- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
We report; you decide
That little flourish, “we report, you decide,” with which FOX radio announcers conclude their segments is actually an accurate representation of their operation. It would also be applicable to FOX TV, which is really nothing but radio with pictures and a written scroll, just in case the talking heads get boring, but I don’t know that they use it.
“We report; you decide” fits perfectly with the binary model of the world in which instinct-driven people reside. Everything is divided into two parts, which exist as separate entities, not connected but in opposition. One party reports/repeats some/same thing, absent any sense of weight or import or time, and the other party decides, leaving what is to be decided totally unspecified. The phrase employs verbs or action words as if they were nouns (“me man; you woman”), in a state of stasis. Conflict may be implied by the placement of the contestants in opposition, in their respective “corners,” but there is no action. The parties never connect.
Given this context, GWB’s characterization of himself as “the Decider,” takes on a whole new aspect. It is even possible that, having listened to FOX news on the road to some event, he was just repeating, being agreeable with how he’d been addressed and aligning himself with all those other “yous” — deciders who don’t do or actually decide anything, just provide an occasion for a rhetorical flourish.
GWB, the Decider, as a rhetorical flourish! Now, there’s an idea that might well explain a lot. Perhaps if his rhetoric had been more grounded, the significance of George W. Bush might not have dissipated so rapidly or totally. His mother once said the family didn’t think he was smart enough. Perhaps that was because his speech was limited by how much he could memorize at one time. His reports had to be brief, unless he was given a speech he could read. Then, that he read slowly was a help because it made his reading sound as if he were speaking off the cuff.
When I think of George W. Bush two images come to mind. Both involve him reading speeches in circumstances he should have been able to ad lib. One is the 2000 high school graduation in Crawford, Texas, captured by David Modigliani in his 2008 movie, “Crawford,” in which candidate Bush reads his introductory remarks from a binder, and the other is the post-plane crash “impromptu” announcement of the “apparent terrorist attack.” In the latter, the President is intent on the notes of his prepared speech and makes sure not to leave them as he hurries from the lectern, the Decider-in-Chief.
Since the timeline of the visit to the Booker Elementary School does not allow for him having written the announcement himself, whatever “remarks” had been prepared for him earlier were either edited or re-written by someone else.
I suppose it’s to be expected that Governors and Presidents have their pronouncements prepared by speech-writers, people who put words into their mouths. But, that George W. Bush was particularly prone to making gaffes when speaking off the cuff apparently still rankles Republicans and accounts for their insistence that President Obama’s major speeches, for which he employs a teleprompter, rather than binders or paper notes, are no different and someone else is doing his thinking for him.
It seems instinct-driven Republicans exist in an http://hannah.smith-family.com/?p=7019 present in which the past is always with them and the future never arrives. That might explain the recent kerfuffle over when President Obama referred to the attack on the building in Benghazi it as a “terrorist act.” That he did it the next day in the rose garden apparently confounded some people, among them the Republican candidate for President, who were still hung up on the questions raised by the fact that George W. Bush “saw” the hand of terrorists before the attacks on the trade center and Pentagon were even over. Perhaps George W. Bush “jumping the gun” was supposed to be (retroactively) demonstrated as normal because Barack Obama did it too. But, by specifying the time when he did it (after more information arrived), Obama (inadvertently) invalidated what was to be proved. Barack Obama is not an instinct-driven man, as the McCain correctly sussed out when an ad declared near the end of the 2008 campaign that Obama’s instincts are “bad.”
That Barack Obama is just like George W. Bush is supposed to prove something, but I’m not sure what that is.
George W. Bush is always on time. His staff apparently made sure of that. But being on time may well be an effort to compensate for his seeming lack of awareness of time as a linear progression or sequence of events. If so, it would explain, for example, why Bush claimed to have seen the crash of the first plane on TV, before it was shown on TV. It would also explain why he continued sitting listening to a reading lesson after the second crash was reported to him. Nobody had told him to move. Then, when they did tell him to leave, he is reported to have resisted because he was hungry and wanted to eat.
Well, the designation of himself as a decider was obviously not a fleeting rhetorical flourish by Bush. Just this April, in an exclusive interview with Parade Magazine, on the occasion of the dedication of the GWB Presidential Library in Dallas, the former President was asked about the biggest adjustment leaving the White House required and he answered:
Not to have this sense of responsibility that you had when you were president and first lady. You know, one day you’re being briefed on world affairs and asked to make decisions, and the next, you’re in Crawford, Texas, you know, and the biggest decision is when do you go mountain bike riding. [laughs]
There it is. “You decide.” Absolutely meaningless.
- Editor's Note: This story also published at Hannah Blog.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
An open letter to my elected, so-called representatives This present Australian Government is trotting dog-like down the path to destruction behind its conservative counterparts in the US and elsewhere, bent on transforming us into a society where the environment, the economy and the national social conscience are left to the tender mercies of the free market and corporate “self-regulation”. Already under threat from human-induced climate change, the Great Barrier Reef now faces the added burden of an assault by coal producers. The hard won – and publicly supported – World Heritage areas of Tasmania are facing fragmentation, and for no appreciable economic benefit Read on →
Oh, I love it and I hate it, Every now and then berate it, The sweet and sunny south where I was born. — Gina Forsyth Image in my head: a tour bus arriving in the republic of Biblestan, disgorging a file of daytrippers, like poverty tourists in a Rio slum, at some ramshackle barbecue joint, hiply-shod, fanny-pack-wearing gawkers shocked at the absence of recycling bins by the dumpsters, saying “Gee whilikers!” and “You betcha!”, having their barbecue not too spicy! then waddling off to the Gift Shop for some outrageous corncob art. I have Chuck Thompson’s book Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Read on →
Instead of naming their new subdivisions the Dune Cottages, the Ocean Forest Cottages and the Riverside Cottages and then running their Dune Avenue down the Sea Island Spit, where the Loggerhead Turtles nest and 144 species of birds come to rest, making reference to the sea of effluent on which their cottages sit would be more honest, but it wouldn't attract many new buyers for Sea Island Coastal Properties' million dollar lots, would it? And it probably wouldn't please the realtors trying to move the 29 extant mansions in the million dollar plus range (For anyone looking to pay less for Read on →
A fellow writer asked me yesterday: What do you read? Which writers do you value? Who influences your style? This knocked me for six. It’s a Big Question. I have a long history in libraries and five bookcases stacked with a lifetime’s paperbacks (cheapskate) and short of trawling the shelves for authors’ names which often escape me, I didn’t think I had time to respond. IRS accounts waiting on my dining table reproach me every time I walk past doing something more interesting. But this intriguing question slipped into my mind’s cogs as they surreptitiously rotated. First off, I admit the guilty pl Read on →