Saturday, September 04, 2004

Bush’s Speech at RNC Convention

It looks like George Bush is geting a bit of a bounce from the speech at the Republican Convention. If one wasn’t paying actually attention to what Bush was actually doing in office, then it might be easy to believe that he was doing a decent job. It was a well-written speech, and he touched on many topics that Americans care about. Of course, anyone that hasn’t been sleeping under a rock for the past three years should be able to see that there’s a signficant difference between what George W. Bush says, and what he actually delivers.

Mark Evanier, writer of many TV shows and comic books, provided an interesting commentary on the speech at his News-from-Me blog:

I thought George W. Bush's acceptance speech was okay but about 48 months late. At times, he sounded like he was pledging to improve on the failed policies of the guy who's been in office the last four years. There was a lot of talk about being resolute, and I've always thought that determination, taken by itself, is a phony value. Is it admirable to be resolute when you're heading in the wrong direction? Isn't there a definition of "insanity" that has something to do with repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting the outcome to be different? I've been led into a lot of disasters by people who were absolutely certain they knew what they were doing...and when it didn't work out, they somehow became more certain.

The thing I don't get is the Republican reliance on really contrived Talking Points. Dick Cheney charged that Kerry only wants U.S. troops deployed with the consent of the United Nations. The proof of this? A quote from an interview Kerry gave the Harvard Crimson in 1970. (Kerry said the opposite in his acceptance speech a few weeks ago. I guess now they'll accuse him of flip-flopping.) Hey, I'm going to vote for Kerry and I could come up with better stuff to use against him than a 35 year old speech. Zell Miller accused Kerry of being weak on defense because he once wanted to scrap the F-14 and F-16 fighter jets...but Dick Cheney, when he was Secretary of Defense, had the same view, as did many Republicans. So what's the point here?

William Saletan wrote about the conflicting agendas of George W. Bush in an article for Slate entitled “ Back to the Future- What Bush would do if he were president .”

Here’s a few choice excerpts from that article:

For $2.4 trillion, guess what word—other than "a," "and," and "the"—occurs most frequently in the acceptance speech George W. Bush delivered tonight.

The word is "will." It appears 76 times. This was a speech all about what Bush will do, and what will happen, if he becomes president.

Except he already is president. He already ran this campaign. He promised great things. They haven't happened. So, he's trying to go back in time. He wants you to see in him the potential you saw four years ago. He can't show you the things he promised, so he asks you to envision them. He asks you to be "optimistic." He asks you to have faith.

"Since 2001, Americans have been given hills to climb and found the strength to climb them," said Bush. "Now, because we have made the hard journey, we can see the valley below. Now, because we have faced challenges with resolve, we have historic goals within our reach and greatness in our future."

Recession. Unemployment. Corporate fraud. A war based on false premises that has cost us $200 billion and nearly a thousand American lives. They're all hills we've "been given to climb." It's as though Bush wasn't president. As though he didn't get the tax cuts he wanted. As though he didn't bring about postwar Iraq and authorize the planning for it. All this was "given," and now Bush can show up, three and a half years into his term, and start solving the problems some other president left behind.

George Orwell had a name for this sort of thing. He called it “doublespeak.”

War is peace. Ignorance is strength.

E.P. Saturday, September 04, 2004