Those of you defending George W’s (alleged) intelligence do realize his academic performance in college left a great deal to be desired, right? C-average student, *AT BEST*.

    What’s that you say; need further evidence of the breadth and depth of this man’s stupidity? Look no further.

  • Cat, I can tell you from personal experience that partying 24/7 for 3 out of 4 years of college can severely impact your GPA regardless of how intelligent you are.

    I have a friend who dropped out of college after 2 years with a .04 GPA – I bet you didn’t even think a GPA that low was possible – he’s now a multimillionaire and CEO of his own company. While in college one of his major achievements was the construction of a 35 foot long bong.


  • kishore

    A hilarious novel by Graham Greene titled “Our Man in Havana” became a best-seller in the 1970s. It was about a mediocre officer of the MI-6, Britain’s external intelligence agency, posted to Havana as a punishment for failing to produce any worthwhile intelligence in his career. One day he sends to his headquarters a sensational report, which he claims to have obtained from a mole, about the arrival in Cuba of a highly lethal Soviet missile for use against the US.

    The MI-6 and the CIA examine the report. There is excitement in both the agencies over this intelligence coup. They inform their respective political leaders. The MI-6’s man in Havana is flooded with encomiums.The more the MI-6 asks him for further details of the missile, the more he gets from his mole.

    One day, the excitement in the MI-6 breaks the ceiling when they receive from their man what he claimed was a copy of the diagram of the missile.The UK Defence Department, the Pentagon and the political leaders of the two countries are informed. The British and American analysts are mystified.The missile, going by the diagram, looks like no other missile the USSR was known to have produced before.Studies are ordered as to how to counter it.

    One British analyst has a vague feeling that he had seen a similar diagram somewhere before, but he cannot recall when and where.One day the vacuum cleaner in his house goes out of order.He opens it. Hey presto, he finds inside a diagram of the vacuum cleaner. He realises that what their man in Havana had sent as the diagram of a new Soviet missile, was actually the diagram of a vacuum cleaner.

    There is utter consternation in the MI-6 headquarters. They call their man to London and question him. He admits that he never had a mole in the Cuban security set-up and that he had fabricated all his reports. He got the idea about the new missile while repairing his vacuum cleaner one day.

    The chief of the MI-6 and his officers ask him to wait outside while they discuss his cheating.The senior officers advise the chief not to admit to the Prime Minister and the CIA that there was no such missile and that their man had made an ass of them.It would destroy the organisation’s credibility and that of the chief.
    They decide to request their man to apply for premature retirement and recommend to the Government that his request be accepted despite his outstanding work. They also decide to recommend him for knighthood for his outstanding performance in Havana. He remains on the records of the MI-6 one of the greatest intelligence operatives produced by the British intelligence.

    One is reminded of the MI-6’s Man in Havana as one watches with amazement the encomiums being showered on President Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan as a stalwart ally in the war against terrorism by President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair despite an avalanche of evidence regarding his duplicity. What is the evidence available against Musharraf so far:

    His reluctance to hand over Omar Sheikh to the Americans for questioning regarding the kidnapping and beheading of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist.
    His continued refusal to hand over A.Q.Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist, to the US for interrogation on his links with Iran,Libya,North Korea, Syria, Iraq and Al Qaeda.
    His non-co-operation in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, his No.2 Ayman al-Zawahiri and other remnants of Al Qaeda, who are now operating from Waziristan in Pakistani territory.
    His reluctance to act against Mulla Mohammed Omar, the Amir, and other leaders and cadres of the Taliban, who are killing Americans, British, Canadians, Afghans and others from their sanctuaries in Pakistani territory.
    His refusal to act against the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and its mother organisation the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) despite the LET’s global ramifications and its links with Al Qaeda.
    His indignant denials of Indian and Afghan allegations regarding the jihadi terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory, which continues to encourage terrorism in India and Afghanistan.
    His making a deal with the Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants in Waziristan under which they have agreed to observe a cease-fire inside Waziristan in return for Musharraf’s closing his eyes to their raids into Afghan territory
    And, so on and so on and so on. In spite of all this, Mr.Bush and Mr.Blair keep showering praise on Their Man in Islamabad. Their praise shows no sign of stopping despite new evidence of the General’s duplicity regarding the alleged plot to blow up 10 US-bound aircraft, the discovery of which was announced dramatically by the British police on August 10, 2006.
    Musharraf and his officials proclaimed that it was Pakistan, which discovered the plot and alerted the British about it on August 9. They projected Rashid Rauf, a British citizen of Pakistani origin, as the chief co-ordinator of the plot on behalf of the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. What strip-tease they have been playing about Rashid Rauf!

    They said he was arrested while crossing into Pakistan from Afghanistan a week before the British announcement.
    Sections of the Pakistani media reported that he was actually arrested in Bahawalpur in southern Punjab on August 8. He had acquired an expensive house there and married the sister-in-law (wife’s sister) of Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), which was designated by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in December,2001.
    After the publication of the report of his arrest in Bahawalpur, the Pakistani officials changed their version. They said they had actually arrested an associate of Rashid Rauf while crossing over into Pakistan from Afghanistan and he led them to Rashid in Bahawalpur. They have not given the name of this associate.
    They said that the entire plot was conceived by the No.3 of Al Qaeda who, according to them, is based in Afghanistan, but they could not give his name except to say he was close to No.2 Zawahiri.
    Then, they said it was actually a son-in-law of Zawahiri, who conceived the plot and tried to use Rashid to have it executed. They gave the name of the so-called son-in-law. When it was pointed out to them that this son-in-law was reported by them earlier this year to have been killed in an American air raid in the Bajaur tribal agency, they have gone silent. Musharraf has advised his agencies not to give any more briefings to the media.
    Musharraf has suddenly become a stickler for the law. In the past, the Pakistani authorities had informally handed over to the Americans without following the due process of the law Mir Aimal Kansi, Ramzi Yousef, Abu Zubaidah, Ramzi Binalshib, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Abu Faraj al-Libi and many others without informing their courts about their arrests.Abu Faraj was handed over despite the fact that he was the principal accused in the case relating to the plot to kill Musharraf in December,2003.
    In the case of Rashid Rauf, they are following the entire procedure as laid down in the law. They informed a court of his arrest. They produced him before a magistrate and obtained his remand in police custody for interrogation. They have reportedly requested the British for a formal written application for handing him over so that they can put it up to the Magistrate for orders. A British police team is waiting in Islamabad patiently for an opportunity to question him.

    Any police would have been anxious to question him as urgently as possible in order to neutralise any other threat before it materialises, but not the British. It is now 10 days since the plot was discovered, but the British are yet to interrogate the so-called principal co-ordinator of it. They are showing remarkable patience.It is like a clip in slow motion from a Charlie Chaplin movie. The whole case relating to Rashid is moving at a pace which would make the proverbial snail look a great sprinter.

    Rashid Rauf may well go down in history as the terrorist, whom nobody wanted to interrogate. The Pakistanis don’t want to interrogate him too much lest their duplicity be exposed.The British and the Americans don’t want to be in a hurry to interrogate lest their own gullibility be exposed.Moreover, there is a great danger if it comes out that they again let themselves be taken for a ride by Musharraf.Not only will their credibility be in ruins, but they may even face claims for damages from airline companies and passengers, who incurred losses amounting to billions of dollars as a result of the drama staged by the British police.

    The only way of avoiding all this is to persist with the drama and to go on showering encomiums and lollipops on Musharraf. It would be dangerous to admit that he was a trickster, who took them for a ride. Better to let him go down in history as the world’s greatest warrior against terrorism and as the hero of the discovery of a plot to blow up 10 US-bound planes.

    They sink or swim with Their Man in Islamabad.

  • Baronius

    Jessa, Atlanta is the heart of the South. What Americans call “the South” is a big region with a lot of different (but related) accents. A critique of Bush’s speaking could easily offend an Atlantan.

    As for regional politics, we Americans talk about it a lot, but we don’t have regional parties like some countries. The Democrats and Republicans each get a minimum of 40% of the votes most anywhere. Every American has had their views ridiculed. Certainly, every American with internet access.

    So if I had to guess, your classmate probably had a rush of southern pride brought on by homesickness.

  • Ah, that could very well be a possiblity.