Depending upon how today’s Bushism was spoken–tone of voice, inflections, mannerisms, eye contact, etc.–the quote could be quite endearing. Also, Jacob Weisberg’s latest offering gives us no clue about the rhetorical situation. So what he does is reduce a complicated speech act to a few lines of disconnected, decontextualized text. There is only limited correspondence between the text as displayed graphically and the words spoken by Bush on 18 December 2002 (what, nothing since then?).
Today’s offering just points up how clueless Weisberg is about even the most rudimentary theories of communication, linguistics, and rhetoric. Worse, his Bushisms mislead people into thinking 1) that the president is an idiot and 2) that, by inference, smart people speak “correctly.” End the Bushisms.