Why We Should Temper our Criticism of Bush

It is hard to believe that I am writing a piece in defense of President George W. Bush after all the trouble he and his administration have gotten us into. A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing the White House web site and I stumbled upon a video tour of the Oval Office given by none other than the President himself. You can find the video here http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/life/video/index.html.

I am astounded that the web production folks did not edit this video more carefully. About two minutes and 20 seconds into the video, President Bush introduces a painting on the Oval Office wall, and then repeats himself as if he had not already said what he said. After about four minutes and 15 seconds he begins to discuss a Tom Lea painting and again, says almost the exact sentence twice as if he had not already said it once.

There has been much written about the possibility that President Bush is dyslexic. He has denied it. I think this video on the White House web site makes a clear case that the President has some sort of cognitive disability. I discount the possibility that he was just nervous in the video because this man speaks publicly on a regular basis.

My point here is not to make fun of the President. On the contrary, I got a lump in my throat when I watched the Oval Office tour video. This is a man who truly has innate difficulty with communication. I can only wonder to what degree the manipulators in his administration have taken advantage of his disability. At worst, this may very well be the Presidency of Chauncey Gardner, the feeble minded but well meaning protagonist of the 1979 film “Being There”.



5 thoughts on “Why We Should Temper our Criticism of Bush

  1. hmm. That is the second time in so manyw eeks that someone has said I need to watch Being There. I think I must.

    I do see your point – that he clearly hasn’t got all his pencils sharpened, and that he might be a pawn of others. However, that begs the question – how did he reach this position in his life? Surely, even if he himself had not the mental fortitude to understand his own weaknesses (since how many of us do, anyways?), what about his wife, his parents, and everyone else in his life who you’d hope would help guide him appropriately?

    I have to say, if I felt my best friend (let alone, my child) were embarking on a situation in which they were not only unlikely to be successful, but LIKELY to become the pawn of malicious people exploiting their weaknesses, I would like to think I’d raise a flag…

  2. Lilac,
    I think the trick here is you are thinking about this from the perspective of someone who has not lived in the rarefied environment of the Bush’s. When your family has money, power and pride all sorts of maladjustments get cosmetically taken care of to save the family name.

    While I don’t know this first hand, being myself of modest upbringing, I can only suspect that it’s very hard being a Bush who can’t read, write and speak properly and that lots of resources go toward “overcoming” the obstacle without actually dealing with it head on. I think you and I would be surprised at the way Bush’s and Kennedy’s and other “special” families handle their “life issues.”

  3. Huck, unfortunately the video is no longer available. Bush wasn’t giving a speech or speaking from a TelePrompter. He was strolling around the Oval Office giving some folksy commentary on its history. Was he working from a script? Probably. But I assure you, any objective viewer would have found the President repeating himself somewhat jarring. He truly repeated exact phrasing as though he had not just said what he said. The video speaks volumes and I was very disappointed to click on the link last night and find the video gone.

    What you fail to understand is that I’m not calling Bush stupid in this article (which you ARE calling Obama). I’m calling Bush impaired, and deserving of some sympathy. The article was written sincerely without an ounce of sarcasm.

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