that was until now thought to be impossible happened just after
Al Gore turned down George W. Bush's offer to appear in a sequence
of carefully chosen (and unlikely to be widely televised) debate
venues. Bush added a new riff to his standard stump speech about
cutting taxes and beefing up the military. "People want a president
who says what he means and means what he says," Bush complained,
accusing Gore of reneging on a promise to debate anytime anywhere,
a promise no one else remembers Gore making.
But imagine for a moment what might
happen if what Bush is implying here is true. What if Bush does
say what he means and mean what he says? Shouldn't we first be sure
about what it is he's saying?
Thanks to Slate Magazine's
Jacob Weisberg, we now have some help in deciphering the man's peculiar
brand of English. Weisberg's list of Bushisms, updated weekly, is
an indispensable aid in getting a fix on the candidate who hopes
to "change the tone" of American politics, but wants us
all to know that Adam Clymer of The New York Times is "a
major league asshole."
Here are eleven top picks from the
1. "Well, I think if you say you're
going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness."
-CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000.
2. "I'm gonna talk about the ideal
world, Chris. I've read-I understand reality. If
you're asking me as the president, would I understand reality, I
Hardball, MSNBC; May 31, 2000.
3. "I think we agree, the past is
over."-On his meeting with John McCain, Dallas Morning News,
May 10, 2000.
4. "It's clearly a budget. It's got
a lot of numbers in it."-Reuters, May 5, 2000.
5. "Reading is the basics for all
learning."-Announcing his "Reading First" initiative in Reston,
Va., March 28, 2000.
6. "I understand small business growth.
I was one."-New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2000.
7. "The senator has got to understand
if he's going to have-he can't have it both
ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road."-To
Florence, S.C., Feb. 17, 2000.
8. "We ought to make the pie higher."-South
Carolina Republican Debate, Feb. 15, 2000.
9. "I know how hard it is for you
to put food on your family."-Greater Nashua,
N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000.
10. "It was just inebriating what
Midland was all about then."-From a 1994
interview, as quoted in First Son, by Bill Minutaglio.
11. "Actually, I-this may sound a
little West Texan to you, but I like it. When I'm talking about-when
I'm talking about myself, and when he's talking about myself, all
of us are talking about me."-Hardball, MSNBC, May 31, 2000.
Interpret these quotes as you will.
Weisberg's more extensive list can be found at http://politics.slate.msn.com/Features/bushisms/bushisms.asp.