Fun_People Archive
31 Jan
Dog's dinner for the man who bumbles through OK

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 100 01:25:04 -0800
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Subject: Dog's dinner for the man who bumbles through OK

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Ben Macintyre reports on the mangled messages from the Republican

    Dog's dinner for the man who bumbles through OK

GEORGE W. BUSH had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand until
suddenly, in the middle of a riff about free trade, he appeared to launch
an unprovoked attack on a species of small dog.  The world will be a better
place, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination said,
when "all the terriers are torn down".

Gasps were heard. Could it be that beneath Mr Bush's affable exterior lurked
a hidden hatred for dogs, a certain disqualification for America's highest
office? Indeed not. Mr Bush is a friend to all canines, but language is
not a friend to him. In the flow of his own oratory, the candidate had
somehow crushed "tariffs" and "barriers" into a single word, in the sort
of linguistic snafu that has become an almost daily feature of the Bush

For not only has Mr Bush taken on his father's presidential ambitions, he
has also inherited his uncanny knack for mangling words and syntax into
the oddest shapes. When George Bush the elder was on the campaign trail,
he declined "to kind of suddenly try and get my hair coloured, and dance
up and down in a mini-skirt or something, you know, show that I've got a
lot of jazz out there and drop a bunch of one-liners, I'm running for the
President of the United States, I kind of think I'm a scintillating fellow."
The son is prone to the same sort of verbal chaos, and as he swung through
Iowa last week in the run-up to today's caucus vote, the first step in the
nomination process, Mr Bush's minders were on hand to provide simultaneous

"When I was coming up, with was a dangerous world, we knew exactly who the
they were. It was us versus them, and it was clear who the them was were,"
Mr Bush told a bemused audience in a gymnasium at Iowa Western Community
College. Undeterred, he ploughed on: "Today, we are not so sure who the
they are, but we know they're there."

Earlier in the week, he sent reporters into a flutter of confusion by
telling 2,000 supporters at an oyster roast: "It's a world of madmen and
uncertainty and potential mential losses." Even Mr Bush's spokesman was
uncertain quite what a mential loss might be. Mr Bush tends to be coasting
along comfortably on mental autopilot when he runs into a brief but jolting
pocket of grammatical turbulence, finding it hard to broker agreement
between subject and verb. "Rarely is the question asked are: Is our children
learning?" he informed supporters at a community barbecue.

Mr Bush is also prey to what might be called the jammed compact-disc
stutter, when he gets impaled on a single word. "We must all hear the
universal call to like your neighbour just like you like to be liked
yourself." Then there is the grand word glitch, triggered by his occasional
forays into the deeper bits of the dictionary.  Three times in two days,
Mr Bush said that, if elected, he would never "obsfucate".  It is a measure
of the Bush charm that when the candidate finds himself up a blind verbal
alley being assaulted by his own syntax, he is as amused anyone else.
"Bumble through OK?" he grins.

After more than seven years of syntactical precision by Bill Clinton, it
is refreshing to have the Bush-isms back, and a candidate who does not
obsfucate but say things how they are is.

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