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The Optimism of George W. Bush

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posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 07:52 AM
Given the current political efforts of the President to define himself as the candidate of hope and Kerry as the epitome of doom and gloom (see current ads), I started looking into the various political analyses of the strategy.

As one might expect, around any election season the incumbent naturally defers to standard glass half full imagery as necessitated by the implications of running on your own past performance. The challenger is left with the reformist take or glass half full approach. Again, this is nothing new. No one had more to brag about in the 2000 election than Gore for his participation in the Clinton/Gore economy of the 90's, but Bush still managed to talk it down. Given his current ad strategy that "pessimism never created a job" we could almost certainly agree with Bush considering the damage he's done since convincing voters just how bad things really were in 2000.

With this in mind, I eagerly began researching for examples of the new and improved optimistic-all-the-time Bush expecting to find more on how great we're doing. And there's some. He's really fond of the rapidly approaching Iraqi handover deadline. And pretty punch drunk over all the former white collar executives starting their new Wal-Mart jobs. But for the most part, I guess there's not much to say. So where's the optimism?

I can certainly understand being cautious, since there's such a thing as being TOO optimistic. It's called being "foolhardy" and Bush has definitely been charged with his share. But he's learned his lessons since proclaiming 'Mission Accomplished,' 'Osama is Job #1' and acting on 'Slam Dunk WMDs' ...seemingly settling in somewhere around "cautiously optimist" just before the election. No criticism there.

But is this really true? Is Bush that optimistic? I found this fairly brainy analysis from a year ago on the negativity of George W. Bush in The Nation. It may have been discussed before, but I think it deserves a revisit given the current tangent of the campaign.

Compare these examples of how President Bush versus Roosevelt responded to America's most deafening failures of their respective times:

Bush is a master at inducing learned helplessness in the electorate. He uses pessimistic language that creates fear and disables people from feeling they can solve their problems. In his September 20, 2001, speech to Congress on the 9/11 attacks, he chose to increase people's sense of vulnerability: "Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.... I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight.... Be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat." (Subsequent terror alerts by the FBI, CIA and Department of Homeland Security have maintained and expanded this fear of unknown, sinister enemies.)

Contrast this rhetoric with Franklin Roosevelt's speech delivered the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He said: "No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.... There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces--with the unbounding determination of our people--we will gain the inevitable triumph--so help us God." Roosevelt focuses on an optimistic future rather than an ongoing threat to Americans' personal survival.

Note how the article from 2003, not only in this example but others, goes so far as to call Bush a "master" of his rhetoric. In fact, he's a genius at it. For all his historical negativity, he now paints an image of Kerry as the nay sayer as vividly as any novelist of fiction. For all his own directional meandering, it's Kerry that's the flip flopper. Amazingly well done Mr. President.

I expect the new Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11 to further illuminate these little quirks of Bush, especially the double speak of fear equals optimism (continued from the Bowling For Columbine theme).

And no, Michael Moore has nothing to do with this analysis. I just stuck him in to yank your chain.

posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 08:16 AM
Bush as a political candidate is like any other and Kerry is not different, depending the moment and the circumstances the seem to try to touch the soft spot on the public minds, in 9/11 he has to sound as sorry and sad as the rest of the nation but at the same time cover his behind for this tragedy under his term and stand up again as a strong leader that will persecute the wrong doers like a terminator type of character because that what people wants in a leader. (Seek, target and destroy).

But not always his choices had been smart and history is here to collect, analyzed and criticizes, and that is our job as the people of this country.

I don't find him pessimist but more like a person like any other that takes advantage of situations to look better in the public eyes.


posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 08:19 AM
I don't know if you guys have ever been in a leadership role, especially one of that magnatude. Sometimes Optimism is all you have. It's VERY hard to not let all the negativity get to you. I'm just thinking of him as a person here, not including whats said about what hes done and stuff.

posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 08:38 AM

Originally posted by d1k
I don't know if you guys have ever been in a leadership role, especially one of that magnatude.

As a matter of fact, most ATS members are ex-presidents. I, for example, am Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I know what you're saying.

But about the implications of Bush's various messages, I'm just asking is it really all that optimistic? I've heard a few analysts now describe how the perception of America has changed so drastically in just the past few years of GWB rule.

We've gone from exporting hope to exporting fear. Is it really that different than how the terrorists operate? On a fundamental level, of course, but if the purpose is fear...that's terror IMO. Optimism? Sure that things will never change. And what things we do say will change seem unrealistic. We will find WMD. We will make the evil doers pay. We will get Osama. We will get the domestic anthrax terrorist. We will find the CIA leak. We will...

Man, I can't type one post without that damn Bush ad coming on...AGAIN. Optimism, optimism....what optimism? I'm optimisitic Kerry will win. My take anyway.

posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 08:46 AM
Well, what do you want from a wartime president?
"We are going to get our butts kicked, we'll never stop the enemy and they are going to plant explosives in your granny's bloomers any day now!"

posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 08:47 AM

Politicians and political leaders have to be like that so they can make sense of the things they do and like a salesman they have to make their goods attractive to the consumer, even if is rotten.

They have to be optimistic or the public will see them as week, and a nation do not want a week leader.

And yes they do appeal to the nations anger, hopes, fears and accomplishments to further gain approval from the people. They use mind controlling words and phrases and manipulation. Not everybody talk about this but people knows but and as long as things go smooth and we are reassure of our safety we tend to ignore the sings

posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 09:09 AM
All the positive war talk I concede as just doing what you have to do, like Marg and TC alluded.

I know you don't send FOX the videos of the "dumb bombs" just the "smart ones".

But I sense the bulk of Dubya's "stay positive" message now is centered on the economy. Which is why I brought up his campaign against Gore.

Did Bush's pessimism have anything to do with his recession? Or is it all just bunk talk every candidate is guilty of?

I know people like to credit Clinton's successes to Reagen and Bush's failures to Clinton and Carter's failures on wait, that was Carter's fault. :shk: See what I mean?

posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 09:33 AM
I will tell you something, bush does not have anything positive about the economy to say. Because since he has been in power the economy have gotten worst, and that is a fact, he's hole campaign centers in his war against terror, the economy is like trying to cover the sky with the palm of his hand and that is impossible.

[edit on 21-6-2004 by marg6043]

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 06:45 PM
Maybe Bush can afford to be "optimistic" about some things. Say things already in the bag. From his "Imma War Time Pres-e-dent" interview with Tim Russert on Meet The Press.

Did anyone overlook the implications of this exchange?

Russert: Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican

President Bush: Yes.

Russert: said he is absolutely convinced we will capture Osama bin Laden before the election.

President Bush: Well, I appreciate his optimism. I have no idea whether we will capture or bring him to justice, may be the best way to put it. I know we are on the hunt, and Osama bin Laden is a cold-blooded killer, and he represents the nature of the enemy that we face...

Russert: Do we have a pretty good idea where Osama is?

President Bush: You know, I'm not going to comment on that.

Can anyone think of a reason why waiting to bring "a cold-blooded killer (that) represents the nature of the enemy that we face..." is better than just serving him up pre-Iraq war? And if you did know where he was, when would you produce him? Optimistically speaking?

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 07:50 PM
I guess bush is so optimistic that now he is going to use his daughters to gain some public opinion back because the polls are killing him.

Ossama bin laden is bush last resort and he is keeping him for the right moment to bring him out. I still going to vote him out with bin laden or not.

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