Wednesday, November 06, 2002
Why Bush won... and truly Bush did win this election.
From deep in enemy territory--the U.K. paper the Guardian--this rundown is aptly described by Mark Shea of Catholic and Enjoing It! as The dawning and dreadful horror of the situation occurs to a member of the chattering classes:
The response when [Pa. congressional candidate] George Gekas finally introduces his star visitor is ecstatic. That's no big deal: this is a handpicked crowd. But Bush's 35-minute address, a tweaked variation on the standard stump speech he's been giving across the country, gives a clue as to why Dubya is still enjoying approval ratings healthily above 60%.
For one thing, he delivers it well. It's a surprise, given the satirists' depiction of him as a linguistically challenged dunce, to see him speak fluently and without so much as a glance at any notes. And hearing him at length is different from seeing a soundbite on the news. It will break liberal hearts to admit it, but he's good.
In marked contrast to his dad, who always came across as an East Coast aristocrat, Junior has mastered the common touch. The case for tax cuts, for example, is that "the best economic stimulus is to let people keep more of their own money." And when explaining the need for educational standards and new exams, he has the wit to turn to the high-school band and say: "I see some of the seniors here, glazing over, saying, 'Oh, no, I hate tests.' Well, too bad."
The language is folksy and accessible throughout - even on the most grave, international questions. The war on terror is explained like this: "See, it's a different kind of war we face. In the old days, you could destroy tanks or aeroplanes or boats and know you're making progress. [But] these are the kind of people who hide in caves and send youngsters to their suicidal deaths. They don't care."
Europeans may baulk at the simplicity of that, but it's potent and effective. Here he is on Iraq, explaining why he urged the UN to enforce existing resolutions. "I went because I want the United Nations to be a strong body, not the League of Nations. I went to remind them that if their word is not kept, they will become nothing but a debating society, unable to keep the peace."...
By the way, according to the Post, Gekas lost in a close race to Blue Dog (conservative) Democrat Tim Holden.