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Political Gaffes Rarely Fuel Anything More Than Political Fires

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Posted by Luis Hamburgh on November 17, 2001 03:42:07 UTC


If Bush oversimplified the struggle between Chechnya and Russia, then perhaps he did it because the purpose of his speech did not require an elaborate history lesson.

Moreover, successful leadership in a democratic republic is not about intellect; look at our most successful presidents, and look at our failures. Overthinking while in a precarious position can be hazardous (consider " all depends on what your definition of 'is' is...").

The presidency is not a monarchy, nor does it represent the peak of a strict and militaristic chain of command (i.e., "Commander in Chief" is more figurehead than strategist).

But this doesn't mean we haven't 'been there.' The US Civil War saw situations analogous to your examples, and it's a lot trickier -- even 140 years later -- to characterize the Confederate States as 'evil,' or just about anything unequivocally derogatory.

Still, we are stuck with George Bush's oversimplified statement.

I too sometimes wish he'd think before speaking, but I am fully supportive of him, as he has done nothing more unfavorable than an occasional linguistic gaffe.

Incidentally, he's getting better about these, too -- his biggest goof was referring to the military campaign in Afghanistan as a 'crusade.'



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