I watched the speech intermittently because I can’t bear to watch President Bush when he’s talking (or walking or sitting or standing still or, in fact, under any circumstances). But I did watch most of it, as much as I could bear. Playing the Bush Speech Drinking Game would have helped but I’d be drunk as a college freshman right now if I had.
Among his many shortcomings, President Bush is simply a horrible public speaker. Tonight, he was at his best, and it was painful to behold. He hit every syllable so his diction came off as clipped and overly rehearsed. He arranged his facial muscles into gernings of “I care” and “This is important” and “I’m Ronald Reagan” – just like as he’d practiced in front of a mirror it over and over.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bush event without immediate reports of fakery:
ABC’s Terry Moran just reported that the only time Bush got applause was in the middle of his speech when a White House advance team member started clapping all on their own in order to cajole the soldiers into clapping, which they dutifully did.
So even the applause was fake.
And here’s an update from from DailyKos:
Apparently, Fox reported the ‘fake applause’ bit as well. Double ouch.
UPDATE: On CNN, Bill Schneider says the Gallup snap poll of mostly Republicans who watched the speech gave Bush a 46 percent favorable rating. Schneider said that what he’s hearing about the speech is that “there’s not a lot new information here.” The message is “stay the course.”