I used to be a high school debate coach, and part of that required me to judge high school debates, and I’ve heard good speeches and I’ve heard bad speeches. On a scale of 30, I’d probably have given Dubya’s speech to the nation tonight a 20.
The message itself was fine. Worded well. As a written text, it would have passed muster. It’s the way Dubya came across, however, that left much to be desired. He looked insincere. He blinked far too often, far too quickly. He was fidgety. He didn’t know what to do with his hands. Quite simply, he looked uncomfortable.
Bush II isn’t the public speaker Ronald Reagan was. He sure as hell isn’t the public speaker Bill Clinton was. I don’t know if Bush realizes the deficiencies he has in the area of speaking. If he doesn’t, someone should really tell him. He needs to come across clearly, efficiently. Above all, he needs to come across strong. He didn’t do that in his speech, either by the words he spoke or the manner in which he spoke them.
It’s my belief that anyone can rise to any given occasion. Perhaps Bush can rise to his. For the sake of our country, for the sake of leaders, friends and enemies around the world, I hope Bush can.