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Tender loving care

A lot of attention is being paid to President Bush's off the cuff remark about "Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." (downloadable from here.)

Now, the President is renowned for fumbling when he makes impromptu remarks. I'm sure what he was trying to say was that doctors, especially obstetricians and gynecologists, are motivated by their love for people, that they care about their patients, and they are being driven from their devotion to helping women by the skyrocketing costs of malpractice insurance, and that this is wrong, and...

I'm sorry. I can't continue. I'm giggling even as I type this, and I burst out laughing every time I watch that. I remember once Molly Ivins (back when she was funny) describing George Bush the Elder blindly wrestling with a sentence, fighting over every word until, exhausted, he reaches the period and agrees to call it a draw. It's obvious that his son inherited this remarkable gift. Half the fun of watching him speak extemporaneously is the bated-breath anticipation of just what will actually come out of his mouth.

And it's never something bland, it's always a particular twist of word or phrase that will just score a bullseye on the nation's funnybone. Many so-called comedians would sacrifice their mothers to come up with material as remotely funny as what the President does entirely naturally.

But there is another point here. Bush knows this, admits it, even embraces it. Remember his line at the convention about knowing it was bad when Arnold Schwarzenegger was correcting him? Just try to imagine John Kerry saying any such thing.

You can't. Kerry was born without the gene that allows him to make self-deprecating jokes. I can recall exactly three instances, and they revolve around a common theme:

1) When asked by Tim Russert, about his testimony about war crimes before Congress, Kerry responded (NOT "answered") with "the real question, Tim, is what happened to that fabulous hair?" or words to that effect.

2) When introducing his "band of brothers" on the campaign trail, Kerry repeated the mantra "we're all a little older, a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country."

3) When giving the qualifications that he and Senator Edwards had to serve as President and Vice-President, he listed among their virtues that "we've got better hair."

Just imagine if John Kerry had made such a statement as "oo many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." (giggle, snort, guffaw) We'd be subjected to a steady stream of campaign surrogates explaining that Kerry meant exactly what he said, with long lists of prior statements that reinforce some nebulous (I'm sorry, "nuanced") position that was consistent with his gaffe. Kerry's detractors would then go digging and find a long list of prior Kerry statements that show just the opposite. Some doctor that's supported Kerry would come out and explain that what Kerry said is indeed 100% accurate and it's degrading to the whole medical profession to keep bringing up the issue. And finally the New York Times or the AP would track down the person who first reported the statement and find a way to link them to the Bush campaign.

But with Bush, though, you know what will happen. He won't say anything. And we won't expect anything. We're used to it, we're comfortable with laughing at his malapropisms and understanding what he was struggling to say. And at the next event where Bush is expected to say something humorous (say, at the next Gridiron dinner), he'll make a joke about it at his expense.

I want a president who can make self-deprecating jokes. It shows a humanity, a comfort with himself, a willingness to acknowledge, even embrace, his own strengths and weaknesses.

But in the meantime, though, I leave you with this thought:

"Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."


(laughing so hard, I can barely hit the "save" button and publish this thing...)


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Tender loving care:

» Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam

» TechnoChitlins linked with This is just, well, sad

» Little Miss Attila linked with Perfectly Hilarious

» Hopeful Cynic linked with Monday Morning Humor

Comments (14)

Didn't Kerry, in an effort ... (Below threshold)

Didn't Kerry, in an effort to defend his service record, on the "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (clearly, the political show of record) say that he only had just learned that he was never in Vietnam?

If it weren't so sad, that'd be funny.

That is a funny story. Bush... (Below threshold)

That is a funny story. Bush's fumbling with statements is actually a strength because it causes opponents to "misunderestimate" him. He's a bit like Lieutenant Columbo. In the TV show, the elite, stuck-up bigshots thought he was an inept moron until they realized he was about to nail 'em for murder.

BTW, have you folks seen the negative stories about Bush today? One after another: The deficit, the 1000 dead soldiers, more stories on Bush's National Guard Service, etc. And now the media is going after Cheney for his remarks about what would happen if the Kerry-Edwards ticket wins (terrorists would attack us, etc.). They claim that the Bush campaign as "gone over the line." Does anyone really believe the new media don't have a horse in this race? For example, the New York Times has become the newsletter for the DNC. Even Fox News Channel is piling on.

I'd rather watch Bush fight... (Below threshold)

I'd rather watch Bush fight emotions on television anyday that sit and listen to a man who can't determine his own past (good or bad) leaving it for all of us to figure out.
When watching GWB at the RNC talk about 9/11 as his lip was quivering, it solidified my belief that he is truly my president.
Dick Cheney's comments the other evening were dead on. If JK/JE are elected we can pretty much sit back and wait for another attack. It will be very easy for the scum terrorists to find a way in the back door since JK will be over in France asking JC what his opinion is and what he thinks we should do.
I can only think of one other president that wore his heart on his sleeve and I still get teary-eyed everytime I think about the funeral. What a great man RR was.
The emotions that GWB showed firms my belief in his love for country. Any fumblings in speach he makes shows him human side and right you are that he will make light of them himself instead of defending them.
I'll be so damned glad when the election is over so we can watch JK fade into the sunset.

"Off the Cuff"? Sounded to ... (Below threshold)

"Off the Cuff"? Sounded to me like he speaking from prepared text.

Ya know, it's not only</... (Below threshold)

Ya know, it's not only the OB-GYNs who don't get to practice their love with women all over this country.

What about the little guys? They have a problem too! :-D

Sorry, couldn't resist. ha,ha,ha....

"All my OB-GYN children"...... (Below threshold)

"All my OB-GYN children"...

This is the story that asks the question "Can a middle aged baby-doc find love and happiness on a stainless steel examination table and follow his dreams between the stirrups?"...An epic American struggle "period piece" that proves an Obstetrician can still be horney at the end of a full day at the office... Coming to a clinic near you......

I've noticed how Kerry is s... (Below threshold)
David C:

I've noticed how Kerry is so completely incapable of self-deprecating humor. It's very telling, I think, especially since self-deprecating humor has become almost essential for politicians these days. The funny thing is, he's telling jokes that have the outward form of self-deprecating humor, but are actually *self-aggrandizing* in content! The message of the hair jokes is, "Why yes, I do have great hair, don't I?" And then there's that embarrassing joke about being born in the west wing of the hospital....

You bad. As a read this art... (Below threshold)

You bad. As a read this article, I knew it was written by you, Jay. Bush freely admits he's no "speaker" and always makes fun of himself. I call that humanity and it's one of the things I really like about this man. Kerry has and is MONOTONE, no nuances, no ups, no downs, no laughs, nada, nothing and I can't imagine having to listen to that for the next 4 yrs. If by some reasonable horror, that happens, I hope I go dead and blind.

"I hope I go dead and bl... (Below threshold)

"I hope I go dead and blind."

Umm. Do you mean "deaf"? 'Cause if you were dead, then you'd most certainly be blind.

However, dead AND blind would most certainly be the best redundant solution to keep from having to hear Kerry speak.

One possible variation migh... (Below threshold)

One possible variation might be.

"dumb and bland"...

Then to complete the survival strategy you could turn off the color on your monitor and put "Leonard Nemoy sings Great american Marches" on the CD....

"Too many OB-GYNs aren't ab... (Below threshold)

"Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

And guys across the nation are grateful for that. ;]

"Too many OB-GYNs aren't... (Below threshold)
John "Akatsukami" Braue:

"Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

Resulting in their abandoning obstetrics to become auto mechanics?

I am not certain I understa... (Below threshold)

I am not certain I understand this thread. What I am hearing you all say is you are certain you are voting for the right man because he can laugh at his inability to speak eloquently? A bit of lip quivering during an obviously well practiced speech (I'm assuming he fumbled the line on OB/GYN's as it was written) and you are convinced?

So, to recap, it is not the policies, the state of the country, the deficit, the wars but instead the self-deprecating aw-shucks attitude from Bush that convinces you he is the right man for the awesome responsibility of the presidency?

Well said Scout! People wil... (Below threshold)
Barry McCockener:

Well said Scout! People will find any dumb reason to vote for someone. That's why we have so many idiots in office. They like Bush because he is a "good ol boy", not too smart, doesn't speak well, or explain himself well. We want a president who is not smarter then us and doesn't use too many big, hard to understand words, as long as he can make a few jokes, laugh at himself and come back with a few "one-liners" that are real zingers.

Lets send billions to "rebuild" Iraq. We don't need the money at home. So what if the health care system is falling apart, half the country can't afford medical insurance and we are trillions in debt. We need to help the Iraqis. They need to be liberated! Its worth spending the money to liberate them because they love us now. So, what if over 1000 americans are killed. Lets build them a world class hospital with free medical. Why did we attack that country again? oh, yeah it was because we were in big danger. They had weapons of mass destruction that we gave them to fight the Iranians. But don't you think the world is a safer place without Sadam. No! there are pleanty of other cruel crazy dictators in the world, we can't kill them all. Who should we attack next? Iran, Quatar, Chechnia, South Korea, Lebanon, every other arab country? We have just managed to piss them off! lets hit the bees nest some more. Maybe Saddam was the only one who could keep his people under control. Once we toppled him to "free" the iraqis all the many extreme factions in that POS country can go nuts now. They will kill each other, kill americans and blow up anything that we try to build for them with your hard earned tax dollars.

So lets all vote for Bush! So what if he wasted your money, so what if he is giving your money to the American-hating Iraqis, so what if is a complete idiot, so what if we are in a huge deficit. We must vote for Bush! because it's patriotic to have american troop die for no good reason. And, the main thing is he has a great, self deprecating-sense of humour. Boy, that GW sure makes me laugh. I thinks I is gonna vote for that there good old boy. He done real good at makin' me chuckle, reminds me of my ol uncle Jed!






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