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March 17, 2003

Line of the evening, from Matthew Yglesias:
I have to say that I really wish Bush weren’t giving a big speech tonight. Now that war is inevitable, I’d strongly prefer to feel confident that everything will go well and every time I see our commander-in-chief my morale flags.
[07:56 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Line of the evening,:

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2003, 12:07 AM:

An utterly Bush speech, with no surprises, no grace, no inspiration.

Dave H ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2003, 07:00 AM:

Wasn't this the text?

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2003, 10:15 AM:

Here's a sobering view of just how this war could go in the next few weeks.

Bill Woods ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2003, 11:37 AM:

It's worth noting the follow-up:

"UPDATE: Damn. That was a good line I had there up above, but Bush is surprising me with a decent speech. By general standards it's so-so at best, but relative to Bush it counts as a home run."

David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2003, 12:00 PM:

Well, yeah. It wasn't Henry V at Agincourt. Or even Bill Pullman in Independence Day. But neither did Bush completely embarrass himself and drool on camera or anything.

Nobody's mind will have been changed one way or the other.

kla. ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2003, 06:06 PM:

I kind of wish Colin Powell would make his speeches for him. For some reason, every time I hear Bush speak, I have a mild panic attack. Something about him and the presidency of the United States. Freaks me out. Powell, however, I trust, in spite of his public about-face on the Iraq issue. I hear Powell speak and I'm somewhat calmer. Then I'm upset again, as he's being completely undiplomatic and making the entire planet angry.

I want to go hide under a tree now. I'm feeling very non-John Wayne and very Piglet-y.

I wish Powell would rip off his power suit, showing off spandex-super-heroness and declare he's going to save the world from war and terrorism. I also wish I could lose weight by eating chocolate.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 12:39 PM:

I refused to watch Bush's speech. My personal aversion to the man, never low, is now so high that I can't abide his smarmy, unctious voice, and the weird smirks and grimaces he makes.

But I still wanted to know what he said. So I waited an hour, and went and read reports on news web sites. This is now my preferred method of getting breaking news of almost any kind. Down with television!

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 08:19 PM:


You make a wonderful point. I think it's not out of place to lament what a sad effect television has had on political discourse and campaigning and speechmaking. (I say this, guiltily admitting that television and video is my job.)

A year or so ago my wife and I were in Montreal visiting the in-laws and the hotel tube was showing footage from the famous JFK-Nixon debate.

What struck me wasn't the usual media text-book cliches about how JFK got the edge because Nixon was sweating and didn't look as good—what struck me was how well prepared, intelligent and articulate both men were, talking without frightened glances down at notebooks.

You just don't see that anymore because the medium has encouraged, or rather discouraged the kind of intellectual preparation and discipline that such contests required before they became a three-ring circus in thrall to the advertising gods.

Okay, that's my rant.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2003, 12:38 PM:

John, I think my rant is different from yours. I won't disagree with you, but my view is that if TV is lowering the level of political discourse as far as candidates go, it's by allowing such a person as Bush to be considered a serious candidate in the first place.

I actually made an unannounced change of subject in my previous post: when I wrote that I avoid getting news from TV whenever possible, I was thinking less of political speeches (which I'd been writing of earlier) than of the state of news broadcasting.