Saturday, November 26, 2005

Can we all agree that THIS is wrong?

Since, well, all of my blogger pals who have written about the "guy who gives a sermon criticizing Bush two days before the election is accused of trying to influence said election" issue have disagreed with my stance that the FEC is at least somewhat justified in doing this, I'm wondering.

We can all agree that a public school teacher giving a vocabulary test with questions like:

"I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes."

is innappropriate, right?

Full story here.

That said, I have heard people put forth the theory that using poor grammar makes one sound more accessible to the average person, which would make the thrust of the question right, though the principle applies to both parties. On the Democratic side, no one with poor grammar comes to mind, but I remember a story that when he was a Senator, former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles would wear expensive dark suits in Washington, then change into cheaper, lighter suits to go home because that's the style in Florida so he could look like a man of the people. Same principle.

To me, poor grammar sounds sort of contrived in a man who learned these things at expensive private schools. But "Walkin' Lawton" never lost an election in 40 years and Kerry certainly didn't win any votes by being true to himself and using phrases like "would that it were," although I thought it was pretty cool.

So maybe there's something to be said for a man-of-the-people act well played, and Bush does seem to pull it off.

I should end there for the sake of a having a well-structured post, but my smart (and by the way, Conservative) friend Pam is a Floridian and she told me a funny story about Lawton Chiles.

The 1994 election between Jeb Bush and Lawton Chiles was a close one and came down to a debate less than a month before the election.

In the debate, Bush said Chiles was a good man who had served his country well, but the time comes when a person has to retire and let the younger generation take over.

And that's about all you need to say to lose an election in Florida.

who suspects that teacher would be really annoying to know.

And who has never actually been able to verify that Bush said that, but politics friends of both parties love that story.


Bill Baar said...

Read Tony Blair if you find Bush as messenger lacking.

Here are all of Blair's speeches given while PM, and I especially recommend his Faithworks Speech where Blair connects Faith and Politics in a way Bush believes but could never communicate to those who think he's a liar.

Kim said...

BB-- What do you mean "think he's a liar"? He's been caught in several lies.

Joel Monka said...

Here's an amusing little game I play with people who say "Bush is a liar": name three lies he's told. Remember that being wrong is not enough; in order for it to be a lie, he must have known it was wrong before he said it, and said it anyway in a deliberate attempt to have something factually untrue believed as truth. Opinions do not count; one person I asked listed as a lie his claim to care about black people while opposing affirmative action, and another his claiming to care about education while supporting vouchers- but those are a difference of opinion about tactics, not end goals. The lie must be his own words, not an assumed position he's taken; one person listed as a lie the claim that Saddam was responsible for 911, but was never able to substantiate that Bush had ever said that. Given those parameters, can you list three lies?

Kim said...

Joel --
1. State of the Union Address he said “By the year 2042 the entire SS system would be exhausted and bankrupt.” And it’s simply not true: GAO said if no changes are made, ¾ of the funds would still be available.
2. In May of ’02, Bush said, “Never in anyone’s thought processes did we ever think that the evildoers would fly, not 1 but 4, commercial aircraft into precious US targets…never!” Whereas in summer of 2001 (August 6) he had a Presidential Daily Briefing paper saying Bin Laden planned to fly airplanes into a building.
3. In the third debate he said “Gosh, I don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about Osama Bin Laden – that’s kinda one of those exaggerations.” In 2002 a White House Press Conference Bush said “Well, as I say, we haven’t heard much from him. I don’t know where he is. I’m truly not that concerned about him.”
4. In the third Presidential Debate, Bush said “We have tripled the Homeland Security budget from $10b to $30b. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the budget in that period was not even doubled; it went from $19.7b to $36.5b.
5. There are lots more of them. I don’t want to type any more. Besides, I don't like your smarmy condecending tone. Don't make out like you're "superior" -- it's UnAmerican!

Joel Monka said...

#1: This is an opinion, not a fact; no one on Earth knows what the SS system will be like 40 years from now- it's certainly not what was predicted 40 years ago. Any such predictions are dependent upon guesses as to how the economy will perform, what expenditures will be, etc.- his guesses differ from theirs. For all we know, Bush may be right- only living through the next 40 years will tell. As there are no facts here, only opinions, this is NOT a lie.
2. This briefing did NOT predict FOUR simultaneous hijackings. The level of carnage on 9/11 had never been predicted by anyone; this is not a lie.
3. This is a question of the what words mean, isn't it? Those are descriptions of emotional states, which are highly subjective-is "worried" the same as "concerned", and what did he mean at the time? It depends on what the definition of "is" is... kind of a petty excuse for a lie.
4. I don't have the facts on this one, so I'll assume the numbers are correct, and that Bush deliberately and knowingly lied. That's one for four.
5. Ok... the thread is about someone who thinks the president deliberately uses bad grammar to attract the votes of Republicans, who are intellectually inferior... but you think the person who suggests that maybe the president is not lying but merely wrong is the one who is smarmy, condescending, and acting "superior". Not to mention "UnAmerican". Are you a Republican? I thought Senator Clinton said it was Republicans who accused people of being UnAmerican.

Kim said...

I believe the weaselyness of your answers speak for themselves.

LaReinaCobre said...

Your response to #3 ... wowwwww I was speechless for a few minutes there.

Joel Monka said...

>LaReinaCobre Yeah, it really sounded disingenuous, didn’t it? Of course, the first two sentences were slight paraphrasing of president Clinton, and the third sentence was an exact quote.

>Kim Let’s see... in the circumstances where you had objective numbers, I took your word on faith without checking it, and conceded that point. I guess pointing out that one is not four, or that having a different projection of an unknowable future some half a century hence is not a lie is “weaslyness”. You know, we both have something in common: neither one of us voted for Bush last time. (although I did the first time) The difference is that I believe that Bush, like Jimmy Carter, is a good man who has done things wrong. Why the venomous hatred? It always amazes me that modern Democrats can’t see why they lose elections. You can’t win elections by telling people “You’re stupid, you’re a nazi, you’re a racist, a homophobe, and un-American! Oh, by the way, will you vote for my guy?” You’re making enemies out of people who merely disagreed with you, people you might have been able to reach next election- why would they listen to people who hate and insult them? That teacher (remember the subject of this thread?) probably guaranteed a few extra votes for the next Republican candidate.

>CC No... I guess we CAN’T all agree that this is wrong!

Anonymous said...

my smart (and by the way, Conservative) friend

'smart' and 'Conservative' cannot co-exist with each other as no thinking person could possibly conclude that conservatism is in any way superior to liberal ideas. She may know lots of information, she may do well on Jeopardy but I personally refuse to accept any Conservative as being smart (at least as it pertains to the type of intelligence that comes from well-reasoned thought)

Joel Monka said...

And I've always believed that liberals have fantastic reflexes- their knees jerk even absent a neurologist. But what you or I think is not the point. My point is that you (or at least your attitude) did more to reelect Bush than Karl Rove did!
No one can win an election carrying only his own party- he must convince some of the other party to vote for him. Yes, one hears about the “undecided” all the time- but any old politician (and I think my 30 years service puts me in that category) knows that the “undecided” almost always split in exactly the same percentage as the electorate as a whole. Insulting the very people you need simply does not work- only one Democrat since WWII (Johnson) has gotten a higher percentage of the vote than Bush did (50.73%)... and he was riding the “Camelot” sympathy coattails. For fifty years now, no Democrat (save Johnson) has been able to win the White House without a 3rd party splitting the Republican vote.

Look- I’m a Goldwater/Reagan conservative; I’ve been forced to vote Libertarian the last couple elections because of where my old party has been going. I’ve been wishing someone would put up enough of a fight that the Republicans would be forced to return to the libertarian conservative formula- Goldwater didn’t care who slept with whom, as just one example. But no, Democrats would rather have the momentary (and unworthy) gratification of sneering at and insulting people than winning elections. I hope that gratification was worth cementing the Bush crowd in place.

Kim said...

If you look at what is really happening in the world, and who is calling whom names, you will see that the Republicans are doing far more nasty name-calling than the Democrats.
Joel and his type are just trying to make us say nothing and thinks he can manipulate us into doing it because he knows Democrats want to be "nice" whereas Republicans don't care if they are "nice"

Chalicechick said...

I tend to think Joel is right.

This isn't the first time I've heard someone take Anonymous' attitude.

When I had Republican clients, I got to hear "So, do they know how wrong they are?" all the time from my friends. It got old.