Kos takes on Bush's poker rhetoric today.
Kos's post reminds me of what I really wanted to say last night, but was too foggy and frustrated to get it out correctly. Bush seems to have disregarded the distinction -- if he ever understood it to begin with -- between between simple language and, as Kos puts it, "simple-minded" language. His presidential campaign consisted of pitting himself as an outsider, a cynical and deceptive maneuver for the incredibly well-connected son of a president. He paired this image with his aw-shucks folksiness and never looked back.
Now, a whole lot of us never for a minute bought into the outsider routine. But in his utter incompetence when it comes to communicating with anyone not signing a fat campaign check, Bush appears to have gone native with it.
The last few weeks are when language -- _communication_ -- really mattered. And Bush threw it away, refusing to depart from the same rhetoric he has been repeating since September. The administration's proclamations that diplomacy has failed would be laughable if they weren't so horribly misleading. Diplomacy is complicated, and requires a commitment to compromise -- not to war at any cost.
Further, it requires communicating, to allies and to the public. On these scores, Bush has failed in such a frustrating way. The president has no public persona other than the arrogant cowboy; indeed, any attempt to resemble a statesman results in embarrasing displays like last week's press conference. Shaped by his born-again determinism and blunt ignorance, his perspective is so penetrated by simple-minded -- _not_ "straightforward," not "down-to-earth," and certainly not "bold" -- language that the President has no reality other than his own.
I suppose we have no reason to expect thoughtful and articulate communication from a President who eschews intellectualism and mocks dissent, but I sure hope we demand it in 2004.