Monday, June 02, 2008

“Bushisms” and Other Such Peculiarities

President George W. Bush has been roundly criticized and ridiculed for his verbal and oratorical boo-boos. And truth be told, Mr. Bush makes a good many of them. Some of his remarks are really not so much wrong as they are merely unusual, outside the commonly accepted norm. A good example of this is his coining of the word “misremembered,” a term that is certainly unusual, but which makes perfect sense. An example of his bad speech habits is his mispronunciation of the word “nuclear,” coming out “nucular.”

These errors from Mr. Bush are regularly cited and recited, to excess, as if there is no other source of political humor, and are used as evidence of an IQ on the short side of 100. “How can a man this dumb be the President of the United States,” goes a common rhetorical question? After all, no other candidate or elected office-holder has ever been so “out of it” since Dan “potatoe” Quayle. Right?

Well, no, not exactly.

Evidence abounds that another well-known politician has his own problems with details, sometimes important details. The difference is that where every gaff of George Bush, the real and the merely desired ones, gets exposure on late night TV, on YouTube, in blogs that have nothing more substantive to offer, in many other popular venues seeking to spawn a few giggles, and others clearly intended to ridicule a president disliked by his political enemies, others escape the close scrutiny Mr. Bush garners.

Herewith a litany of gaffs from another prominent political figure:

Just in the last few days, in Sunrise, Florida, he said, “How's it going, Sunshine?”

He did the same thing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, calling it “Sioux City.”

In Oregon, he said of his long campaign, “I’ve been in fifty-seven states, I think, one left to go.”

If you haven’t yet figured out from whom these gaffs have emanated—would it be fair to label him an “idiot” as George Bush was for such things?—see if this helps:

He claimed “I'm not very well known in [Kentucky ] ... Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it's not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” But the mystery pol’s home state of Illinois is more than “near” Kentucky; it borders the state.

Yep, you guessed it: this prolific gaffer is none other that media darling Barack Obama.

In New Mexico, Obama commented: “On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes—and I see many of them in the audience here today—our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.” Fallen heroes in the audience? Have they, like Jesus, been resurrected?

No doubt Obama apologists and blind followers are more than willing to write these off and explain them away as mere slips of the tongue, or “sleep-deprived” booboos on details upon which the fate of the free world does not hinge. However, some of these gaffes occurred on more serious matters, things upon which important matters do hinge

Moving to the Middle East, Obama told a Missouri audience that our military’s Arabic translators in Iraq are needed in Afghanistan: “We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them in Afghanistan,” he said. Note to Obama: Afghans don’t speak Arabic, as anyone who thinks he’s presidential material ought to know.

The would-be president told the Orlando Sentinel recently that he would meet with Cesar Chavez to discuss “the fermentation of anti-American sentiment in Latin America, his support of FARC in Colombia and other issues he would want to talk about.” But prior to that in Miami, Obama suggested that any country supporting the Marxist guerillas of FARC should suffer “regional isolation.” Obama advisers spun themselves dizzy trying to figure out to somehow reconcile these opposing statements. Obama apparently possesses talents allowing him to meet with Chavez and isolate him at the same time.

And Obama has his own set of, shall we say, “misremembered events”: In Selma, Alabama, he claimed that the spirit of hope derived from the civil rights protests in Selma in 1965 inspired his birth. His parents must have had extra-sensory powers; Obama was born in 1961. He also falsely claimed that the Kennedys funded his Kenyan father’s trip to America in 1959.

But Barack Obama is no George Bush, and because he isn’t George Bush, he escapes the close and necessary scrutiny the American media is obligated to provide for all serious candidates for our nation’s highest office. If George Bush’s gaffes signal an intelligence level unsuitable for the presidency, do the gaffes of Barack Obama not signal the same thing?

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