Jason Van Steenwyk, over at Iraq Now - yet another blog you should visit daily (or at least add to your Bloglines database) - has an incredible fisking of Slate editor "extraordinaire" (rather, a writer of extraordinary arrogance) Jacob Weisberg.
...I hate to cut my own throat with a guy I might be querying to let me write articles, soon, but Weisberg is falling into a common media trap. Because Weisberg is a writer and editor, and surrounds himself with other writers and editors, he comes to have an exaggerated notion of the correlation of volcabulary size with mental acuity.It's like TMLutas pointed out several months ago - GWB is Lucy to his critics' Charlie Brown.
But as anyone who's worked and succeeded in other fields--and as ANY real manager can tell you, sometimes inarticulateness can mask greatness.
Yes, Bush has been prone to verbal gaffes. Some of them quite entertaining. But caught up in the narcissistic assumption that mastery or non-mastery of grammar somehow defines the man, pundits like Weisberg have been homing in on them for years, like heatseeking missiles chasing down so much chaffe.
And the President zooms away untouched, and it just leaves this guy baffled.
(Meanwhile, he can somehow ignore statements like "I was for the amendment before I voted against it," which is at once grammatically flawless as morally and politically craven. Somehow Bush's misstatements are a proxy for his Presidency, but Kerry's reflect, oh, I don't know--nuance.
There was a recurring theme in Charles Schultz's long running comic Peanuts. Lucy would offer to hold a football (american) and Charlie Brown would kick it. At the last moment, Lucy would pull it away and laugh as Charlie Brown launched himself into the air and fell, in pain, flat on his back. Lucy, great psychological manipulater that she was, could always convince Charlie Brown that this time, the football would not be moved and that he could kick it but would always get her way in the end, leaving poor Charlie Brown frustrated and vowing never again.He sets up the ball, and every time - every time - they ravenously charge down the field to kick it; only to have the wily President smoothly move the ball out of their way. As becomes clear with each passing moment, the continual "misunderestimating" these media and cultural elitists engage in is an illness both chronic and, in the political sense, terminal; but it does present those of us who support the President with a bit of a quandary:
President George W. Bush is Lucy minus the dress.
Objectively looking back at his career, you can see how time after time he carefully holds the football and perfectly times how to pull it away. Time after time, his opponents lie there, flat on their backs, struggling to overcome their political pain, and wonder how they got beat.
On the one hand, you want to crow about it. On the other, you worry that giving the game away will let the opposition adjust and win more often.
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