Slate, which mercilously savaged Bush’s mangling of the English language is now doing the same to John Kerry.
What’s telling is that while Bush is a terrible speaker and atrocious rhetorician, Kerry is too – but in an entirely different way. While Bush is generally inarticulate, his words are quite plain. When Bush says we’re going to “smoke out” “evil doers” he means exactly what he’s going to say. Bush isn’t the type to hide behind linguistic subterfuge.
On the other hand, Kerry’s speaking style is so full of caveats, equivocations, and double-speak that he’s hardly intelligeable. Kerry is pathologically unable to get to the point about anything. His speech is filled with unnecessary verbage and longwinded answers to simple questions.
At the risk of being an armchair psychoanalyst, there’s something telling about the way these two candidate torture the English language. Bush may not be an intellectual, but he’s forceful when he needs to be and clearly speaks in the language of the common man. Kerry is quite the opposite – a man whose language makes finding a straight answer like finding an albino boll weevil in a cotton field. It’s the language of the indecisive, someone who must weight each consideration in painstaking detail before issuing a non-committal answer indicating a general desire to potentially do something about that if perhaps all sides can come to agreement on the shape of the table. Or not. It’s all relative.
In a world where information needs to be acted on immediately and the country needs a leader who is willing to be clear, concise, and resolute, it seems like Kerry’s inability to be any of those things is an indication of why he is the wrong man for the job.