Today on Blogcritics
Home » Grading The Bush Administration – Part I

Grading The Bush Administration – Part I

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

There is a special arrogance to making an historical judgment on anything going on in the present.  We can't even be sure of the past, even our own past, for, as Daniel Kahneman, Princeton psychologist and the co-winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics, once wrote, "The memory is a fickle friend." 

JFK was assassinated almost 45 years ago, and the controversy over his death never seems to end… or get any clearer. Witness Vincent Bugliosi's new 1,600+ page epic that attacks all the conspiracy theorists (no I haven't and don't intend to read it. The reviews are dense enough.) Absent some remarkable and unassailable evidence, we'll probably never know the truth.

Raise the issue of using the atom bomb in Japan and sit back and wait for the furious barrage of opinions. Did Lincoln have homosexual relations with that man?  Was Livia (the wife of Caesar Augustus) really the mad poisoner portrayed in I Claudius

So how does one make evaluations?  Very carefully, knowing that one's conscious and unconscious biases act as filters for our pronouncements.  And, by listening carefully to others, especially those with competing points of view.  To begin, my bias is 60s liberal, I think, although when I tried to explain my concept of liberalism in an earlier article, "Yes I'm A Liberal," a BC contributor from Jerusalem countered that I was describing social justice, so I am, perhaps, a Social Justician.  At the same time, I get as angry at traditional liberalism as I do conservatism, so maybe I'm just confused.

Enough introduction.  How does one evaluate our current president and his administration, and how does one do it without sarcasm and satire  — aye, there's the rub.  Let's just pick some of the key moments of his administration and see what transpires.  I'll never get this done in one article, so we'll begin by looking at terrorism and foreign policy, to start with.  Part II will look at domestic policy.

9/11 and the early War on Terrorism:  Perhaps Bush at his best.  Capitalizing on the outpouring of world support and grief, he put together a powerful coalition, got U.N. approval and drove the Taliban out of Afghanistan.  We stood side-by-side with our European allies; Russia, and much of the Arab world to make a statement that terrorism would not be tolerated.  (Grade:  A)

The Iraq War:  Alas, for reasons never clearly explained, his real target was Saddam Hussein.  There shouldn't be any question any longer that, with Cheney & Rumsfeld, Bush manipulated intelligence findings to justify the war.  When European powers asked for more time for the U.N. to complete its weapons of mass destruction mission, all the while acknowledging that war was probably inevitable, Cheney, in particular, treated them like tired, old nations not worthy of our time.  Likewise, the failure to engage any of the Arab powers made it easy for the radical Islamists to portray this as a war against Islam.  And he pulled some of the best troops out of Afghanistan (premature ejectus?) before the job was done and especially before Osama "Up Yours" Bin Laden was captured.  We're now fighting a new Taliban menace, poppy production is soaring, and the future of Afghanistan looks bleak. 

The war in Iraq, by any standards, has been a military and diplomatic disaster.  Why, for example, did Rumsfeld reject the calls for more troops by his generals?  Why did he dismiss out of hand any plan for the post-war rebuilding of Iraq, i.e. winning the peace?  Why didn't Bush insist on it?  His father, according to some accounts, never followed up after the first Iraqi war because he and his advisors knew that Iraq wasn't really a country, but a collection of rival tribes held together by a violent dictator.  To this day, no one seems to have a plan. The administration is talking about a South Korea-type long-term engagement, which completely ignores the differences between the two regions, and liberal and conservative comments have degraded to name calling and fear mongering. (Grade: F)

The Ongoing War on Terror:  There should be no question any longer that we've created more terrorism with the Iraq war and have given al Qaida a new lease on life.  Internally, we're misspending money with abandon, sending millions to risky cities such as Omaha, Little Rock, and Poughkeepsie while chemical, nuclear, and manufacturing plants, railroads, our electrical system, our computer networks, to name but a few, all remain vulnerable. 

The balance of security and freedom is a difficult one in times such as this, but the failure of the Bush administration is that it rejects open debate about such issues, issuing fatwahs that, in effect, say, "here it is.  Love it or leave it."  The treatment of prisoners, the use of torture, the expanded eavesdropping on Americans' communications (one element of which even former Attorney General John Ashcroft, from his hospital bed, rejected), the Kafkaesque ability of various federal agencies to arrest and detain at will in violation of the Bill of Rights and especially habeas corpus…all these are legitimate subjects for debate.  It's not only the actions of the administration that cause concern, it's the living in the bubble and being closed to any disagreement that's most disconcerting. 

However, are we safer?  Why haven't there been more attacks on American soil?  Are we so wired and under surveillance that we've given up too much freedom?  (Grade:  C?)   

America's Image Abroad:  The Bush administration, until recently, made it clear that it didn't give a damn about what others thought.  We were the sole superpower, and we didn't need allies, just toadies.  The 2006 America Against the World, by Andrew Kohut and Bruce Stokes, supported by mountains of research by Pew Research Center, cited not only attitudes towards the U.S. government declining dramatically across the world, but also attitudes about the American people, although not as great.  For the first time, our very culture is being seen by many as toxic.

For instance: Naming Karen Hughes our ambassador abroad to fix relations after the equally ham-handed New York advertising exec demonstrates how far removed Bush is from the real world and  communication theory.  On the other hand, probably too late, Secretary of State Rice is at least beginning to open discussions with Iran and Syria, which is a step in the right direction. 

At this point, there's probably nothing Bush can do about our image abroad.  It will require a new administration, but we need to take a hard look at why Americans and American culture are creating greater concern.  (Grade: F)

Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Russia:  At least and at last, we're working with our allies to do something – anything – about these four countries, but, again, the question must be asked if it's too little, too late.  Especially with Russia, the planned anti-missile sites on that country's borders are difficult to understand.  Who believes they're going to defend us against missiles from Iran and North Korea?  Iran doesn't have missiles that'll even reach Israel – yet, and it'll be years before they're a threat to the U.S.  And North Korea would probably take the shorter route across the Pacific even if they had working missiles.

Yes, we've asked the Russians to join the program, but why have they said no?  And why is the anti-American rhetoric in Russia heating up to Cold War temperatures?  I must confess, I don't know enough about the situation, but Bush's recent efforts to calm tensions don't seem to be helping. 

The biggest problem with the Bush administration, both home and abroad, has been its arrogant refusal to engage people before taking action, as if they just expect folks to fall in line after the fact.  (Grade:  D)

There are many areas I'm leaving out, such as Latin America, Israel & the Arabs, China, and others.  It's more a matter of time than lack of opinion or interest. 

The biggest flaw in this exercise is the humbling reality that they really do know more than the average American or even the well-read and well-educated American.  However, given the conflicting messages, poor communications, and perceived lack of honesty, one wonders what or whom to believe.

Next up in the series:  The Bush administration's domestic story.

Powered by

About Mark Schannon

Retired crisis & risk manager/communications expert; extensive public relations experience in most areas over 30 years. Still available for extraordinary opportunities of mind-numbing complexity. Life-long liberal agnostic...or is that agnostic liberal.
  • MBD

    “Raise the issue of using the atom bomb in Japan and sit back and wait for the furious barrage of opinions. Did Lincoln have homosexual relations with that man? Was Livia (the wife of Caesar Augustus) really the mad poisoner portrayed in I Claudius?”

    Want to stop it?

    Pass laws prohibiting the discussion of controvsies and opinions as some countries do.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Venezuela!

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “And he pulled some of the best troops out of Afghanistan (premature ejectus?)”

    Actually, I think it was combatus interruptus.

    Gotta go back and finish reading the article now – couldn’t wait.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “Want to stop it?”

    Boy, did you miss his point!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    You’re embarrassed…and you should be.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Mark,

    “There are many areas I’m leaving out, minor areas such as Latin America, Israel & the Arabs, China, and others. It’s more a matter of time than lack of opinion or interest.”

    Your sarcasm hit me with a sledge hammer, you old coot. And frankly, I’m glad you left Israel out of all this mess. But China? The Chinese are the pricks sitting on nearly a trillion dollars of American debt!! They can send your economy into a tailspin faster than you could say “Chinese boxing.”

    I suggest that if you want to deal with the “domestic” issues of the Bush regime, start with China. They are the linchpin in your woeful economic status – and then talk about America’s dependence on the ibn Saud family and all its nasty friends and relations.

    Let’s try and simplify all this for you and give you a slightly different slant on it all. The “war on terror” is really a resources war – which elites control what, and where. And modern war is total war; foreign policy is not really separable from internal policy. But underneath that, you see America being brought down and to ruin. The “Prozac dispenser-in-chief,” your senior colleague, will disagree violently with that assessment, but that is what freedom is all about, isn’t it? Enjoy it while it lasts…

    And get the hell out of America!!

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    MBD, Clavos is right. Either you missed my point, or far less likely, I wasn’t clear LOL. One can’t avoid controversy, but one can at least approach it with the recognition that everyone filters through their own biases–hence the need for more listening and civility.

    Clavos, of course you’re right about combatus interruptus. What was I thinking.

    Dave, I thought of Venezuela, of course, but frankly couldn’t think of much to say about it in terms of the Busher. Their Prez, Loopy Lopez, was/is going to dance around the Mayberry Pole with or without U.S. help. The administration’s neglect of Latin America in general has been more than unfortunate, but the article was already too long.

    Ah, Ruvy, I wasn’t being sarcastic, honest. I just ran out of space and time. Dealing with the Busher’s missteps in the rest of the Middle East is an article in and of itself.

    And I don’t see things quite as bleakly as you do, although I risk my curmudgeon status saying that. The U.S. debt issue vis a vis China is more complicated than you describe. They also need to fill us with Chinese goods, and their dollar holdings help them prop up their currency. Causing a dollar crash would hurt them as much as us…assuming of course they’re even semi-rational about it.

    And as for getting out of America (you sound like a 60s right-winger “America, Love It Or Leave It”, which I know you ain’t), alas, even though we fantasize about living overseas… somewhere…it won’t happen while my mom’s still alive, and she’s 86 going on 56. Plus, my bride is terrified of the violence in the Middle East, so Israel is out for the moment anyway.

    But, take heart in the great truth,

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Nancy

    I wouldn’t give BushCo even as much as a C, let alone an A, for anything, & especially not 9-11. His finest hour? Yeah, considering it’s entirely possible he (or at least Cheney) knew it was coming & let it happen so as to create enough furor among the cowards of congress so they’d give him carte blanche to do whatever he (or rather, Cheney) saw fit as far as starting a war for oil control for his puppetmasters, the Big Oil corporations. In that, you are absolutely spot-on: this is a war for control of resources by the rich & powerful

    Bush – but expecially Cheney – deserve a lot more than a letter grade: they deserve a swift trial & then public execution for high treason on an unprecedented scale.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Mark,

    I don’t think Ruvy meant his admonition to leave in the spirit of “love it or leave it;” I think it was more a warning to escape while you can.

    With which I don’t agree, BTW.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Clavos, jeeze, you made the same mistake as MBD…read the entire comment.

    you sound like a 60s right-winger “America, Love It Or Leave It”, which I know you ain’t

    I’m losing the ability to communicate. Too much booze, too few fast women.

    Nancy, I find it hard to believe Busher & Co. knew anything about 9/ll ahead of time. I may not think highly of them, but I can’t buy that without massive proof. And, I was trying to be “fair” within the context of my own biases. What the hell, give ‘em all Fs.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Mark,

    Just re-read. My bad. Senior moment?

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Clavos, depends on two things: how senior are you? and how much Jameson have you imbibed in your life?

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Nancy

    BTW, Mark, I failed to mention it (my bad – many apologies) but IMO this is a good, impartial article, about as impartial as anyone is going to be able to get about an inflammatory subject like W. Bush & Co.

    Contrary to your opinion, I think Part 1 is too short. In fact, I think you should break it up into smaller ‘bites’ & focus on each aspect you mentioned above specifically as a Part on its own. You write well & I enjoy it even if I don’t always agree.

  • Baronius

    Mark, there’s a difference between really, really believing something and stating that a question is settled. You twice assert that there shouldn’t be any question: that Bush manipulated intelligence, and that our involvement in Iraq has increased terrorism. We can debate the second point based on the evidence. We can’t debate the first point on evidence, because there’s no evidence to support your assertion. Either way, the one thing you can’t say is that the questions are closed in your favor.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Nancy, bless yer heart, lass. One could write books on every aspect of this–and no doubt people will. I was more interested in seeing if I could put aside my own anger and be as dispassionate as possible.

    Baronius, alas, points out that I stumbled twice in that effort. You’re absolutely right about saying things such as “there’s no question,” since my initial point is that there are always questions–it’s the very nature of human interactions. I do think both issues have enough evidence to be open to debate–I shouldn’t have closed the door on it however. So…where were you when I was writing this, LOL. Good catch.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • Zedd

    Its just so exhausting thinking about everything that is wrong with GW.

    However we have to give it up to him for the comic relief. Today he said “Vladimir!!…ehhh I call him Vladamir” Ooookay… OMG priceless! Sponge Bob couldn’t deliver that line any better. So on comic relief (A++) Only its sort of icky and squirm inducing.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Ah Zedd, excellent. I’ll use that in Part II and give you full credit. Thanks.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    President Bush: Stubborn Texan moron who did a lot right, and a lot wrong. Not nearly as personally corrupt as BJ Clinton, but engaged in far too much hiring of incompetent cronies. He’s a big-government war-monger…so a lot like LBJ, but without all the positive propaganda from lefty historians and the mainstream media.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Give it time, RJ. We’ve been able to mostly rehabilitate Nixon. In 30 years Bush might seem like a genius.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave

    You forget that he speaks like an imbecile. Nixon was intelligent. He was never accused of not being so.

    What I predict is that in 30 years we will see Regan to be shallow. Once we get over our high and understand how manipulated we were, we will see his message to be meaningless.

    However that would mean that we would have to get smarter too. Well lets say 100 yrs.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    He doesn’t speak like an imbecile, he speaks in a colloquial manner. That you see it as imbecilic suggests a certain bigotry on your part. To folks down here in Texas he sounds just fine. Hell, we’ve got prominent and well regarded intellectuals who sound as bad as Bush.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave

    I sound like a Texan a lot of the time dad-gum-it!!! Bush’s speech pattern does not represent Texas or folksiness. He is simply dumb. Perhaps because you are new to the state you cant tell the difference… too bad… sigh.

    Besides his inflexion is all wrong. He tries too hard and off course just says things in a dumb way. LBJ represented a Texas way of speaking and carrying one’s self. Bush is a cartoon. Like he’s spoofing Ross Perot, one of the Cartwrights and Forrest Gump accept not so bright.

    He speaks in the colloquial manner of an 11yr old Dave. I know Texans well. That is an insult.

  • Zedd

    Dave

    Who sounds as bad as Bush????????

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Check out some of our great storytellers. They’ve got that same halting, kind of meandering delivery which Bush affects. Not sure if you can get recordings of John Henry Faulk or J. Frank Dobie on the net, but there’s always Will Rogers.

    Dave

  • MCH

    So Nalle – how do you “put food on your family”…??

  • MCH

    Zedd;
    Don’t ever “misunderestimate” Nalle’s delusional double-speak…

  • MCH

    “Perhaps because you are new to the state you cant tell the difference…”
    – Zedd

    And living in a fortified compound may have something to do with it, also, Zedd.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “LBJ represented a Texas way of speaking and carrying one’s self.”

    How sad for Texas that an ignorant, provincial yokel is what you consider to be representative of Texans.

  • MCH

    “How sad for Texas that an ignorant, provincial yokel is what you consider to be representative of Texans.”
    – Clavvy

    But a Deserter’s OK…?

  • Alec

    Mark – Great post. It reminded me how much I am annoyed that this kind of analysis does not inform any of the Republican presidential debates, where the candidates are allowed to drone on about how they are acolytes of Ronald Reagan, as though Dubya and his baleful administration does not really exist. The Democrats are not much better, and are missing a great opportunity to point out the degree to which Dubya has dissed the Constitution and our best values.

    Dave – RE: Venezuela!

    You might better have written, Mexico! The Bush administration has really not had much to do with Venezuela or leftist poster-child Hugo Chavez; however Bush seems to be strangely cozy with Mexican oligarchs and seems to actually believe that capitulating to the Mexican government is somehow good for the US.

    RE: The Chinese are the pricks sitting on nearly a trillion dollars of American debt!! They can send your economy into a tailspin faster than you could say “Chinese boxing.”

    This is really a non-issue. During the 70s, there was a lot of mad hysteria over how Saudi Arabia was about to dominate America through their amassing of billions of petro-dollars, and later how the Japanese were going to dominate America by means of their investments in US real estate. Never happened, and a lot of the Japanese investments turned out to be sucker bets.

    RE: He doesn’t speak like an imbecile, he speaks in a colloquial manner. That you see it as imbecilic suggests a certain bigotry on your part. To folks down here in Texas he sounds just fine. Hell, we’ve got prominent and well regarded intellectuals who sound as bad as Bush.

    I’m from Texas. Bush sounds like an imbecile to me. And of course, he is not really a Texan, but a transplant and a cowboy wannabe.

    However, I will give him this. He mangles the language, but he is not a fool. He is stubborn and not a deep thinker, but all the Texans I know comment that Bush confuses strength with mere determination.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Another non sequitur, emmy. Still haven’t figured those out, huh?

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    Will Rogers does not sound like Bush. He doesn’t cackle and he certainly does not have the speech pattern of a child. If Sponge Bob had an almost Texas accent, he would come closest to sounding like Bush.

    What is most sad though is that you cant tell that he is dumb. It’s not the accent Dave, its the content, and the manner. Do you realise that his inferior intellect was apparent in the first few weeks of his administration. It was cringe worthy and full of comic relief. People all over the country were crying tears laughing at his foibles. Don’t forget, I grew up in Texas. It wasn’t the accent. He sounds like a boy giving his Christmas speech at church.

  • Dr Dreadful

    “Grading the Bush Administration”:

    Hmm.

    If Young George has anything left between his ears, he’ll take the last eight years Credit/No Credit…

  • sr

    #25MCH. So you want to know how Nalle put’s food on is family. My best guess is he does what I do. You just dump the mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy and pork chops over their heads. Desert comes later I would think. Maybe you should have dinner at his house and go home looking like you have been in a food fight.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Well, I’ll say this: Bush isn’t actually stupid. I mean, the man has a couple of degrees from two Ivy League schools, and apparently got a solid score on the SAT, and was able to figure out how to fly a jet plane. So he’s not actually dumb.

    But he is stubborn (which can be both a good and a bad thing), and he is also a horrible extemporaneous speaker, and he also seems to have a somewhat limited vocabulary. And he doesn’t appear to be very intellectually curious. And has a limited vocabulary when the words he’s speaking aren’t appearing right in front of him.

    That doesn’t mean he’s a bad man, or even a bad President (though I think he’s pretty damn mediocre at this point). But the guy just simply gives off the dumb-ass vibe, with his demeanor and mangled syntax and all the rest.

    The GOP is going to nominate a competent speaker this time around. Rudy, McCain, Romney, Fred Thompson, and Newt Gingrich are all superb and confident public speakers. So at least that won’t be a problem this election cycle.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    And did I mention his apparently limited vocabulary? :-/

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Well, I’ll say this: Bush isn’t actually stupid. I mean, the man has a couple of degrees from two Ivy League schools, and apparently got a solid score on the SAT, and was able to figure out how to fly a jet plane. So he’s not actually dumb.”

    Degrees do not indicate you are smart, RJ, even from the fanciest ass universities. They indicate that you are stubborn enough to finish, by hook or by crook, a predefined course of study.

    Take my ex-wife for example. She is not a “stupid” woman by any means. She has a degree in history and a masters in social work. A social work degree is really a license to practice a trade (though the social workers on this list may get all hot under the collar denying it), just as a law degree is a license to practice a trade (though the lawyers here may get all hot under the collar having their profession raised as high as a trade).

    My ex has been a workman-like social worker in the Twin Cities area for the last 30 years or so. But her history degree might as well have been made out of toilet paper, for all it is worth. Why? She has a memory like a sieve. Nothing stays. It all just flows right through her head and gets forgotten.

    I, with no degree and barely any coursework in history, knew more than she, even before I earned my BA in Political Science/Public Administration. Am I so smart? Hell no!! But I’ve got a damned good memory. And in history, remembering what happened, or knowing where to find it quickly, is key.

    It’s what you do with your life that counts. That doesn’t say much for George W. Bush, and unfortunately, it might not say that much for me. For me, at least, the jury is still out.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    I find myself in full agreement with RJ. Bush makes me cringe with embarrassment almost every time he speaks. He obviously must have some ability but is one of the worst public speakers of all time.

  • Zedd

    RJ

    Well, I’ll say this: Bush isn’t actually stupid. I mean, the man has a couple of degrees from two Ivy League schools, and apparently got a solid score on the SAT, and was able to figure out how to fly a jet plane. So he’s not actually dumb..

    No one said he was retarded. Driving a plane is just memorizing what buttons to touch, when. What prevents most people from doing so is not intellect, its money and time. You do realise that all of the slow kids in your class when you were growing up are on the streets everyday driving cars… Connections get you into Ivy Leagues if you are not exceptional. One is taught how to do well enough on an SAT. It’s not a fair assessment of intellectual qualification.

    and he is also a horrible extemporaneous speaker, and he also seems to have a somewhat limited vocabulary. And he doesn’t appear to be very intellectually curious. And has a limited vocabulary when the words he’s speaking aren’t appearing right in front of him.

    But the guy just simply gives off the dumb-ass vibe, with his demeanor and mangled syntax and all the rest

    What is interesting is that you basically say that he is an idiot but preface that by saying that he really isn’t. (?) If we want to grow and learn from our past we need to call it what it is and never do it again. Instead of muddying everything up where nothing is definitive. Doing so will render us another Bush two elections from now.

  • Zedd

    I vote for cloning MCH.

  • MCH

    “Well, I’ll say this: Bush isn’t actually stupid. I mean, the man has a couple of degrees from two Ivy League schools, and apparently got a solid score on the SAT, and was able to figure out how to fly a jet plane. So he’s not actually dumb.”
    – RJ Elliott

    Well, he was smart (and connected) enough to jump ahead of the waiting list of 500 men in order to get into the Texas National Guards in 1968 and avoid the draft;

    And he was smart (and connected) enough to be awarded the rank of luietenant after boot camp, without attending Officer Candidate’s School;

    And he was smart (and connected) enough to desert his last two years of Guard duty and still receive an honorable discharge.

    But he actually was kinda dumb during the 2000 GOP primary, when he told an easily refutable lie regarding his non-service in 1972, stating, “The reason I wasn’t flying at Dannelly AFB is because they didn’t have the same kind of planes there.”

    The record clearly shows that he was in fact permanently grounded (for intentionally missing a mandatory physical) several months BEFORE his orders to Dannelly.

  • MCH

    “The GOP is going to nominate a competent speaker this time around. Rudy, McCain, Romney, Fred Thompson, and Newt Gingrich are all superb and confident public speakers. So at least that won’t be a problem this election cycle.”
    – RJ Elliott

    Of those mentioned, I’d vote for the only one who didn’t dodge the draft…McCain!! And hopefully Karl Rove (another chickenhawk) wouldn’t be able to slime John’s patriotism this time around…

  • MCH

    “…and was able to figure out how to fly a jet plane…”
    – RJ Elliott

    Uh-huh…and then he wasted the one million dollars on his training by permanently grounding himself…

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I sound like a Texan a lot of the time dad-gum-it!!! Bush’s speech pattern does not represent Texas or folksiness. He is simply dumb. Perhaps because you are new to the state you cant tell the difference… too bad… sigh.

    I’ve lived here for 25 years. That’s not exactly new to the state. His accent is less pronounced than many around here affect, but his style is clearly a put on, based on what he presumably observed at some point in his life. I have a friend who has a college degree and is pretty smart, and grew up in Texas, who sometimes speaks a lot like Bush, and even in his case it’s an affectation.

    Besides his inflexion is all wrong. He tries too hard and off course just says things in a dumb way. LBJ represented a Texas way of speaking and carrying one’s self.

    LBJ sounded pretty awful when he wasn’t making a fully scripted speech, plus he talked to reporters while he was in the bathroom and they were in the hall outside. He’s not much of a positive example.

    Who sounds as bad as Bush????????

    Go listen to the guys on the ‘Redneck Comedy Hour’. It’s the same thing. Affected southern acents on guys like Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Ingvall who have advanced degrees and are smart as a tack.

    So Nalle – how do you “put food on your family”…??

    With a pitchfork?

    And MCH, if this is the kind of thing you bring up to criticize Bush then you’ve already lost the war to discredit him. Everyone occasionally misspeaks.

    Will Rogers does not sound like Bush.

    True, he sounds like nothing, since he’s dead. However, he did affect an ignorant, folksy style, just like Bush. Hell, just like Walter Brennan (Magna Cum Laud from Princeton).

    He doesn’t cackle and he certainly does not have the speech pattern of a child. If Sponge Bob had an almost Texas accent, he would come closest to sounding like Bush.

    Zedd, SpongeBob is NOT a real person (please don’t cry). He’s played by an actor named Tom Kenny who’s from New York. The accent and childlike speaking style are not real, they’re a performance. Bush does the same thing.

    What is most sad though is that you cant tell that he is dumb.

    Zedd, I’m used to assuming that everyone is fairly dumb, and occasionally being pleasantly surprised. I’ve also learned that having money doesn’t make you smart, and having a funny accent doesn’t make you dumb.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    Dave pleaded: “Everyone occasionally misspeaks.”

    Occasionally?!?!

    Have you not noticed that there is a thriving industry of page-a-day calendars of Bushisms?

    Sheesh. The guy makes Dan Quayle look like Martin Luther King.

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    I think you are caught up on the accent. Not an issue in my opinion. I love how all of the Southwest and Southern politicians speak. It is enchanting and simply draws you in. Bush does not possess that. The reason that manner of speaking works is because you KNOW that the person is playing down their intelligence. I always make the example of Jedd Clampit (another fictional character). He spoke slowly yet one knew that he had a great deal of wisdom and he was respected. Jeff Foxworthy utilizes the drawl to his advantage. He uses it to disarm his audience but his jokes are clever which makes him appear intelligent. Bush possesses none of that. While he has a sense of humor, its sophomoric and not intelligent. Its more yuck yucks than anything else.

    I personally have an interesting accent which most of the time sounds like standard English, with the long Texas “I” (Im assumed to be a White female on the phone) and a British “thing” when I am expressing indignation (I’ve been told), a sistahness when necessity hits :o) and a Black SA accent that jumps in and surprises me periodically especially with words that end with “er” which end up sounding like “aaaa” out of nowhere.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The human resources director where I work has a very interesting accent. She is originally from Zimbabwe and I believe is actually a Bantu princess. She has a very careful and refined southern African way of speaking, such that you would never know she’d been in the United States for many, many years. She sounds more English than American. Sometimes, if I close my eyes, I can almost think that I’m listening to the Queen. Maybe it’s the royalty thing!

  • STM

    I’ve got a very interesting accent, too, I’m told, especially to Americans who love saying: “Excuse me?” The truth is, the onus shouldn’t be on Australians to explain ourselves. It’s you guys who talk funny. Yes, the whole bloody lot of you … and you all need to come to Oz and learn how to speak the Queen’s English.

    Crash courses are available in every public bar, from Bondi to the Back ‘o’ Bourke and beyond. Crash being the operative word …

    There is an added course for Poms … you only pass when you learn to drink a cold beer with a hot pie, rather than the vice-versa.

    I also have a number of correctional maps of the world for sale, which show Australia and New Zealand at the top. Under this redrawing of north and south, up and down, which are, after all, just human constructs, Canada is no longer America’s hat … interestingly, it becomes Americas undies, and Mexico becomes the hat.

    For a sneak peek of what you’re missing, simply get a globe and turn it upside down … hours of fun.

  • STM

    And on DD’s Bantu Princess story …

    The three great lies told by New Zealanders:

    1) “My grandmother was a Maori Princess.”

    2) “I was an All-Black triallist.”

    3) “Honest, officer, I was only talking to that sheep.”

  • Dr Dreadful

    Dear Aunt Stan,

    My experience has been that, on hearing my accent, Americans quite often ask, “Are you from Australia?”

    What should I tell them?

    Ethnically Confused in California

  • STM

    Just say yes, Doc. At least they’ll think highly of you :)

  • Zedd

    I wonder how much of a princess the Bantu girl is. Were it so, she would have said she is Ndebele and a member of royalty (Not a Bantu princess). Sounds a bit Hollywood. However my best friend is a Zim and has a British/SA accent. Its lovely. Very graceful.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I don’t think she goes around trumpeting it, Zedd. As I recall, she was “outed” by her co-workers! I’m not sure exactly what her status is: I’m sure the system of royalty in southern Africa works a lot differently than the way we do things in Europe.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “No one said he was retarded. Driving a plane is just memorizing what buttons to touch, when. What prevents most people from doing so is not intellect, its money and time. You do realise that all of the slow kids in your class when you were growing up are on the streets everyday driving cars… Connections get you into Ivy Leagues if you are not exceptional. One is taught how to do well enough on an SAT. It’s not a fair assessment of intellectual qualification.”

    Zedd:

    If two college degrees from elite universities, an impressive SAT score, and the ability to fly a fighter jet are not valid, objective criteria for judging someone’s intelligence, then what is? Mastery at Jenga?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Go listen to the guys on the ‘Redneck Comedy Hour’. It’s the same thing. Affected southern accents on guys like Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Ingvall who have advanced degrees and are smart as a tack.”

    Yes, I totally agree with this. Jeff Foxworthy is the butt of a lot of jokes (which is somewhat ironic considering the man is a comedian), but he is absolutely brilliant.

    I suppose the same could be said for just about all successful stand-up comedians. It is, after all, a job requirement that they be quick on their feet and have good a memory. Sounds like solid evidence in favor of high intelligence to me.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    The three great lies told by New Zealanders:

    1) “My grandmother was a Maori Princess.”

    2) “I was an All-Black triallist.”

    3) “Honest, officer, I was only talking to that sheep.”

    ROTFL!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Not nearly as personally corrupt as BJ Clinton

    Not nearly as competent either, but hey! Whatever.

  • Zedd

    RJ

    If two college degrees from elite universities, an impressive SAT score, and the ability to fly a fighter jet are not valid, objective criteria for judging someone’s intelligence, then what is? Mastery at Jenga?

    Behaving intelligently.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Oh, and Dave:

    We’ve been able to mostly rehabilitate Nixon.

    You can’t be serious.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Michael, are you serious that you missed the orgy of Nixon-revisionism which went on throughout the 90s and early 200s?

    Dave

  • STM

    Yeah, Nallie’s right. From where I sit, on the other side of the Pacific, Nixon has been rehabilitated. It started with Gerald Ford – indeed, Ford had as one of his missions a plan to heal America after the Nixon era, thus there was no prosecution.

    The reason it’s of interest here, of course, is that it comes out of the same Vietnam-era politics that so shaped our own country.

    No doubt, though, from an international perspectice, that Nixon isn’t the boget-man he could’ve been.

  • Zedd

    RJ

    Bush scored only 25% on the National Guard pilots aptitude test and despite there being a national waiting list of over 100,000 he somehow got in.

    Bush’s brother Neil who it was doubted by his high school counselor that he would even graduate high school because of his learning disability, went to Tulane and ended up with a graduate degree at Tulane.

    I state this to highlight the privilege of being born well connected and ultra rich. You don’t need to be intelligent to attain an opening to what makes you appear competent and intelligent.

  • MCH

    “Not nearly as personally corrupt as BJ Clinton”

    So deserting, and then lying about deserting is not personally corrupt?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    @#62:

    You have reputable sources (with links) to back up those two allegations, Zedd?

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    You are on the web its not hard to Google. Not dissertation rated info. Check me.

  • bliffle

    Clinton wasn’t corrupt, just licentious. Only puritans confuse the two.

  • STM

    I don’t think Bush is dumb in the traditional sense. His problem is that he is hopeless and nervous in front of a camera or a public gathering (perfect for a Prez, eh?) and doesn’t have a lot of commonsense.

    But dumb, he ain’t. Seriously, you don’t get to be the President of the US by being a complete idiot. Running a campaign and rustling up the right numbers is the hardest part of it, and it takes some political talent to read the issues. He did. He’s had, however, some really bad advice in the meantime by people who’ve had their own agendas.

    In fact, I reckon he’s as cunning as a shithouse rat (with a gold tooth).

  • Zedd

    STM

    The President of America has to be well above average. He is no where near that. Not having common sense is a form of idiocy. It certainly isn’t a qualifier for the presidency.

    He himself said that he’s always been an average student. Combine that with not having common sense and you have…………

    If you look at his history, he has had a pattern of getting doors knocked down for him. Even his presidencies were stolen for him.

    Its hard to determine if he is the mastermind but from the long ranging pattern, it seems as though he has benefited from a puppet master for quite some time.

    The smarter brother did not go to an Ivy League school yet manged to get top academic distinction immediately. He has been consistently good and successful without the enormous suspicion around all of his endeavors.

    It seems as though the older son was the chosen one, no matter what.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “You are on the web its not hard to Google. Not dissertation rated info. Check me.”

    Just what I figured; you can’t…

  • Zedd

    Clavos

    Wrong poster… I wont get involved in minutia with you. If you want to discuss something of substance, lets. I will engage in light affairs as well, but minutia? Sorry.

    Hey George Washington was the first President of the United States….. Clavos: “Do you have a source for that?” Foolishness!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    “minutia” Zedd? You posted those two statements, not me.

    In fact they are the entire gist of your comment #62, and they’re obviously untrue as well, since you’re unable to prove them.

    I don’t have to prove them Zedd, I didn’t make the statements.

    If you who posted them consider them “minutia,” then obviously they are, and we can all ignore them as inconsequential.

    Which, of course, begs the question: why post them in the first place, if they’re meaningless and unprovable?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Bush’s brother Neil who it was doubted by his high school counselor that he would even graduate high school because of his learning disability, went to Tulane and ended up with a graduate degree at Tulane.

    That’s probably the same idiotic high-school counselor who told me I wouldn’t be able to graduate high-school in 4 years because of the credits I lost in the transition from a really bad school in Russia to St. Albans, and then sat there looking like a human raddish at my graduation (he had a very fair complexion and a big, fat head). I took two extra courses a semester in Junior and Senior year and managed to graduate with a 3.7 for those two years.

    He was equally insensitve and incompetent when dealing with other students with learning disabilities and other issues, plus he was an arbitrary disciplinarian and generally seemed to have it in for students. There’s a reason why our nickname for him was ‘Bummer’.

    And just for the record, a placement at Tulane is not something that St. Albans generally brags about.

    Dave

  • Dr Dreadful

    STM wrote: from an international perspective [ … ] Nixon isn’t the bogey-man he could’ve been.

    Course not. In international affairs, Nixon was stellar. He not only managed to extricate America from Vietnam, but also managed to make a (sort of) friend out of communist China – a feat so gobsmacking that someone wrote an opera about it.

    Just a shame that at home, he was over-fond of spying on and burgling people.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Michael, are you serious that you missed the orgy of Nixon-revisionism which went on throughout the 90s and early 200s?

    The Nixon rehabilitation that I saw lasted for about six weeks after his death, after which time everybody slowly remembered his disgrace. Mainstream historians still list him in the ballpark of 5th worst president in U.S. History (although it is up from 3rd worst in the late ’80s-early ’90s, if you want to count that as rehabilitation).

    I do give him credit for his diplomatic efforts in China and the USSR, surely. But the “revisionism” you speak of is something I only ever see happening on the fringe, by people who act as though Watergate was some kind of anomaly–a single act of political crime taken out of the context of the rest of his presidency–and ignore the fact that lawbreaking and abuse of power was the routine in the Nixon White House, not the exception.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Actually, Michael. The latest Siena poll has Nixon ranked 26th and he’s ranked as high as 23rd in previous years.

    Dave

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    The last one I saw was a WSJ, which ranked him at #38.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    The Nixon rehabilitation that I saw lasted for about six weeks after his death, after which time everybody slowly remembered his disgrace. Mainstream historians still list him in the ballpark of 5th worst president in U.S. History (although it is up from 3rd worst in the late ’80s-early ’90s, if you want to count that as rehabilitation).

    Not quite:

    Presidents by average scholar rank

    Nixon – 32 (of 43)

    Surveys of scholars

    Nixon – 34, 34, 28, 25, 23, 32, 25, 33, 26, and 32. All these rankings come post-Reagan’s election, so there were at least 39 Presidents with completed terms to compare him to. And not a single historian placed Nixon in the bottom five.

    C-SPAN viewer survey

    Nixon – 20

    ABC poll

    Nixon – 12

    Washington College poll

    Nixon – 13

    Gallup poll

    Nixon – 16

    Now, I personally would place Nixon somewhere in the low-30s. I don’t believe he was a very good President, although he was masterful at getting elected and re-elected in landslides, and was clearly an intelligent man.

    But, at any rate, your claim has now been proven bogus.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Sorry I’ve been AWOL from what I started, but I’ve got this weird virus, like Mono, and am in the middle of a “bad” period…where I can barely think, let alone write.

    Interesting & unusually respectful, for the most part, discourse. Since this article was written, there’s ton’s more that could be added…but, as history has shown us, we won’t know the truth ever, or at least for many, many years…except that Bush is a dickhead (sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

    I haven’t forgotten Part II…just waiting for brain to start firing again.

    Still…

    In Jameson Veritas

  • STM

    DD wrote: “Just a shame that at home, he was over-fond of spying on and burgling people.”

    No different to 90 per cent of modern-era US administrations. His problem was that he got caught. He should be remembered more for getting the (chinese) reds out from under the bed. He is in this country, and he’s also remembered for ending the Vietnam war, which was of huge significance in Australia.

  • MCH

    “Sorry I’ve been AWOL from what I started…”

    Mark, now if ol’ GW could only follow your example…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Mark absolves himself: I’ve got this weird virus, like Mono, and am in the middle of a “bad” period…

    I’m glad you put the quotes around the word bad. With a name like Mark, that statement could have confused a few people… :-)