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  • Wednesday, August 31, 2005


    'Crisp' like a half-baked Pop-Tart

    Remember why Bush needed to spend that vacation down in Crawford?:

    "I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy," Bush said during an Aug. 13 bike ride with journalists at his ranch. "And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live, and will do so."

    Well, this is what happens when you cut the vacation two days short:

    Kind of a fizzle. I'm not sure exactly what else he could do with the speech, but somehow didn't seem that engaged....
    Posted at 05:27 PM

    W [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
    I found the Bush speech disappointing too, Rich. No doubt the bureacracy is at work but...I think we all already assumed as much. He could have highlighted some great stories of human endurance. Bucked folks up. People down there are not that interested that he flew over and saw some devastation from the comfort of Air Force One.
    Posted at 05:30 PM

    BOY... [JPod]
    ...what a lousy speech. He'd better return to the subject later in the week and take the full measure of this event.
    Posted at 05:31 PM

    SUBJECT: NO, YOU'RE NOT..... [Rich Lowry ]

    ...simplistic. Right now, the entire country is watching a great American city collapsing into hopeless devastation, and if there IS a Federal response going on it is barely visible. Government has got to move here....
    Posted at 05:32 PM

    BUSH [Rich Lowry ]
    E-mail from a plugged-in observer:

    This is an EXTREMELY disappointing speech. Doesn't he realize that more people may have died from this storm than died on September 11? I don't expect him to say he's gonna get Katrina "dead or alive" for what she's done to America. But for crying out loud, can he put off the laundry list of all the things his wonderful bureaucracy has done so far until the end of the speech and begin by addressing the pain we all feel as this tragedy is unfolding in slow-motion on live TV? We're talking death on a massive scale, and within 2 minutes he's thanking Texas for housing refugees (way to perpetuate that "I'm all about Texas" stereotype).

    And don't get me started about how the first image of Bush coming back to Washington as thousands have died in a tragedy was him walking down the stairs of Air Force One with Barney tucked under his arm…

    I love President Bush, but that was a pathetic performance and I agree with what Byron wrote about his vacation. And I'm with you: Bring in the troops. Lead! Don't tell me that the federal government will be working "with" state and local governments. Has he watched how incompetent Blanco is?
    Posted at 05:34 PM

    BUSH CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]

    I gotta agree. This is not the usual post-hurricane scrambling for FEMA patronage and post-hoc insurance coverage. Fair or not, accurate or not, the normal rules really don't seem to apply here. That is a political reality and in all probability every other kind of reality. You'd think the tsunami experience would have taught him that playing catch-up is just as expensive financially, but vastly more expensive politically. Moreover, it's the right thing to do: Send in the cavalry.
    Posted at 05:48 PM

    ...but everybody on the Right better wise up and fast. Bush blew this first one big time, and needs to be prodded to improve, not apologized for. Don't defend him just because you know liberals are going to attack, and don't come up with bizarro theories about how he's a man of action not reflection etc. etc. He emoted plenty around 9/11. Look, it's not too much to say that the continued viability of his presidency resides in how he and the administration respond in the next week.
    Posted at 05:49 PM

    SUBJECT: EMOTING [Rich Lowry ]

    Your previous emailer is dead wrong about Bush. Recall all the stories of him comforting the victims of 9-11, and families of soldiers, etc. The trouble with Bush is, I think, he can't fake his emotion, and he doesn't truly get emotion until he's dealt with things personally. Recall his poor performance soon after 9-11. Once he was there, on the ground, he had both the "real sense of being in charge" you want, and the great emotion your emailer wants. I expect Bush to come around this time, too.
    Posted at 05:57 PM

    WELL, IT'S SAFE TO SAY, JPOD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
    This is not the Right-apologizing-for-Bush Corner.
    Posted at 06:03 PM

    THE POINT IS NOT... [JPod]
    ...that Bush should have emoted. The point is that he sounded defeatist. And that's what he cannot be now -- what we, as a nation, cannot be now.
    Posted at 06:44 PM

    MEA CULPA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
    Another good friend reminds me of how smart NRO readers are. And I think the bulk of you--if my inbox is any indication--are right. I'm with Mr. "eminently sensible" after more conversations, a few deep breaths, a little time away from the coverage. Most people in the Katrina-ravaged parts of the country didn't even see President Bush earlier and all they care about right now is if that they are alive and where they can go from here. Even articulate in-command assurances from a president might not beat a little laundry listing--this is what we're doing. This is what others can do to help. I probably still wish he made some grand statement about looting with all the excuse-making going around, but you know what? A lot of people are hard at work doing their jobs getting people found and fed and all the important things--including not just the government but many private organizations. And, you know what else? They'll be another speech. I bet we get what the pundits were hoping for in that. Meanwhile, how much does what the pundits were looking for in his little speech really matter to people who are living with relatives in another state, having no idea if they have anything to eventually return to? Or someone whose lost a loved one? Someone whose life is suddenly in turmoil? Someone who probably should have left town but thought they could ride out the storm, and well, obviously couldn't?

    So, anyway, I know some others here will disagree, but I'm pretty sure I was wrong. I jumped too quickly and did so needlessly.
    Posted at 09:24 PM

    A bad speech is a bad speech.
    Posted at 09:34 PM


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