September 5, 2004


Bush common touch is outreaching Kerry (Gwen Halley, 9/05/04, Sunday Independent)

I stayed up last Thursday night to catch Bush's address and for the first time this haughty European understood what the blancmange - sometimes crassly decorated - face of the "United States of Otherness" (David Aaronovitch's phrase) sees in George W Bush.

Admirably sticking to the neo-conservative agenda, Bush continued to speak radically of America as an active non-isolationist force of reform in the world and refused to make any concessions to his critics on Iraq. But above all, Bush showed himself to be a likeable guy - "some people seem to see in me a certain swagger, which in Texas, we call walking," he delivered with dry confidence.

Bush's energy and scamp's grin make John Kerry look like Mr One Flip-Flop in the Grave. The television images the morning after Kerry's Convention speech said it all. Kerry looked feeble, smiled limply and perspired profusely. Bush was pictured bounding onto a podium in a bomber jacket like a Labrador puppy.

LAST week, 'liberated' viewers would have caught the demure First Lady's speech and realised why 70 per cent of America has a favourable opinion of Laura Bush. They would have also noticed the street cred spunky charm of the 22-year-old Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna. More representative of America's young rebels without a cause than Kerry's snooty, cosmo-elite daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa, could ever be.

There is an entrenched belief in Ireland that only civilised, sophisticated, decent Americans vote Democrat and only ignorant, hick, rednecks vote Republican. No doubt buttressed by delicate flowers like RTE's Carole Coleman who summed up Dick Cheney's brilliant political hardball speech last week as "vicious". Carole, you should get out more.

Europe, Democrats and Michael Howard's Tories have a snobby superiority complex towards Republicans that is foul. All are consumed with the fear of appearing common or vulgar.


Posted by Orrin Judd at September 5, 2004 12:20 PM

A blancmange is a basically a milk-based jello shaped into a mold. I've never seen it on a menu and have only seen one reference to it in a Monty Python skit. In the skit some aliens, who were shaped like blancmanges, turned everyone on Earth into Scotsmen because they wanted to win Wimbledon and everyone knows that Scotsmen are the world's worst tennis players. I was about 10 when I saw the skit and I asked my grandfather, who came from a long line of Alsatian kosher bakers, what a blancmange was and he said you'd never like it and gave me one of those classically Gallic faces indicating disgust.

Posted by: Bart at September 5, 2004 12:59 PM

Good find. Thanks for posting this. Eloquently stated.

Re: blancmange?

I had the same question.

Google toolbar to the rescue. Seems to be a Euro synonym for "whitebread", "milquetoast", etc. Bland, gelatinous, whiteness.

Posted by: Purple Fury at September 5, 2004 1:00 PM

In Ireland it is, or used to be, served as a whitish nearly tasteless gelatinous desert (or pudding, as the Brits call it). It's a good metaphor for the doughy pallid complexion of some overweight people!

Posted by: Gael at September 5, 2004 1:04 PM

"The only cogent argument for evicting Bush from the White House in November is that it would put a stop to the obesity of bad art he has inspired over the last four years."

OMG! LOL! Pass that one around. It's a doozy!

Posted by: Andrew X at September 5, 2004 2:46 PM

And then there's this:

"And John Kerry is a discreet, upmarket brand of these ten-a-penny bargain basement sneerers. Smug, sanctimonious, self-righteous and patronising. But beneath the fondant pillow rhetoric, his party is far more exclusive and less inclusive than the Republican Party.

"The 'compassion' associated with the Democrats is a high society affectation. John Kerry is still the father who'd panic if one of his daughters announced she was marrying a petrol pump attendant."

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 5, 2004 3:00 PM

End of the article: "The Right Nation, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, offers an insight into why ordinary Texans prefer Dubya to his father. One Texan felt that Bush Senior - unlike his son - was 'the sort of man who steps out of the shower to take a piss.' In that case, John Kerry is the sort of man who'd step out of the shower to sneeze."

Nobody will be surprised when Dubya carries the married-men vote by 50 points.

Posted by: Random Lawyer at September 5, 2004 5:35 PM

"There is an entrenched belief in Ireland that only civilised, sophisticated, decent Americans vote Democrat and only ignorant, hick, rednecks vote Republican."

When did Ireland become a bastion of civilized sophisticates?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at September 6, 2004 12:14 PM