The Washington Pest
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
From newspaper dispatches .....
FORT WORTH -- After nine months of being nearly invisible -- a big outing has been to a Dallas hardware store for flashlights -- George W. Bush made his debut Monday in his latest incarnation: motivational speaker.
Nearly 15,000 people heard the former president, known more for mangling the English language than for his eloquence, reminisce about his White House days.
Many people interviewed afterward said they liked Bush, perhaps even because he wasn't the best speaker of the day. He could have said a thesaurus was a big scaly creature that roamed the planet millions of years ago and they would have applauded.
In Britain, where Bush remains wildly unpopular, the media have been reporting his return to public speaking with incredulity. Some commentators recalled his famous flubs: "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" and "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."
“W” as a motivational speaker? Boggled the mind. So I contacted the well known speaker, Neutered Grinch, to understand what had just happened in Texas.
JB: Neut, can you believe this?
NG: Believe what? You mean, people paying money to listen to a speech by George W. ?
JB: Exactly. I mean, people do pay to hear stand-up comedians. Still,….
NG: You said it. We all like a good laugh, especially with the economy the way it is.
JB: Sure. But this was not marketed as a comedy; this was a motivational seminar!
NG: So you think it takes a good speaker to motivate people?
JB: Not necessarily. For example, I know that you motivated a lot of people. Trouble was, they were motivated to vote for the other party.
NG: Hey! Stop that! You’re sounding like a liberal.
JB: Sorry. You were saying…
NG: Have you ever heard the late William Buckley speak?
JB: Sure. In fact , I have heard him debate the late John Kenneth Galbraith.
NG: Buckley had a rare mastery of the English language, would you agree?
JB: Yes, of course. Although I’m surprised to hear you say that, what with his Yankee accent and all…
NG: Don’t matter; Buckley was a conservative, so I forgive him his accent and his tendency to use two dollar words when a nickel word would have done the job. Anyhoo, what did you think of Buckley’s speeches?
NG: You found Buckley intimidating, didn’t you? Admit it.
JB: Come to think of it, I did. How did you…
NG: A really good speaker intimidates most people, because they know they can never measure up to him. So they lose motivation. But, you take a speaker like “W” -
JB: No, you take him.
NG: What? Ha, ha. As I was saying, a speaker like Bush makes most of us feel, “I can speak a lot better than this guy. So, if he could become president, surely I can make it!” In other words, they are motivated!
JB: Hmmm..interesting point of view.
NG: What, you're not convinced? Remember, this is the man who said -
"All of us in America want there to be fairness when it comes to justice."
"I heard somebody say, 'Where's (Nelson) Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead. Because Saddam killed all the Mandelas."
"Those who enter the country illegally violate the law."
"I can only speak to myself."
"It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way."
JB: So the best motivational speakers are the inarticulate and the semi-literate?
NG: Hey, Nattering Nabob of Negativity! Watch it with them two dollar words!
Jean Biergarten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org