Thursday, September 15, 2005

"Four Years and Seven Scores Ago..."

Mister Bush will address the nation in about two hours. This will be his last chance to be a real leader (i.e., a grown man in a position of grave responsibility in a time of crisis).

To do that, he'll have to toss the Rovewellian meme menu overboard.

I doubt he'll do that. Here's what I think we'll hear a lot of:

-- "9/11" (twenty or more times?).

-- "We're problem solvers" (at least three times).

-- "War" (five times minimum).

-- "Evil doers/ones/axis" (once, surely).

-- "Heroes" (no predicting how often this will pop up).

-- "Blame" and/or "blame game" (break out your pocket calculator from here on).

-- "Compassion."

-- "Rich cultural diversity."

-- "Stay the course" or something very much like it.

-- "We (I) can do two things at once.

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No doubt we'll also hear comparisons of America's present situation to World War II and/or the Civil War and/or the Cold War and the accompanying implicit comparisons of Mister Bush to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan.

And expect to hear Mister Bush accept responsibility for the Katrina fiasco, but not admit that he did anything wrong that he should be held responsible for.

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He's speaking from New Orleans. I'm not clear if he's going to speak to an audience, or have a coterie standing behind him.

If he does, you can bet you'll see him surrounded by a sea of administration icons and (most importantly) black smiling faces.

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I hope I'm wrong about all this. I really do hope that the George W. Bush we see tonight brushes off his handlers and acts like a real president of the United States.

But I'm not optimistic. Leopards and spots, and all that.

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This is Mister Bush's chance to deliver his version of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

President Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address himself. He actually made several drafts of it, just like a real writer would. I still consider this Lincoln speech to be the most moving and inspiring piece of literature ever written by a political leader.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Pardon my cynicism, but if the speech Mister Bush gives tonight sounds anything like the speech President Lincoln gave at Gettysburg, it will be because his speech writers plagiarized it straight out of The Gettysburg Address.

2 comments:

  1. I just watched the speech and, frankly, it was incredibly boring. He said very, very little of substance, imo. He promised to rebuild New Orleans and other areas, fix the problems in FEMA/Homeland Security and help the hurricane victims.

    Excuse me, but did anyone believe we were going to abandon New Orleans to the alligators, ignore the FEMA debacle and leave the victims to wander homeless in the streets? And does anyone with a brain believe that the bulk of the money will go to anybody other than Halliburton, Fluor, Bechtel, et al.?

    Rove did set the stage differently and weirdly. When dubya walked across the lawn casually dressed, I thought it looked awkward as hell. It was a stupidly obvious attempt to portray Bush as working hard on hurricane relief.

    Bush did manage to keep the inappropriate grin off his face by some miracle.

    I surfed between a few different channels to watch the after-speech analysis and my opinions were at odds with the talking heads. ABC and CNN said Bush gave a strong speech.

    Doug claims I'm either a Vulcan or a mutant so my opinions do not reflect the mainstream.

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  2. My cut is that it wasn't as horrible as it could have been. But it was not a bullhorn moment, or a day of infamy, or even a fear of fear momemnt.

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