They’re on to you, Peggy

I was going to comment on Peggy Noonan’s take on Timmy’s talk with President Um … You Know, but her readers kind of beat me to it. Here’s some some choice bits from the feedback section:

Anyone Can Speechify
Jo Ann England – Aiken, S.C.

This Grandma thinks you’re wrong. I love philosophy–and the truth. It’s not difficult to answer a question when one does so truthfully. When evasion is the objective, then the speaker blunders. Additionally, one has to have an opinion to be able to express one. Those who don’t read or talk can’t be expected to articulate opinions or give clarity on an issue. Anyone who is charming can give a speech, especially one he didn’t write, and especially in this day when he can follow a teleprompter. Yes, Ms. Peggy, you are wrong. But then your base won’t think so, will they?

The Thinker
Mary Hoskinson-Dean – Redding, Conn.

Speeches are (generally) written by other people, and then read aloud–perhaps skillfully.

Interviews require a person to respond in his own words, to “think on his feet” (or seat, as it may be).

I’ll take the thinker any day.

Reminds Me of a Nightmare
Marcia Smith – Los Angeles, Calif.

It wasn’t that Mr. Bush didn’t know his talking points that was disconcerting. Rather, it was that he doesn’t seem to have grown into the office. He couldn’t convey the sense that he had a mastery of his own “vision” of the war on terror, the war in Iraq or the war in Afghanistan. It reminded me of a nightmare I used to have in school: that I was suddenly taking a quiz and didn’t know the subject. I just sat in my seat repeating the subject matter over and over as if that would answer the question.

A Genius, Except When He’s Not
John Fritton – Oswego, N.Y.

Now that is spin. Mr. Bush is a genius in every forum, except for the ones in which he does poorly. I don’t think Mr. Bush is self-conscious. He just feels that running the government is none of our business.

He’s Just Dumb!
John Leach – Chicago

Of course Mr. Bush does better in speeches, because he has someone write them for him. Just because he is good at delivery does not mean he is bright. A bright person is able to respond eloquently to questions posed by him that he should know the answers. I think Mr. Bush’s speech once again proves that he is dimwitted and does not possess the intellect required for the job of commander-in-chief. Which explains why the nation is in such a mess!

He Has No Policy
John Meyer – Tallahassee, Fla.

You’re kidding, right? I would suggest the president’s problem articulating policy is a result of the administration not really having any policy. Tax cuts and posturing for the base isn’t policy; it may not even be good political strategy. Also, “philosophy” implies a critical evaluation which leads to an outlook. Such a process is anathema to ideologues. If the neocon defense is “we don’t like to think things through, it’s too hard,” then, best of luck.

In Praise of Talking Points
Jack Farrell – Thousand Oaks, Calif.

But the president does not write his speeches. No presidents do, I suspect. So all you have shown is the philosophical consistency of Mr. Bush’s speechwriters and his gradual improvement at reading them. Hardly much praise for the president’s mind. You make “talking points” sound so shallow, but Mr. Bush gives every indication of not understanding them completely and coherently, a much more telling window into his mind than formal speeches.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....