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Four years ago, I remember being surprised by how well President Bush performed in the debates.  Last night, I was frankly surprised at how poorly he performed.  

The eye rolling, the long, awkward pauses.  Bush wasn't just defensive, there was a weird air of entitlement; it looked at moments like he was irritated that he had to make his case, as though he expected the public to know it already and was angry at them that there might be any doubt.  As a result, his normally charasmatic style of speaking in short sentences came off as arrogant and insincere.

I think that Bush is remarkably weak here, if the media narrative can be made to focus on this the same way it focused on the serial exaggerator/sigher, etc with Gore, because it speaks directly to the President's character.  Folks around these parts have long seen through the thin veneer of down home folksiness to see the self-centered pr*ck beneath.  I think the public caught their first glimpse of it last night.

Last night was the first broadly public indication of the unaccountable kid, the kid who has always had his messes cleaned up for him, and has never had to take responsibility for anything.

That narrative ties immediately to Bush's unwillingness to even acknowledge the mess in Iraq, and with the history of his business ventures, military service, etc ad naseum.

If I were in the Kerry camp, I would be making every effort to make that the narrative.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Originally posted to tyroneslothrop on Fri Oct 01, 2004 at 11:37 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Osama bin Laden doesn't get to decide... (none)
    I get to decide.

    Very telling.

    Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

    by Maryscott OConnor on Fri Oct 01, 2004 at 11:35:31 AM PDT

  •  Presumption of continuance (none)
    IIRC, Mario Cuomo wrote in "Why Lincoln Matters" that the current president is running on the presumption of continuance rather than on a comprehensive vision.

    Last night's debate performance certainly confirmed this for me.  But then I'm ABB anyway.

    Liberal: "I still think it's a respectable word. Its root is "liber," the Latin word for "free," and isn't that what we are all about?"--Mary McGrory

    by mini mum on Fri Oct 01, 2004 at 11:36:51 AM PDT

  •  Bush has been hiding (none)
    By not engaging the public and the press for so long, whatever rudimentary communication skills Bush has had in the past have obviously atrophied. I'm astonished at any positive spin put on this guy's communication skills.

    I wish I could have debated him.

    "Mr. President, if it walks like a duck, if it talks like a duck, if it lies like a duck ..."

  •  Exactly , Bush seemed annoyed... (none)
    that he was even required to run for office again. Rahter than telling us why we should not fire him, he acted entitled to the job.

    My wife, a high-school teacher, called it:

    "Bush reminds me of those Senior-year boys from wealthy families after getting their acceptance letters to private university. They quit doing their homework and act superior. They are horrible."

    •  Josh... (none)
      ...recommends circulating the images, which I think is a good idea, but I think they need to be put in context.

      You said it better than I did, the President appeared annoyed at the public for having to make the case for why he should be reelected.  The fact is, however, that this resentment at being accountable to the public is not an aberration, but rather a dominant character trait.

      notsoforeignpolicy, a new blog dedicated to following Congressional proceedings relating to US foreign

      by tyroneslothrop on Fri Oct 01, 2004 at 12:15:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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