Friday, August 06, 2004

Bush Slips, So Does Kerry

This Bush-ism from Wednesday was the topic of its own AP news story -- complete with photo illustration:

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

A lovely howler, but you'd never know that Kerry had two of his own in the last two days. Today...

"We will add 40,000 active duty troops -– not in Iraq, but to strengthen American forces that are now overstretched, overextended, and under pressure. We will double our special forces to conduct terrorist operations."

... and yesterday ...
“I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history.”

It's no big deal. I'm much more interested in hearing Kerry tell me what exactly he plans to do in Iraq than in counting up his tongue-slips. Just as I'm interested in hearing Bush outline what he plans to do about North Korea or Social Security. On the other hand, while I am sure Kerry meant to say "conduct counter-terror operations" today, yesterday he actually may have meant that he plans to fight a "sensitive war" against al Qaida, and I'd like to know what that means. We will destroy you, but we'll respect you in the morning?

When you're a candidate for leader of the world's only hyperpower, you're talking from the minute you wake up till the minute you turn out the light at night, and the microphones are turned on you every second of the way. Stupid things are going to come out of your mouth.

Bush' mis-speaking is a meme now. Like Gerald Ford's clumsiness in the '70s. He banged his head on a helicopter once, sliced a golf ball once, and, with the help of "Saturday Night Live," got enshrined in the popular mind as "the Bumbling President." Never mind that, as a former football linebacker, he probably was the most athletic president since Teddy Roosevelt.

But, when "I'm With Stupid" is an unofficial campaign slogan of the Democrats, the disparity in media coverage of candidate tongue-slips becomes a form of bias.

Pardon My English wonders, "So, why is it news when Bush fumbles a word, or what have you, but Kerry 'the intellectual' does the same thing and gets a slide? I almost mentioned this the night of the speech, but didn’t, because WHO CARES?? We all misspeak from time to time. I don’t think anyone believes that John Kerry wants to double our special forces to conduct terrorist operations, nor does Bush want to harm the United States."

I think I know who cares. In my newspaper newsroom, where magnified quotations from Michael Moore are pasted on colored construction paper and hung on the wall like motivational posters, the Bush quip has been the talk of the crew for two days now. Snicker, snicker.