Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Friday, October 08, 2004

One of the reasons I love sports is that each sport, by its character, demonstrates certain basic truths about human existence and amplifies them so that they are easy to see. One of my favorite things about the sport of soccer is that, particularly at the highest levels, it is so low-scoring that one team can dominate the entire match with superior play, but the match will be decided by what is essentially a freak play in the waning minutes.

Wouldn't it be weird if after all of the crazy, ignorant and downright disastrous things that the Bush team has pulled off during the last four years, what finally brought them down was getting caught feeding Bush lines through a radio receiver?

Now, before you dismiss this as just utter ridiculousness, it's common knowledge that Bush has, at certain points in his speaking career, used a radio earpiece instead of a teleprompter. For example, when Bush said on the campaign trail that the world was a dangerous place because of "potential mential losses," it was pretty obviously the result of Bush being unable to parse exactly what had come through the earpiece, since there is no such word as "mential" (and it was clear Bush meant "missile launches." ) Also, there are numerous reports of Bush's earpiece being slightly audible while he uses it, which sometimes creates a disorienting effect for people very close to him when he's speaking.

That's the sort of thing that would be a bit embarrassing if people found out about it, but really, it's no worse than using a teleprompter, particularly if the president has some sort of distance reading problem, a rather common learning disability.

However, using one in a debate would obviously be something very different. It would show, leaving questions of fair play aside, that in a fundamental way, there is really no one there. That would pretty much doom Bush in terms of his reelection, since his whole selling point is his alleged "character."

Now, it would actually surprise me if this turned out to be true. The risk is so great, and Bush's ability to debate off-the-cuff is not THAT poor that a sane person would take a risk like that. But desperate candidates, especially incumbents, do some desperate things sometimes, and despite what you may have read (though you wouldn't have read such things here, of course) Bush is in desperate trouble in this election and has been for months.


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