October 17, 2004
Richard Cohen on GWB
Where it has mattered most -- the three debates -- Bush has been wooden, ill at ease and downright spooky. He makes bad jokes, cackles at them in the manner of a cinematic serial killer and has lacked the warmth that he not only once had but that I thought would compensate for a disastrous presidency and give him a second -- God help us -- term. In short, he could take over the Bates Motel in an instant.
Historians may someday say that the beginning of the end for Bush came last April when Time magazine's John Dickerson asked the president at a televised news conference, "What would your biggest mistake be . . . and what lessons have you learned from it?" Bush, who said the question took him by surprise, said he could not come up with one.
Essentially the same question was asked by Linda Grabel, an ordinary voter, at the St. Louis debate. This time, it could not have been a surprise. But this time, too, Bush could offer not a single substantive example. Aside from making "some mistakes in appointing people," everything had gone swimmingly.
This was a preposterous, dishonest answer. It was either the response of someone who is vastly deluded or sticking to a political strategy conceived by people who do not value truth.
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