Tinfoil, Extra Chewy Edition

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.

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9 Responses to Tinfoil, Extra Chewy Edition

  1. Doran G. Williams, Attorney at Law says:

    May I relate this possible health issue to the “bulge in the coat” controversy? If anyone would ask, I would counsel extreme caution in speculating what those bulges were in Bush’s suit coat. We are dealing with some extraordinarily sneaky Texans; I know this to be true, being a Texan myself. Here is my concern: That Rove et al will let the suspicion and outrage about Bush being wired build to a crescendo and then, professing that they had hoped to keep this private out of respect for the President and his family, but cannot due to the accusations and hysteria fostered by the internets (sic), they will disclose that Bush has osteoporosis, or some other degenerative bone condition, that requires him to wear a back brace. Or, the President, himself, may make the announcement in a tearful interview by one of his media sycophants. Hell, they may even have him in a wheel chair a week or so before the election. Note that Bush has delayed his usual medical check up until after the election. This will be the FDR ploy. It fits in so well with the Rovian approach to make Bush look like FDR as a war president. If the question is asked of the President about the bulges by one of his media sycophants during a friendly TV interview, it probably will be: “Mr. President, are you wearing some sort of radio transmitter or etc etc.” This will be the perfect opportunity for the President to shed tears and humbly claim that he has to wear a back brace for medical reasons. This approach, even if the medical condition is a hoax and the back brace a prop, will garner the President sympathy enough to swing the election. The question should be asked by a legitimate reporter, before the question-answer can be staged, and it should be: “Mr. President, are you currently under the care of a doctor for any form of degenerative bone disease which requires you to wear a back brace?” If the answer is yes, then follow up questions about the President’s health and what it would mean for the country if Cheney had to take over, would be proper. If the answer is no, then the wired/transmitter theory looks even stronger. This is not a far out theory of mine: It seems so out of character for Bush’s handlers to load him up with a back pack radio transmitter, knowing he will be not only on TV, but in the company of regular (as regular as anyone can be who is still “undecided” at this time) people in a TV studio.

  2. Alan says:

    Indonesia requires presidential candidate to have a physical administered by the electoral commission. The main reason is their unhappy experience under President Abdulrahaman Wahid who is almost totally blind and proved unable to do the physical work of the presidency.

  3. Ruidh says:

    The last time Bush skipped a physical, he lost his flight certification. This time, he should lose the use of AF-1.

  4. David says:

    Thanks for the Motie reference. It’s been quite some time since I read Niven and Pournelle.

  5. thomas says:

    Absolutely amazing. I remember reading a few years ago that Bush was actively trying to discourage
    the whole Ivy-League thing by sort of trying to sound like a “man of the people,” and that’s why
    the journalist said he sort of tried to use folksy language, but it’s been getting worse and worse.

    I think it’s ridiculous to think that this is orchestrated in any way…it looks like the weight of the presidency, really. Matt Drudge had pictures of Bush’s hair when he took office, and his hair 4 years later…he really looks about 15 years older now.

  6. Brian Boru says:

    Did Tsongas know how bad a condition he was in? My recollection, which might be wrong, is that he th0ught he was in remission.

  7. To be honest, my initial impression from Bush’s failure to stutter was not that he’s since contracted some serious neurological disorder, but that he must’ve repeated that talking point about 250 times prior to that governor’s debate to have been able to parrot it out in such a polished fashion…I’m sure after a few thousand more rounds of the “mixed messages” talking point, it’ll sound just as smooth…

  8. Mojo says:

    Having suffered through Bush’s governorship, I can say categorically that Bush’s speech patterns haven’t changed dramatically except that he gives a canned speech better than he used to. He’s never been able to speak off the cuff and, when stressed, he slides rapidly into incoherence. The only reason it wasn’t obvious before was that he so rarely allowed himself to be put into such a situation. Rarely holding press conferences, demanding pre-submitted questions, sets of canned talking points on most issues, limiting appearances to friendly audiences, and simply failing to answer difficult questions have been the techniques that got him this far. Remember, he sounded like a moron during the Gore debates as well but people were distracted by Gore’s sighs, subterranean expectations of Bush, and blue dresses.

  9. jvandrade says:

    Sorry about the crosspost:
    As I’ve seen on other sites, such as Cryptome (http://cryptome.org/bush-bulge.htm), this bulge has been evident for some time, not just this debate. Are there even more pics of Bush from the rear where tghis is visible?
    As shown in the above Cryptome link, there is evidence that this is part of a package bought by the White House (http://cascanning.tripod.com/miscfreq/president.html).
    Many blogs are theorizing that Bush has some form of pre-senile dementia, basing this on his deteriorating speech patterns, so evident when you look at video from prior to his running for president in comparison to today.
    The use of this system provides an alternate explanation to his deteriorating speech patterns: if he is indeed being fed his lines via a prompter, his speech pattern could show that by using shorter phrases almost exclusively.
    The time between phrases would be equal to the length of the phrases. Hence, to preserve the appearance of natural speech, the phrases sent audially would have to be short so that the delay between them is short.
    If you examine his present performances, you can see that his speech consists of short 5-6 word phrases, consistent with this theory.

    The positioning of the receiver is interesting. The Bush camp required that no pictures be taken from behind. Since the receiver is on his back, that requirement would also minimize any obstruction or interference. This would also imply that the transmitter is behind him physically. I wonder what or who is behind him physically during the debates. The person on the other end could only be one of a few people as well, someone with more knowledge than Bush on the subject. Not just anyone can perform this task: where is Mr. Rove, for example?

    As for the system used, you would not be able to listen in if the system were encrypted, as is more than likely the case. At the very least, you could detect the signal and thereby prove something was being transmitted.
    Further, the system could be jammed (ECM). Since ECCM is potentially used in the receiver, the form the ECM would take depends on what forms of ECCM are used in the receiver. The jamming signal could be as simple as a noise diode or CW signal amplified or even a repeater that would just overlay the signal on itself again and again making it nearly incomprehensible.
    The operating frequency is known to be roughly around 600MHz (UHF), amongst the TV frequencies. Portable phones also operate near this range. If you had an amplifier with a high enough compression point, you could modify a phone to provide a signal strong enough to potentially capture the receiver, locking out the intended signal.

    Yet another option for the Kerry camp is to get one of these systems themselves and use it to determine that the other side is using it, if not be able to listen in.

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