Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


No one at NLT has yet linked to Mark Steyn’s indispensible article on Iran, which is well-timed to coincide with Iran’s latest incitement for war--the announcement yesterday that they have passed the uranium reprocessing stage. My guess is that Iran’s crack-brained president actually wants us and/or the Israelis to attack Iran, hoping to explode the entire Middle East while we are overextended.

BONUS for all you NLT trolls: I’ve been reading Ken Adelman’s oral history (part of the Ronald Reagan Oral History Project at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center), where he tells the story of accompanying Jimmy Carter to Wiesbaden, West Germany to meet the freed hostages from Iran. Adelman confirms that the hostages greeted Carter angrily. But the really amazing thing was Carter’s reaction to being told by the doctors of the torture the hostages had undergone. Carter asked the head doctor, "Didn’t they know that this was wrong to do?" The doctor asked, "What do you mean?" Carter repeated, "They know that this is wrong to do." The incredulous doctor could only reply, McCoy-like, "I’m just a doctor. . . I don’t know what the Iranians think."

Adelman thought Carter’s question was "profoundly imbecilic." Just like his presidency.

Discussions - 25 Comments

What a dummy! He should have been more statesmanlike, like our current model of articulation and appropriateness:

"I strongly believe what we’re doing is the right thing. If I didn’t believe it — I’m going to repeat what I said before — I’d pull the troops out, nor if I believed we could win, I would pull the troops out." —George W. Bush, Charlotte, N.C., April 6, 2006

"I believe that a prosperous, democratic Pakistan will be a steadfast
partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India, and a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world." —George W. Bush, mistakenly identifying Pakistan as an Arab country, Islamabad, Pakistan, March 3, 2006

"And I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company." —George W. Bush, defending a plan to allow a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates to manage ports in the United States, aboard Air Force One, Feb. 21, 2006

"Listen, I want to thank leaders of the — in the faith — faith-based and community-based community for being here." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 6, 2005

You have a file of those, just waiting for the opportunity to use them, don’t you?

Nevertheless, I’ll take an inarticulate President over a buffoon who cannot recognize the fundamental realities of the world any day. I have no doubt that in the world Jimmy Carter lives, Jimmy Carter is the greatest president ever.

Moaner: I cannot take any credit for collecting these.


So, FMG, which do you prefer: A President who can’t talk, or a President who can’t think?

I knew I could count on Fung the Moral Giant! (I love that moniker, by the way.)

Mark: As it turns out, talking and thinking are interrelated. Cognition is dependent on language, and vice versa. Unless bush has some sort of impediment, or Wernicke’s Aphasia, or some other neurological disorder, we can assume that the gems coming out of his mouth represent cognitive gems bouncing like frozen pinballs through the tundra that is his mind.

Steve: Thanks! It first appeared in a rant by Dain, and just felt right.

Thanks also for making it impossible for me to address the end of the semester. If you would all just discuss Ohio elections, or something, then I could stay out of it.

Steve, how is it possible that the tone and content of the interaction between Carter and the hostages wasn’t reported at the time.

How was that kept quiet for so long?

You definitely need to include that bit of historic information in the first volume of THE AGE OF REAGAN. YOU DEFINITELY need to do that.

Have a photographer stand around long enough, and even the world’s most beautiful woman or most handsome man can be made to look bad in a picture.

Similarly, anyone who must speak publicly as often as the President of the United States does every day, will, eventually, stumble over words. That somebody actually compiles a list of such verbal gaffes tends to indicate an inordinate preoccupation with the trivial. That somebody then cites the list as if it’s some kind of substantive argument tends to indicate a lack of real thought.

Moreover, some folks are just naturally better, or worse, at speaking off the cuff. Taking such ability, or lack thereof, as an accurate indication of overall mental processes seems to me to be either prejudice or wishful thinking or some combination thereof.

Besides, I think it’s funny how that dumbass Chimpy McBushitler keeps besting all his political foes.

ELC - Ya see, the thing that we need to remember as we recall all of these memories of the President and some of the things he might have said when he was speaking is that the photographer, or picture-taker as you might want to call him, would not need to stand around and wait for very long to catch one of Bush’s almost consistently constant verbal gaffes or spoken blunders. I mean, just because a leader isn’t articulate doesn’t mean that he can’t clearly make a point that makes sense to the American people and the citizens of this country. If there’s anything that the president appreciates in keeping matters simple is the clearcut manner of explaining the nuances of an intellectual argument. See, in Texas we had a saying back when he was in Texas, and that was that some people couldn’t articulate their way out of a paper bag, and I think the President should be proud to say that he was one of them. Understand?


There were some veiled references to hostage anger toward Carter in some of the press coverage at the time (especially Newsweek as I recall), but it was downplayed and drowned out by all the positive Reagan inauguration news. Adelman, interestingly, says in his oral history interview that I’m reading that he thought about telling about this to Reagan in a meeting held after he returned, but decided against it because he thought it would leak out. (It was one of those big meetings in the White House with lots of people present.)

I understand quite well. As I already said, "either prejudice or wishful thinking or some combination thereof".

How is it "prejudiced"? Prejudiced would be jumping to the conclusion that Bush was an inarticulate chawbacon just because he was Bush’s son, or because he wore cowboy-style clothes and boasted of being a Texan as if that were a special nation of its own. But sorry, that’s not the case; I’ve known thoughtful, smart Texans and even a couple of people who dress similarly who were pretty bright. First came the evidence, then came the judgment. I, like many others, have watched Bush and what he says carefully, and he just comes off like a bullheaded idiot (forget all that crap about "steadfastness" and how clever he REALLY is). Considering that I’m not likely to meet him and have a fireside chat with him for a few hours, it’s Bush’s public appearances - replete with his Bushisms and just plain incoherent rambling - that I, and others, have to go on. Sure, the Bushisms ALONE don’t peg him as an idiot with absolute certainty. They’re just the tip of the iceberg. That said, he’s not totally devoid of any mental abilities. He does know what he likes and what he wants. He likes being the leader, the guy in charge.

And how is it "wishful thinking"? Believe it or not, some people aren’t such absolute My-Leader-Right-or-Wrong partisans that they will rejoice in knowing that at least the President from "the other side," that we have to live with for 4-8 years, is as sharp as a bowling ball. If I was engaged in wishful thinking, I would think that Bush was a closet intellectual, and that his lack of grace as an orator, his inability to make clear, articulate arguments, and his hayseed mannerisms were just an elaborate ruse for...for...some purpose that escapes me at the moment.

ELC- I beg to differgree. There are some folks who, you might say, are good with the brain but not good with the words that come out of the brain. But, my point is that how are you going to figure out what goes on in or out of a person’s mind if you do or don’t pay attention to there words and accept them to have some kind of relationship or not to what they might be thinking or thinking of doing or not?

It’s really just like Craig said, if I don’t say so myself.

Jimmy Carter was by most account the worst President of the last 100 years. He made Nixon look pretty good.


I think it is time to give up the argument that Bush keeps on besting his political foes. He may have his first term, but he most certainly is not this term. His poll numbers are terrible, and he has managed a rather surprising feat (although not that surprising if one looks at his policies) of earning the dislike of liberals and conservatives. When conservatives look back on Bush II the only bright spot will be that he managed to nominate 2 (hopefully 3) Supreme Court justices, assuming Roberts and Alito turn out to be restrained.

I find it rather amusing that people keep on proclaiming Bush II is a wonderful politican and leader even though he gives lousy speeches. Almost every political leader that is revered and/or influential was also a good speaker. Here are some examples that come to my mind: Pericles, Julius Ceasar (second in Rhetoric only to Cicero), Cicero (although he did stammer and was quiet towards the end of his speeches he had eloquence and wit), Lincoln, FDR, Churchill, and Reagan. I cannot think of a single famous politican that gave lousy speeches that anyone cares about whatsoever today, or that had a significant impact on history. If anyone can think of an example I would love to hear about it.

ELC- I beg to differgree. Comment 14 by FMG I take that inarticulate comment to mean he begs to

But, my point is that how are you going to figure out what goes on in or out of a person’s mind if you do or don’t pay attention to there words and accept them to have some kind of relationship or not to what they might be thinking or thinking of doing or not? Comment 14 by FMG No doubt he meant their words...

"Uncle Guido" - apparently, you wouldn’t recognize a Bush parody if it jumped off your monitor and bit you in the nose. That would explain FMG’s spelling "errors" and nonsense words. Remember, they were talking about Bushisms!

Now class, I hope we can all appreciate not only WHAT mistake was made by Uncle Guido, but also what his motivation was.

You see, Guido was pointing out to me, and to others on this post, that I had made a number of linguistic errors. The reasons he did that was to support his contention that my argument lacked validity, or adherence to the truth. Guido’s premise was that someone who cannot articulate well must also lack reliability and thus validity.

So, Guido assumed (correctly) that we cannot trust a person whose words are not reliable, or consistent, because then we cannot expect them to reliably or consistently reveal a true message.

So, don’t be too hard on Guido! His only real error was failing to discriminate between someone who violates laws of grammar as a joke, and someone who does it because he is linguistically challenged.

An inarticulate one should not criticize others of inarticulateness.

And those who stitch nine on burning bridges should not cast the first stone before it hatches, or is led to drink.

Uncle Guido, FMG can’t help his inarticulate ways. FMG does stand for Fung the (Michael) Moore Groupie.

I thought it stood for Fung the Moral Gnat.

Saddened: " "Uncle Guido" - apparently, you wouldn’t recognize a Bush parody if it jumped off your monitor and bit you in the nose."

It is a bit sad, isn’t it? He cannot recognize the irony of his attempt to "expose" me, but he can call me names.

FMG: fantastically misguided.


sharp, witty, and entertaining. What would we do without you here Fung?

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