Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hail to the Chief

I got in a raucous argument last week at lunch with a co-worker who loves to needle me about how stupid President Bush is. I wish I could get him to read, and understand, the following two posts on Power Line I just read. You don't get to the positions in life that Bush is in if you can't think and speak coherently, if you can't move a crowd. It's just not possible.

Read and enjoy...



Hail to the Chief

I had the opportunity this afternoon to be part of a relatively small group who heard President Bush talk, extemporaneously, for around forty minutes. It was an absolutely riveting experience. It was the best I've ever seen him. Not only that; it may have been the best I've ever seen any politician. If I summarized what he said, it would all sound familiar: the difficult times we live in; the threat from Islamic fascism--the phrase drew an enthusiastic round of applause--the universal yearning for freedom; the need to confront evil now, with all the tools at our disposal, so that our children and grandchildren can live in a better and safer world. As he often does, the President structured his comments loosely around a tour of the Oval Office. But the digressions and interpolations were priceless.

The conventional wisdom is that Bush is not a very good speaker. But up close, he is a great communicator, in a way that, in my opinion, Ronald Reagan was not. He was by turns instructive, persuasive, and funny. His persona is very much that of the big brother. Above all, he was impassioned. I have never seen a politician speak so evidently from the heart, about big issues--freedom, most of all.

I've sometimes worried about how President Bush can withstand the Washington snake pit and deal with a daily barrage of hate from the ignorant left that, in my opinion, dwarfs in both volume and injustice the abuse directed against any prior President. (No one accused Lincoln of planning the attack on Fort Sumter.) Not to worry. He is, of course, miles above his mean-spirited liberal critics. More than that, he clearly derives real joy from the opportunity to serve as President and to participate in the great pageant of American history. And he sees himself as anything but a lame duck, which is why he is stumping for Republican candidates around the country.

It was, in short, the most inspiring forty minutes I've experienced in politics.

Posted by John at 08:25 PM


Hail to the chief, take 2

On the heels of John's eyewitness account of President Bush speaking extemporaneously before a friendly group in Minnesota yesterday afternoon comes Kathleen Parker's column with her own eyewitness account of President Bush at an off-the-record luncheon with a hundred or so supporters. Like John, Parker was impressed:

What I witnessed was revealing. Not only was the man fluent in the English language and intellectually agile, he was knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects raised during a 90-minute Q&A. Someone apparently had been slipping intellectual-curiosity tablets into Bush's cola.

Toward the end, one of the guests said, "Mr. President, I think if Americans could hear you speak the way you have today, you'd have a 95 percent approval rating."

I think that's almost true. Not 95 percent, obviously, but he'd surely have a higher than 30 percent approval rating were he better able to explain what he's thinking. Bush does know; he just can't seem to say.

Why? Parker has a theory:
My theory dovetails with something one of his most acerbic critics, columnist Molly Ivins, once wrote: "George W. Bush sounds like English is his second language.'' That's because it's true. "Washington English'' is a second language for Bush; "Texas English'' is his first.

When he tries to speak Washington English, which is the way Bush thinks presidents are supposed to speak -- over-enunciating and sprinkling his comments with awkward aphorisms -- he fumbles. He forgets what he's saying because the thoughts and words are not his own.

This is also when his annoying sibilance kicks in. The "terroristsssssss," he says when "terrorists" would do. My guess is he over-enunciates to cover his prairie accent, but the effect is, well, sssssstrange.

Tapes of Bush as governor of Texas reveal none of the malapropisms for which he is now infamous. That's because in Texas, he speaks his native tongue -- dropping syllables and esses without fear of criticism or embarrassment. That kind of freedom seems to liberate the man's mind and his mouth.

Anyone who speaks before cameras knows the taste of humility and can relate to the agony of being George Bush.

(I can relate.) During the Reagan administration, occasionally discouraged conservative supporters theorized that Reagan was the victim of misguided advisers and counselled "Let Reagan be Reagan." Taken together, John and Parker make a compelling case to explain the mystery of George Bush: "Let Bush be Bush!"

Posted by Scott at 06:48 AM

Monday, August 21, 2006

The reason why?

As I sit here now, with it already being 5:40am August 22nd in Jerusalem, the day Ahmadinejad set for his "formal" response to the UN's effort to stop Iran's nuclear program, I think I may finally have a reason why Israel agreed to this crazy peace plan...

They anticipated a broader fight, a bigger attack, and they wanted all the troops at home when it started.


August 22nd, YoniTheBlogger

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Rantel Inspired Rant

Actually, I hope it won't come out sounding like a rant. On the drive home tonight I was listening to Al Rantel's show on KABC 790 in LA. He's a clearheaded guy and the conversation was stunning in its quality. Here are the points I wanted to make, if I had the patience to wait to get online:

The UN peace agreement is a complete farce. There are numerous reasons, here are a few:
  • Russia and China are ascendent in their global ambitions. Economically, politically, militarily, they are eager to be the most meaningful players on the world stage. It is in their best interest to keep America as entagled as possible in world affairs elsewher... i.e.: the Middle East. They love the peace agreement, because it ensures that America will not be able to keep their eye off the ball and gives them a tremendous opportunity to climb to the top of the ladder
  • The Arab countries are not interested in peace. They are interested in taking over the world. They don't mind destroying a lot of things and killing a lot of people along the way. They certainly don't mind if the US can't get anything done to prevent them. This peace agreement is an excellent opportunity to keep our hands tied, and they are happy to put French and other troops in between them and the US / Israeli forces.
  • Take that thought to it's extension and the UN forces soon to be deployed in the South Lebanon are the ultimate shield from Israeli and American troops. Once the ~15,000 blue helmeted troops are deployed, and once it is clear they will not make progress disarming Hezballah, the good guys will have no way to strike in Lebanon without spilling blue blood. That will be the end of the international goodwill that is the only possible upside of the current agreement.
It goes beyond that, though. There are some frightening prospects with this current global Islamofacsist enemy:
  • The Nazis were a nationalistic movement (kudos to the Rantel listener and Rantel himself for this idea.) This means they could only expand their mission by inspiring the same nationalistic fervor in all the countries they gained influence over, but it also meant that the alliance could split at any time, if the Czechs or Austrians or Poles decided they were in the fight for their own nation instead of the German nation.
  • The Nazis (again thanks to the conversation for this idea) fundamentally desired to survive the fight. It was possible to wreak enough havoc on their homes to inspire them to put down their arms and live to see tomorrow.
  • The current struggle is based on religious ideology. They do not care if they live. In fact their beliefs tell them death is a great thing, bringing access to the riches of Heaven. This requires us to fight them to the very death. Nothing short of massive casualties to the Islamic forces and their civilian population... massive... will cause them to change their religious philosophy.
  • The Muslims are ascendent across Europe, particularly in England, Spain, France and Germany. All of these countries are having some difficulty recognizing the threat and a significant difficulty rallying the nerve to fight back and stop it. The odds are with the Islamist here. At some point they will cause a major Euorpean government to fall, causing tremendous difficulty in restoring the Western ideals and government in that nation. Worse, they might actually become the government, either thru force of arms or by bringing about hte surrender of the Western lifestyle. Either way, once they have removed the established government they have access to a terribly significant quantity of nuclear material. The Jihadis will have, at their fingertips, either the nuclear material from the many power plants in the former nation in question and/or to the actual nuclear arms themselves. They have numerous choices then. They can launch these in attacks against neighboring European states yet to fall. They can simply blow it up in place and cause a massive disaster in their adopted land. The can portage that material to the US or anywhere else in the globe and foment disaster.
  • The Israeli government is very likely going to lose a no confidence vote very soon. Maybe this will be for the best in the longterm - a new, more belligerent leader willing to fight could rise. But during the time of transition, while the campaign is happening, Hezballah, Iran, and the other players will declare a significant, and accurate, victory. This is the most likely and strategically perfect time for all of the Arab and Islamic forces to strike out very aggressively at a weakened Israel. They may not win, but hte pain suffered by our allies could be significant, before the Jews get their feet beneath them and fight for their very existence on all sides.
The more this develops, the more convinced I am that George Bush is our generation's Chamberlain, willing to fade into the sunset declaring "Peace in our time." Willing to leave the hard fight to others who may follow him. Placing our hopes in Bush & Cheney and Rice and Rumsfeld seems unlikely to bear fruit. We need a new leader, we need a Churchill to appear, and unfortunately we may have to wait until he rises from the fires of our major cities and the lands of our former allies.

I simply cannot uncover, no matter how much I think it thru, what the possible beneifts are of this peace agreement. The iron was hot. The troops were mobilized. The path was clear. And now Israel is sending their troops home to a fearful life instead of engaging the battle on our terms and winning.

There will be peace in our time, but it will be some time from now, and I fear we will suffer great pain before it arrives.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Black Flag

Ever since the start of the conflict in Laebanon the paragon news force of television, CNN, has had ridiculously skewed and blinded coverage. But one thing has been simply appalling.

On Anderson Cooper 360 they have had a graphic in the bottom right corner of a waving flag. The flag fades ever 10 seconds or so between the Lebanese flag is red, white and green, and the Israeli flag, in black and white instead of blue and white. At first I was willing to give CNN the benefit of the doubt... maybe it was just a deep navy and my own TV was making it appear otherwise. But then I thought about, and looked for an actual Israeli flag image, like this one here, and it just can't be explained.

So they have been running this flag every night for 30+ days now. Tonight, during another segment, they ran an American flag in the same graphic. No question, the field with the stars in it was blue, not black.

Do not adjust your tv set, folks.