Someone sent me a link to a film contrasting the speaking style of GW Bush 10 years ago to today . It's a striking contrast. Nevertheless, I'm conflicted about this one.
[Update (10/12): The server hosting the film seems to be melting down under the strain of links from all over the word. The URL is http://www.blogitics.com/footage/BushTenYrs4MB.mov, and I find that if I try it several times I get “not found” and other errors but eventually it works….]
On the one hand, I think that suggesting that a candidate is suffering from pre-senile dementia is a low blow. Too low.
On the other hand, the Bush campaign has left open the door to this sort of speculation, made it almost inevitable, by mysteriously cancelling Bush's annual physical. (I'm sure his doctor would make a house call to the Bush hacienda if asked to.) The example of Paul Tsongas, who suggested he was well when he was in fact not, ought to make us demand that our candidates level with us about their health.
On the gripping hand, if this film clip is representative (and I have no idea if they just took a particularly good moment or if the ten-year-old clip is what he was like), then Bush was vastly — I mean vastly — more articulate ten years ago than he is today, and if there's any chance that the cause for this striking deterioration is physical, as opposed to psychological, we have a right to know.