Sunday, January 18, 2009

"A small, small man"

Hilzoy reviews Smirky's 2000 Inaugural address and reflects on what it means today.

He's a small, small man, who ought to have spent his life in some honorary position without responsibilities at a firm run by one of his father's friends. Instead, he ruined our country, and several others besides. He wasted eight years in which we could have been shoring up our economy, laying the groundwork for energy independence, making America a fairer and better country, and truly working to help people around the world become more free. Instead, he debased words that ought to mean something: words like honor, decency, freedom, and compassion.

To this day, I do not think he has the slightest conception of the meaning of the words he took in vain.

Sometimes, when I write things like this, people think I am trying to excuse Bush -- as though I cannot condemn him unless I take him to be a scheming leering monster. I disagree. I think that when someone who is not mentally incompetent gets to be Bush's age, if he has no conception of the meaning of honor or decency, he has no one to blame but himself. And to say of a person that he does not understand those things -- that he could stand before the nation and speak the words Bush spoke in 2000 with so little sense of what they meant that it's not clear that we should count him as lying -- is one of the worst things I think it's possible to say about a person.

Read the whole thing.