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August 10, 2004

Composure in a President

In yesterday's Impromptus, Jay Nordlinger mentioned (one of) the latest indications of John Kerry's thorough dishonesty (bracketed text is Nordlinger's):

As you know, John Kerry did something low — another thing low — in mocking President Bush for his behavior in that Florida schoolroom: "Had I been reading to children, and had my top aide whispered into my ear [that] America was under attack, I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had something he needed to attend to."

Uh-huh. The White House is taking pleasure in circulating Kerry's words from June 8, on the Larry King show: "And as I came in [to a meeting in Senator Daschle's office], Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid were standing there, and we watched the second plane come in to the building. And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table and then we just realized nobody could think, and then boom, right behind us, we saw the cloud of explosion at the Pentagon."

Nobody could think, huh, for all that time? Between the second World Trade Center plane and the Pentagon? Yeah, that's rough-and-ready Kerry.

Let me adopt a bit of Nordlinger's tone and ask a question: can't you just hear the differing explanations were Bush their guy? I sure can:

Running out of the room would have done nothing except to alarm the children and possibly, through the media representatives in attendance, set a tone of panic for one of the most frightening days in American history. The President stayed put, figuring that finishing the event was more productive than standing in a back room while security personnel assessed the risk of moving him and while his assistants gathered together information about what was going on — from accurate descriptions of what had happened to preliminary reports about the early warning signs on the planes to intelligence community notes about the likely breadth of the attack.

Under pressure, he kept his cool and showed more concern about the immediate requirements and considerations for his behavior than about some hostile movie that a partisan filmmaker might unleash just before the next election. That's the sort of composure we want in a President.

One can debate whether this is an accurate description of Bush's thought processes — on its own merits as well as in light of his movements throughout the rest of the day. (I'd say it is accurate, with the necessary caveats about the messiness of real life.) But can't you just hear the sincerity in the voices of those making exactly the same argument — probably embellished — had it been President Gore in that classroom?

Posted by Justin Katz at August 10, 2004 11:51 AM

There was an article the other day about the teacher in that classroom and how President Bush's action that day made her to wanting to vote for him.

Posted by: Jeff Miller at August 10, 2004 10:33 PM

It doesn't matter what President Bush actions would have been, in the eyes of every Bush hater it would have been the wrong choice.

Posted by: cometcurzer at August 11, 2004 2:06 PM