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The Return of Mangled Speechifying

By Brian | March 6, 2009 | Share on Facebook

They told us that when George W. Bush left office, the days of politicians who couldn’t put a sentence together would be long gone.

Oh, how wrong they were.

First up, Vice President Joe Biden, discussing the website that the Obama administration has setup to track stimulus spending:

You know, I’m embarrassed. [to an aide off-camera:] Do you know the Web site number? I should have it in front of me and I don’t. I’m actually embarrassed.

Not to worry, Mr. Vice President. If you get confused, all you need to do is check your tube. Each tube has it’s own number, after all…

Moving on to our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, speaking to 500 young Europeans at the European Parliament:

I have never understood multiparty democracy. It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy

So, wait – our democracy has been around since the days of ancient Greece? Maybe we can resolve that whole “dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans” thing after all…

For the record, she also referred to EU Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, as “High Representative Solano” (no word if he actually was high at the time), and European Commission External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as “Benito.”

The reaction? Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering:

What you said mostly could have been said by a European

Really? Which European, exactly?

Finally, we leave actual politics and enter the world of political commentary, both to increase the bi-partisanship of this post, and also because there’s a certain kind of joy that comes from poking fun at Rush Limbaugh:

We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. We believe that the preamble of the Constitution contains an inarguable truth, that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, freedom — and the pursuit of happiness

Well, maybe you believe that’s in the Preamble, Rush. I think it sounds a lot more like the Declaration of Independence. Except, believe it or not (and I’ll admit I found this surprising), the Declaration never once mentions the word “Freedom.”

Sigh…at least they can all pronounce “nuclear.”

Topics: Political Rantings | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “The Return of Mangled Speechifying”

  1. Ilya says at March 7th, 2009 at 8:47 am :
    Not in defense of Hillary or anything, but I guess you might make a case that American democracy is the longest continuous democratic system in the world. Certainly neither Greeks, nor Brits, nor French can claim that their current political systems uninterruptedly go back into 18th century.

  2. Jeff Porten says at March 12th, 2009 at 4:22 am :
    Man, you’ve been posting plenty. You don’t have to stretch this far to look for a blog-worthy news item….

    Biden: Um… he forgot something and had an aide remind him? To quote Jon Stewart, this is a guy who told a man in a wheelchair to stand up last year. That’s a gaffe. The only mistake here is “web site number”.

    Clinton: America can take credit for being the modern inventor of democracy, either in 1776, or during the Jefferson or Jackson administrations, depending on who you ask. We borrowed many concepts from the much older Athenian version, but the one they had in Athens doesn’t fit the current definition all that closely.

    According to the Internets, Solana’s title is European Union High Representative for Common, Foreign and Security Policy. So, technically, he’s high all the time.

    Limbaugh: with all the man says, this is the error you jump on? Hell, even I’d say that by his standards of credibility, this is correct so long as you grade on the Rush curve.

  3. Brian says at March 12th, 2009 at 8:42 am :
    @Jeff #2 – relax, buddy. This was intended as a Jay Leno-style jab, not a Bill Maher-style rant.

    That said, I brought up Biden specifically because of the “what’s the number?” comment, which I’m sure will live on like the “series of tubes” comment did from a few years back.

    Limbaugh is a lot easier to stomach if you take him for what he is – a radio talk show host who’s really, really good at getting people to listen to his show every day – as opposed to a force in Republican politics (which even he admits is not the case). This comment struck me as funny because it’s not one of those ambiguous statements that political opponents call “lies” when they’re really just disagreements, but a very basic misstatement of a simple fact. And in a pre-written speech, no less – it’s not like he was caught off guard and misspoke….

    As for Hillary, I think both you and Ilya are rationalizing for her. American democracy may be the longest lasting, the most modern, and the most successful, but it certainly wasn’t first. Yes, the Athenian model differs from ours, but that’s because ours evolved from theirs. Even Secretary Clinton is now claiming that the remark was due to exhaustion on her whirlwind introductory tour of the world.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, when George W. Bush mispronounced the names of world leaders at the beginning of his term, the media labelled him a doofus. Interesting that we’re not hearing that now about HIllary…

  4. Jeff Porten says at March 25th, 2009 at 10:29 pm :
    Perhaps because anyone who has been conscious since 1992 is well aware that Hillary’s grasp of world affairs is sound, whereas there was plenty of substantiating evidence that Bush’s grasp of the world in 2001 would shame an eighth-grader?

  5. Brian says at March 26th, 2009 at 12:08 am :
    I have no desire to get into a pro-Hillary/anti-Hillary argument here, but I will say this: there’s also plenty of substantiating evidence that Hillary will say anything to anybody if she thinks it’s what they want to hear (cf. her rapidly changing position on NAFTA, her repeated claims of Bosnian sniper fire, and her on-again/off-again status as a federal employee while pitching her first healthcare plan).

    IMHO, Hillary’s style as a politician is much closer to George W. Bush’s than it is to Barack Obama’s.


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