Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Regrets? I know some who've had a few.

You know the drill. Does he ever say he's sorry? Not that he has to, but how honest are these regrets?

You know I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said.

And he does give some specifics.

Like 'dead or alive' or 'bring 'em on.'

And he probably should regret the latter. Not because it was irresponsible or because it caused a problem. But because it was pretty clearly, as Dick Gephardt said, phony, macho rhetoric. It was…inelegant.

Any other regrets? Well he has more but it gets less impressive as he goes on.

You know being on this ship reminds me of when I went to the USS Abraham Lincoln and they had a sign that said Mission Accomplished. I regret // that…uh…you know…that sign was there. It was a sign aimed at the sailors on that ship. However it conveyed a…a broader knowledge. It…to some it said Well Bush thinks the war in Iraq is over when I didn't think that. But nevertheless it conveyed the wrong message. So there are things I have regretted.

So he makes sure to say that the sign was somebody else's idea. They had it there. He just showed up on deck and saw it.

The long pause after I regret is curious. I interpret is as a reiterative pause. If the pause could be translated it might be something like 'Didja get that? I said regret.' And what does he regret? That the sign was there.

Then he makes sure to explain that the intended audience was not the nation. It was the crew on the ship. They're apparently myopic. But that damn nosy media caught the subtle banner on camera with their high tech zoom lenses.

Then he says that its message was misunderstood. That must be why it was distasteful to some people. They took it the wrong way. So they were wrong but the sign was there, which is what they misread.

So to recap: He's sorry that somebody put up a sign where people could see it, that made him look bad even tho it shouldn't have.

In all fairness, when giving his list of "proud" moments Bush doesn't actually mention anything that he accomplished or did. Just as he regrets the actions and perceptions of others, he's proud of the works and strengths of others. Share the blame and the credit I suppose.


  1. Actually, I like his defense of the sign: its an attempt to reconceptualize the audience (this was not for you). I can see how, from the perspective of the sailors on the ship, the mission was accomplished. Mission in that particular kairos has a far different meaning than it did for those of us watching from home.

    And I don't assume a president controls anything around them. I bet he couldn't have a sign hung even if he wanted to!

  2. you just like it because you can turn it into a lesson in your greekspeak rhetoric classroom.

    whoever put that sign up there knew the audience. and it's fair to judge the effect of a sign on both the intended audience and the actual audience.

    screaming in a crowded room then saying to 99% of the people in there "i regret that you heard that. it wasn't meant for you" may be valid rhetorically, but it's stupid.

    he says 'take down that sign' -- it comes down. he sees it and likes it -- it's as much his sign as whoever put it up. that's what he asked for when he applied for the job.

  3. Ok, sure, I'm being a g(r)eek speak here. But couldn't we pass blame to the news directors who chose to put the sign in the shot?

    Wasn't the purpose of Bush's visit to congratulate the troops who risked so much, and not to speak to the greater American populace?

    Granted, the Mission Accomplished speech is one of the greatest rhetorical failures in presidential history, but as a complexity person I'm looking to spread blame around the network...

  4. they knew the news services would broadcast it. they knew the audience to which they spoke.

    the editors are to blame for what exactly? presenting something as bush wanted them to?

    that will do sir. enough!


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