Thursday, July 05, 2007

Surprise: Bush Can Use Language With Great Precision

A running bit on Letterman called "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches," follows the classic comedy three-step of set-up, set-up, punchline.

  1. Set-up: FDR, delivering his best remembered line: "The only thing we have to fear is... fear itself"
  2. Set-up: JFK, delivering his best remembered line: "Ahsk not what youah country can do faw you. Ahsk what you can do faw yoah country"
  3. Punchline: GWB, fumfering and stammering, eyes darting, shoulders hunched
It's a sure-fire laugh. But it's Bush and team that get the last laugh. When the chips are down, Bush says neither more nor less than he means.

When Plame's name was first leaked, Bush said: "If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.'' After a jury said Libby violated the law, Bush took very good care of him. (With an implication of even better care to come.)

When Gonzales play-acted advanced Alzheimer's in front of the U.S. Senate, Bush said Gonzales "answered every answer he could possibly answer, honestly answer, in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do his job.” Translation: Gonzales answered only the questions that could be answered without implicating Rove, Cheney, or me. His ability to stonewall increased my confidence that he could do his job, which is to shield the rest of us." He went on to say, "Some senators didn’t like his explanation, but he answered as honestly as he could."

Mickeleh's Take: If a prisoner is stabbed in a fight, and he tells the authorities that he must have slipped and fallen on the shiv, he gains status in the yard for having "held his mud." Libby and Gonzales both held their mud. They'll be taken care of.

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