Wednesday, June 06, 2007

They Can't Be Serious

As I think ahead to the 2008 election, the overarching quality I want in the next president is seriousness. That word can mean different things. For a president, it's marked by the ability to express ideas in terms that go beyond easy bromides and breezy, grating colloquialisms -- and to do it on one's feet, sans teleprompter. Words usually reflect both the substance and structure of thoughts, and that's particularly true for those who are well-educated and have a larger vocabulary at their disposal. All of the candidates at Tuesday's Republican debate fall into that category.

On Iraq and foreign policy, most are running as Bush third-termers. For some of them, that's true for the seriousness issue as well. A telling snippet from Mitt "Null Set" Romney during the debate (transcript here):
Well, the question is kind of a non sequitur, if you will, and what I mean by that — or a null set. And that is that if you’re saying let’s turn back the clock, and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors, and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein, therefore, not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn’t be in the conflict we’re in. But he didn’t do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in. I supported the president’s decision based on what we knew at that time. I think we were underprepared and underplanned for what came after we knocked down Saddam Hussein.

By the way, Harry Reid was wrong. We did not lose the war in Iraq. And that’s not the sort of thing you say when you have men and women in harm’s way.

We did, however, not do a great job after we knocked down Saddam Hussein and won the war to take him down, and his military. And at this stage, the right thing for us to do is to see if we can possibly stabilize the central government in Iraq so that they can have stability and so we can bring our troops home as soon as possible.
"The decision to get in." "We knocked down Saddam Hussein." "Won the war to take him down." If you didn't know the words were Romney's, who would be your first guess?

Romney had company. Jim Gilmore:
Saddam Hussein was unstable, and so taking him out was good there, but we certainly didn’t anticipate the further instability that was to come out.
And Duncan Hunter:
When the Osirak reactor that was hit `86, when the six F-18s came over the horizon and knocked that out, they didn’t need anything but conventional weapons.
Sloppy words, lazy minds.


Blogger Anna said...

"Sloppy words, lazy minds." I agree wholeheartedly and was almost relieved to see that in print. I have been feeling as if I was setting the standard too high as intelligent, articulate discourse is so hard to come by these days, and not just from the candidates. Thanks for the validation that I am not the only person to think that one's use, or abuse, of language reflects something larger than what we hear on the surface.

6/06/2007 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Mimikatz said...

Not to mention that he is wrong about the IAEA inspectors. They were allowed in and reported that they had found no WMD, but Bush went ahead with his war anyway, and guess what--they were right.

6/06/2007 11:31 AM  
Blogger LFC said...

Actually, mimikatz, it's worse than that. The inspectors were in Iraq and Bush told them to leave because we were comin' in. He essentially threw them out.

Flip Flopney will say anything he thinks he must to get the nomination. He's "changed his mind" on issue after issue. Here's a beaut on Sullivan's blog showing that also plays both sides of an issue at the same time.

And I love Sullivan's use of the term "Republichameleon".

6/06/2007 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hans Blix should get a medal.

6/06/2007 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think we were underprepared and underplanned for what came after we knocked down Saddam Hussein."
-Mitt Romney


6/06/2007 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is my idea.

I think Congress should change the Constitution so that a President can serve three terms.

Then we run Bush vs Bill Clinton.

Let the people decide what party they preferred to live under in the last sixteen years.

6/06/2007 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for...I have no doubt that there's a sizeable portion of the population that would have no qualms about writing in "George W Bush" come 2008.

6/06/2007 2:27 PM  
Blogger wendyo said...

One could argue they sound like the guys hanging out in the back of the Bing on the Sopranos...

"So, should we take 'em out?"

6/06/2007 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to have Bush/Clinton face off for all the marbles. There's no way America would stick with the status quo. I bet most in America would personally blow Clinton before letting Bush or the Republicans rule for another five years.

6/06/2007 4:56 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Nobody hates Bush more than me...but I think TCR has attracted a few to many liberal followers. I mean come on people. Clinton took over GHWB's no fly zone...bombed the piss out of Iraq...denied medical supplies and sanitation equipment...killed scores and scores of innocent muslims. What was it Ramzi Yousef said at his sentencing hearing about revenge for the Iraqi embargo? What was it Osama Bin Laden said about the sanctions killing millions of Muslims? Rudy was one lying ignorant creep when he suggested to Ron Paul he never heard such a thing...and GWB's war and occupation was certainly wrong and immoral...but Bill Clinton paved the road to Iraq for Bush...all Bush needed was an incident to light the fuse under the stupid American public. I would prefer both men hung up from lamposts like Mussolini...right outside the Whitehouse as a warning for other US tyrants.

6/06/2007 8:29 PM  
Blogger chris bray said...

Nixon: "I want that place bombed to smithereens ...Let it fly, Let it fly ...Now, goddamit, we're gonna do it. We're going to cream them. This is not in anger or anything. This old business, that I'm 'petulant' -- that's all bullshit ...Whatever happens to South Vietnam, we are going to cream North Vietnam ....For once, we've got to use the maximum power of this country...against this shit-ass little country, to win the war."

Little minds are drawn to the presidency, apparently. If we could just figure out how they all end up talking like football coaches...

6/06/2007 10:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Two of the front runners, Romney and Guilliani don't fit the "traditional" republican fold much less the "Bush" mold.

Romney seem's to be the most intelligent and better speaking of the candidates. Did Wolf even understand the term "non sequitur"?

Kudos to Romeny, another well performed debate.

6/08/2007 8:22 AM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

Frankly, "null set" sums up the bunch nicely.

6/08/2007 10:22 AM  
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