Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Paul Burgess Hates Me. (Who's Paul Burgess?)

So Paul Burgess hates me. He hates everyone on "The Left." We're all a bunch of lying haters and hating liars, and we just don't understand anything. Hmph! So there.

Paul Burgess is, apparently, the former director of foreign-policy speechwriting at the White House from October 2003 to July 2005.

What I want to know is this: Why does anyone think that he knows anything?

The assumption is that because he wrote speeches, that he must know something about the administration's policies and about its policy-making process. Except that he doesn't. He may have been witness to some corner of the decision making from time to time -- he may have even felt free to throw in his two cents when he was there -- but for the most part, he was told what the policy was and instructed to construct some prose poetry to make it palatable to the public.

If I ran a news organization, I'd find myself a former speechwriter who had no interest in ever working for any administration ever again and put him in charge of deconstruction. Every time some politico made a speech, I'd put him on the air or give him a blog to pull back the curtain and show how the tricks were done. How he pointed out this, this, and this, but failed to metion these, that, and those. How he used language in a tricky way to distract from gaping holes in logic. Or how every time he mentioned Iraq he mentioned 9/11, and every time he mentioned 9/11 he mentioned Iraq, so that even though there was no real connection between the two, he created one in the backs of the minds of the people listening.

But instead, we get lickspittles like Peggy Noonan, Pat Buchanan, Ben Stein, David "Axis Of" Frum, and now Paul Burgess, all of whom will say, without fail, that President Bush gave a brilliant speech, and that the Democratic responses are full of dangerous thoughts that they dare not repeat, lest they gain purchase. Suffice to say that they're dangerous. DANGEROUS!

Speechwriters are copywriters. That's all. Their job is to sell something. Part of that process may be to convince themselves of the value of what they're pushing, to find the approach that works on themselves first, but that doesn't mean that they know anything. I wouldn't buy a car based on the recommendation of the person who wrote the brochure with the logic that he MUST know what he's talking about, they hired him to write the brochure! (I also wouldn't NOT buy a car based on his supposed insider knowledge, either, without knowing the whys and wherefores. I wouldn't want to pass up a good buy, thinking that it was a lemon, only to find that his animus was towards the executive who kept making him change his copy.)

All I can tell is that Burgess drank his own Kool-Aid. The selective representation of the facts that made up his speeches became its own kind of reality, and he doesn't want to part from it. Of course all "the left" does is hate the president, assuming that you're living inside the echo chamber of the west wing and Fox News. Look what happened when the president's television viewing was left unattended for one evening: He watched a Cousteau documentary and then created a huge wildlife preserve off the coast of Hawaii! No, the only possible explanation for anything is that "the left" hates the president, and irrationally so. (Probably because he's so strong. And steadfast. And resolute. Who else could possibly protect us?) Don't even try to find another explanation elsewhere, or you'll be tainted! It certainly isn't that the conservative protectors of the status quo have become reactionary zealots, dismantling the framework of the country. ("Heh, you don't need all of these here supports. Trust me. Your methodology is flawed!")

(Found, among other places, here.)