Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated.

I know, I know. No gaffes or verbal blunders? Of course Bush mixes words and stumbles over sentences. But an honest observer would admit that all politicians do that, and that only because a hostile press broadcasts "Bushisms" at the drop of a hat, do we believe W is worse than any other politician.

(Democrats... I bet you have never seen the little book I have which recounts Clinton's verbal stumbles. They are, in many cases, far worse than anything Bush ever said... but of course you were never allowed to hear them. And of course we know that Obama thinks there are 57 states, right?).

The issue being discussed above is that Bush was remarkable in his ability to be clear in his intent. No one was ever confused by his words when communicating policy. Agree or not, world leaders were never left asking where he stood. Clinton was often confusing, as he tried to thread the needle between interest groups.

Obama may be just too inexperienced to communicate properly at the level he is now playing. Or perhaps he has been "voting present" for so long, playing the empty vessel in which we pour our dreams, that he isn't used to taking a stand. If so, he better learn quickly.

I'm guessing that in many ways, Bush's presidency is going to be like a bottle of wine. It will improve in comparison to newer vintages.



10:06 PM

Jake, this is one of the most well-written articles I have ever read. I agree with every single word which makes it impossible for me to really remark on anything. I have been flabbergasted by the hatred for George W. Bush -- if one listens to exactly what he's saying,he speaks truth. He is a man of conviction but has been an object of ridicule. Thanks for writing this article -- it made me cry.

Terry Cowgill

6:18 AM

I agree. He is not a skilled talker off the prompter.

When he made the joke about Nancy Reagan and referred to himself as a mutt, it seemed forced -- as if he was trying to capture a little of the JFK magic at the press conference podium.

Plus he is full of ums and aahs. The thought of listening to him for the next four years like that is not pleasant.

GWB did not make a lot of verbal gaffes related to actual policy. His will be remebered for, among other things, being the presidency of the malapropism.


7:12 AM

Thanks Jan. It's going to be interesting to see if Obama is up to the job. Clinton's first two years were a disaster, and he was much more experienced than Obama. That said, the Dems probably learned something from that period (like the benefits of playing small ball). But if the way they have operated in Congress is any indication, we are in for a rough ride.

Terry, I didn't see the presser, but I've never been impressed with his impromptu skills. But I am flabbergasted that they are considering Gaerlic for AJ. That is either the height of arrogance or the height of stupidity... haven't figured out which yet.