Hey, everyone! It’s Backwards Day!
I wrote a little piece of satire. Tell me what you think.
Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn’t raise his standards, he will exceed Bush’s total before he is inaugurated.
Hilarious, right? Except wait — I didn’t write it. Blogger and pundit John Hinderaker wrote it, and not as satire. He was being completely serious.
What? Bush never gets sloppy when he speaks publicly? He almost never makes verbal blunders?! I’m living in a cuckoo clock! I thought even Bush’s supporters acknowledged that yeah, he ain’t the most eloquent speaker, heh heh. Part of his folksy charm and all that. Collecting examples of Bush’s mangling of the English language and general gaffes is a cottage industry. (Here’s a fun list of them!)
I understand supporting an unpopular leader until the bitter end, no matter what. But you’re supposed to do it by accentuating the leader’s positive aspects, not by pretending the negative ones — particularly the most famous ones — don’t exist. I mean, when people stick up for Bill Clinton, they focus on America’s strong economy and general prosperity during his administration. They don’t say, “It’s too bad more politicians don’t follow in Clinton’s footsteps by being morally upright family men who never cheat on their wives!”
The specific reason Hinderaker brought it up is a stretch, too. He was responding to an incident last week where president-elect Obama spoke with Polish president Lech Kaczynski on the telephone. Afterward, Kaczynski reported that Obama had told him the missile-defense project would continue. Obama’s people responded that actually, Kaczynski had raised the issue but Obama had made no commitment one way or the other on it. Hinderaker assumes that Obama spoke ambiguously to the Polish leader, not choosing his words carefully, and hence the confusion. There are several other equally plausible explanations, but Hinderaker disregards them. From there he goes to Obama being a poor speaker in general and not nearly as polished and eloquent as Bush. Whisky tango foxtrot?