Thursday, January 11, 2007

The speech...I was shocked

Let me preface this post with a notice to those who may be familiar with my way of thinking regarding this President. What follows may be a bit surprising for you.

I was able to listen to the Presidents entire speech.

This too me is extremely significant. Under normal conditions I can only stand several seconds of talking by President Bush before my attitude becomes such that I must change the channel. I typically find his demeanor grating, his malapropisms embarrassing, his logic unsound and his overall presentation (as if the audience were all two year olds) objectionable.

The Presidents logic is still as unsound as ever. He repeatedly invoked the James Baker/Lee Hamilton Iraq Study Group findings while announcing policies that directly contradicted that groups proposals. And the nation was still subjected to the stuttering mispronunciation so typical of the President. I particularly object to the Presidents insistence upon use of the word "nucular", and can't help but think whenever he does that that the man with his finger on the button ought to correctly pronounce nuclear.

However something was different about the President last night. His bluster and campaign style sneer were gone last night. As the speech wound along I thought periodically, "how odd... I am not compelled to change the channel. I am actually listening to a speech by President Bush." I remember muttering under my breath at one point "nucular!" but that was the extent of my visceral reaction to the Presidents style.

The end of the speech in particular was noticeable for its variance from what this President, and for that matter past Presidents as well, have practiced. Here is a copy of the transcript as provided by the White House directly: "We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night."

As long as I can remember, Presidential addresses have ended with a variant of "And God bless the United States of America". It is as if the President coded that message in language regarding the "author of liberty". But as I watched the speech end last night I remember turning to my wife and saying "what was that?!" It is as if the President were trying to not invoke God almighty at the end of his speech in an attempt to not offend those who do not have his religious outlook. Frankly it was the capper of a weird speech from my perspective.

I found myself actually greeting this speech with a sense of relief. Not because the President is announcing any particular policy shift I agree with. Rather I'm relieved that it is proven that I am able to tolerate the President when he is being tolerable. It is not just me being horribly prejudiced regarding all things Bush that brings forth the typical loathing I feel when I hear him... There is a reason for it.

That for me was the big epiphany of this speech.

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