Friday, November 23, 2007

The underwhelming president

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Of all the adjectives that could be used to describe George W. Bush, I'm just not sure underwhelming quite captures the essence of either the man or his presidency. It's sort of like calling the New England Patriots' high-octane offence "pretty good" -- in other words, a gross understatement.

At a speech in Chattanooga earlier this week, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the Republican who defeated Harold Ford last November, remarked, to much discomfort in the room, that he "was very underwhelmed with what discussions took place at the White House" on Iraq. In response to a question, he offered this ambiguous clarification:

Let me say this. George Bush is a very compassionate person. He's a very good person. And a lot of people don't see that in him, and there's many people in this room who might disagree with that... I just felt a little bit underwhelmed by our discussions, the complexity of them, the depth of them. And yet in spite of that, I do believe that the most recent course of action we've pursued is a good one.


I'm just telling you that at that moment in time I felt very underwhelmed, and I'm just being honest. I've said that to them, and to him, and to others. I kind of in a way wish I hadn't said it today.

Sometimes politicians say the darnedest things, don't they? Here's this senator, opening up, speaking the truth, however euphemistically, and then catching himself and trying to gloss over it with some partisan happy talk.

Let's give Corker the benefit of the doubt -- which I know we shouldn't, but still. Maybe Bush is, in Corker's view, a good and compassionate person. He may in truth be a jackasshole (just made that up) hiding behind a mask concocted by savvy political handlers, but maybe he's been nice to the freshman Corker, a man likely in awe of presidential authority. Even granting this, Corker nonetheless repeated himself when given the chance -- he was not just underwhelmed, he was very underwhelmed. Very underwhelmed not by Bush's goodness or compassions -- which, again, are not at issue here -- but by his depth, by his knowledge and understanding of what is obviously a complex issue.

No wonder Corker added the gloss. He admitted to telling the truth but then immediately stated he wished he hadn't told the truth at all. In other words, he wished he'd remained silent. The truth his, the president isn't very bright... D'oh!

Some of Bush's supporters no doubt think he's genuinely intelligent, so delusional are they, so attached to the bubble. Others evidently know that he isn't but keep up the charade nonetheless -- the image, the spin, the lie.

Corker, for his part, has placed himself in the latter group.

There are exceptions -- Chuck Hagel, for example -- but, for most Republicans, honestly just doesn't come into it when talking about Bush.

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  • Why do elected Republican presidents always turn out to be unmotivated idiots?

    Go all the way back to Hoover, and show me one who wasn't.

    (Nixon being the sole exception, and only in the "unmotivated" area...he was a very motivated idiot)

    By Blogger Carl, at 8:38 AM  

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