Monday, February 25, 2008


I have this "Chimpomatic" thing on my home page; it randomly displays a Bushism whenever the page is loaded. It's there not because I like making fun of Bush -- never that -- but because it actually gives insight, I think, into the man himself:

You can take the words and actions of almost any public figure you want out of context and make him or her look like an idiot, and in fact, that's exactly what's happening with lots of the "Bushisms." What interests me about them, though, is that I think they reveal something about the man himself. Cull the ones that happen when he's searching for the right words and picks the wrong words instead, from the ones where he simply screws up, and the former sound like they come from an actor who's forgotten the script, and can't continue because he doesn't really feel the part. Here's an example, taken (almost) at random:

"I think it's important for those of us in a position of responsibility to be firm in sharing our experiences, to understand that the babies out of wedlock is a very difficult chore for mom and baby alike. ... I believe we ought to say there is a different alternative than the culture that is proposed by people like Miss Wolf in society. ... And, you know, hopefully, condoms will work, but it hasn't worked."—Meet the Press, Nov. 21, 1999

No one who actually cared about the issue of teen and accidental pregnancy, or the broader issue of abortion, would talk like this. Even if you slipped up and lost your train of thought, which happens to all of us at times, you would still have thought about the issue enough so that you had a sort of private script to call on -- the right, or at least rightish, words would come out naturally because they, or the sentiments they express, are genuinely your own. With Bush, they aren't really his own sentiments (and keep in mind that abortion is supposed to be an issue that the Christian Bush cares about deeply) , so he ends up blurting out nonsense, with a complete absurdity -- probably a half-remembered bit of preparation ("Remember to say that condoms don't work, George") -- tacked on at the end. I doubt Bush is all that stupid, but he isn't all that bright, either, and he clearly isn't bright enough to overcome a lack of belief in the principles and values of the movement he is supposed to lead. The result is stuff like the Chimp-o-matic, and a country that has lost its way after seven years of political, not just verbal, Bushisms.