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March 22, 2006

Reading With The Sound Off

Faultytower

How rickety is Bush’s faulty tower?  This is how bad it is: This morning, GW was actually forced to take a question from Helen Thomas.

I don’t know what news briefing CBS was watching.  Although Bush was edgy and aggressive in his own defense, Jim Axelrod reported simply that: “this was a president who was projecting no doubts of his own.”  Scripps-Howard praised  Bush for abandoning “the format of carefully screened audiences and scripted “conversations” — as if it wasn’t so much a political move as a gesture of humility.

In only the second formal news conference of Bush’s second term, the words may have sounded both decisive and more forthcoming,  But the body language — much of it new — ranged from patronizing to desperate.  Forced into a situation where he has no choice but to “talk realistically to people,” Bubble Boy in Chief seems to be developing an expanded set of  defensive gestures to steel himself for the “candor strategy.”

Images 1 and 4 fall under the category of the over-emphatic explanation. 

Number 3 is a hold-over from the first term; it’s the old (and no-longer-effective) bully maneuver. 

6 is new.  It consists of two parts “who can predict these things,” and one part “dog ate my homework.” 

5 and 8 mimic 6, but the overriding communication is really “Get off my back.” 

7 is interesting.  It’s sort of an admission that things are screwed up.  There is also a strong hint of contrition in it.  Ultimately though, it is just a facial gesture. 

And then there is 2.  This will surface a lot after you’ve royally screwed things up and you now must let people walk all over you in the name of a last-ditch candor strategy.





(image 1 and 2: Mandel Ngan/AFP. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews.  image 3:  Paul J. Richards/AFP. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews. image 4 and 5: Jim Young/Reuters. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews. image 6: Paul J. Richards/AFP. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews.  image 7:  Larry Downing/Reuters. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews. image 8: Jim Young/Reuters. White House, Washington, DC. March 21, 2006.  Via YahooNews.)

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