From a WaPo article about whether or not Bush belongs among the ranks of America’s worst presidents comes this H. L. Mencken quote describing Warren G. Harding:
About the president’s mangling of the English language: "It reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it . . . It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."
Every time I am forced to listen to George W. Bush speak, I can feel my I.Q. dropping. His speech is a kind of thought-killing force field that emanates his mouth. Watching him attempt to complete a sentence or to speak off the cuff is like watching a drunk carry a crate of broken glass across an icy street. He doesn’t so much speak English as mud-wrestle it.
Take this exchange from yesterday’s deeply creepy Matt Lauer interview:
Matt Lauer: And yet you admitted that there were these CIA secret facilities. OK?
President Bush: So what? Why is that not within the law?
Well, because it’s against the law. The law says you can’t do that. Ergo, it’s against the law.
Matt Lauer: The head of Amnesty International says secret sites are against international law.
President Bush: Well, we just disagree with him.
Oh, so it’s that simple, is it? So, I guess you won’t be in line with Amnesty saying it’s a violation of my human rights to have to listen to you talk, Governor Bush?
President Bush: Whatever we have done is legal.
Why, because you did it? I don’t think that’s necessarily going to stand up to the sniff-test of history. "If the President does it, it’s by definition legal." Are you sure you want to establish that precedent, Mr. Bush? Because (god willing) you will not be the President forever.
President Bush: It was within the law, that’s what I’m saying. We had lawyers look at it and say, "Mr. President, this is lawful." And that’s all I can tell ya.
Look, Sparky. Just because Harriet Miers glues a gold star and a happy face on a legal brief and writes, "LOOKS LEGAL 2 ME!!!! WATERBOARDING IS COOL!!!", that doesn’t make it legal. Just because John Yoo writes "A-OK" on something in big red letters before he goes stalking around his office pretending his laser pointer is a light-saber, that does NOT make it legal. We’re talking about matters of life and death here. Not to mention how we expect our own soldiers to be treated if they are captured by hostile forces in the future. By forsaking the internationally recognized standards of fair conduct in an armed conflict, the United States has opened a Pandora’s box that I feel certain we will be desperately trying to slam shut again for generations.
But never mind that right now. I want to focus in on what it is that makes this interview with Lauer so deeply squicky. Look at the crazy body language. Whose idea was it to shoot the two men standing at such close quarters? Look how invasive Bush is of Lauer’s personal space. Lauer counters with an open marker aimed at the President’s suit-jacket. There’s one moment where he waves it diagonally across Bush’s torso like, "Back OFF, buddy!"
The pen may be mightier than the sword at distances greater than four feet, but the uncapped Sharpie is mightier than the narcissist’s blazer every time. I like that technique. It will be something to try when I quit smoking. Thanks, Matt Lauer!
Watching this reminds me that not only is the Preznint a travesty as a statesman, he’s also a nightmare on an interpersonal level. An asshole. A bullying prick. How much longer is he going to be allowed to spit in the face of the Constitution and flout the will of the American people?
"You don’t know what you’re talking about," he says, "Bad, bad people want to come to your house and kill your whole family! Only I know what’s best. You don’t know what I know. You’re not qualified to make decisions about your own life. Submit to me. You will be very sorry if you don’t."
We are living under an authoritarian regime that’s run by a group of men who make Caesar’s Senate look like a meeting of the Campfire Girls. I don’t know about you but I think I’ve enjoyed about all of this bullshit that I can stand. Is it too much to ask that one day the United States will have a President who can properly pronounce the word "nuclear"? That alone will be worth seeing the end of the Bush government.