W the Communicator

It seems fairly obvious to me that Bush’s biggest problem has been his inability to communicate (a brilliant observation, I know) rather than his actual policies (although I definitely have a problem with a few of those).  If we’d had a president who could argue clearly and persuasively — even with identical policies — his popularity rating (and the Republican Party’s) wouldn’t be nearly as low as it is now.  It’s unfortunate because, on a few of the most important issues, I think Bush actually gets it.

Consider this speech he gave on Thursday to the Manhattan Institute in which he nails it.

Yes, I know it helps when you have speechwriters to improve your language.  But in this case, he’s also right on the substance.

Imagine if we’d had a president who was effectively using the bully pulpit to make the same arguments as Bush makes in that speech.  Imagine we had a president who could make the case in his extemporaneous comments to the press every week while sounding consistently thoughtful, intelligent and knowledgeable.  Imagine how much more effective he would be against an unsympathetic news and entertainment media consisting of 90% Democrats (literally) that nevertheless place a high value on erudition and perceived intelligence.  How much more effective would he have been with swing voters who form their opinions largely on impressions gathered from that same media?

Next time Republicans, can we please nominate such a person?

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4 Responses

  1. Have you read Douthat/Salam’s _Grand New Party_? I’m interested in getting it. Perhaps we could compare impressions.

  2. I haven’t read it but I want to. Too bad they don’t have an audio book version though. It seems like the only free time I have available to “read” actual books right now is in the car.

    Hey, why don’t I just call you whenever I’m driving and you can immediately stop whatever you’re doing and read it to me over the phone!?

  3. Your ideas are always so awesome.

  4. I also like Jonah Golberg’s conclusion. Much of the problem is simply the various conservative camps talking past each other, thanks to Bush.

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