Brian Edwards Media

The President’s Speech

The horrors of training George W. Bush to speak English.

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  1. All of which reminds me of poor old Dan Quayle, Vice President to George W’s dad. Dan was notorious for getting a little confused. Some sort of problem with his conceptual apparatus, it seems. A US General at the time said Quayle reminded him of one of his grandchildren when they’d been given too much sugar to eat. Quayle’s own father seems to have agreed: “He doesn’t have the greatest smarts in the world. His main interests in school were broads and booze.”

    Here are a few selected quotes:

    (1) Space Exploration:

    (Addressing the 20th anniversary celebration of the moon landing): “President Bush, Mrs Bush, My Fellow Astronauts…”

    (In a speech to NASA employees):
    “It’s time for the human race to enter the solar system.”

    (Press comment on Mars exploration, 1989, referenced in a Washington Post article “A Quayle Vision of Mars): “Mars is essentially in the same orbit…Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.”

    “Space is almost infinite. As a matter of fact, we think it is infinite.”

    “Those same asteroids which promise material riches can be a threat as well.”

    “For NASA, space is still a high priority.”

    (2) Politics

    “I’m not part of the problem. I am a Republican.”

    “You do the policy, I’ll do the politics.”

    (During the Vice Presidential debates in 1988, Quayle emphasised his experience and went on to say): “I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.”

    (Talking about his political enemies, 1989):
    “I’m the Vice President. They know it, and they know that I know it.”

    (Discussing John Sununu’s resignation and apparent lack of flexibility): “This isn’t a man who is leaving with his head between his legs.”

    (In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, 1989): “The other day the President said, I know you’ve had some rough times and I want to do something that will show the nation what faith that I have in you, in your maturity and sense of responsibility. He paused, then said, Would you like a puppy ?”

    (3) The Past and the Future

    “I have made good judgements in the past. I have made good judgements in the future.”

    “People that are really weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.”

    “The future will be better tomorrow.”

    “We don’t want to go back to tomorrow, we want to go forward.”

    “It’s a question of whether we’re going to go forward into the future, or past to the back.”

    “We will move forward, we will move upward, and yes, we will move onward.”

    (4) War

    “We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a PART of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a PART of Europe.”

    The US victory in the Gulf War was “a stirrng victory for the forces of aggression.”

    “Vietnam is a jungle. You had jungle warfare. Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, you have sand. (There is no need to worry about a protracted war because) from a historical basis, Middle East conflicts do not last a long time.”

    “The global importance of the Middle East is that it keeps the Far East and the Near East from encroaching on each other.”

    (5) Various

    (After the 1989 San Francisco earthquake):
    “The loss of life will be irreplaceable.”

    “It is wonderful to be here in the great State of Chicago.”

    “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”

    “I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.”

    (Regarding former KKK leader David Duke’s candidacy): “Unfortunately, the people of Louisiana are not racists.”

    “We will invest in our people, quality education, job opportunity, family, neighbourhood and, yes, a thing we call America.”

    (When asked to define ‘wetlands’): “How about if we just say when it’s wet, it’s wet ?”

    (In a speech to American Samoans in 1989):
    “You all look like happy campers to me. Happy campers you are, happy campers you have been, and, as far as I am concerned, happy campers you will always be.”

    “A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.”

    (During the 1988 Election Campaign): “Votes are like trees, if you are trying to build a forest. If you have more trees than you have forests, then at that point the pollsters will probably say you will win.”

    “It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”

    “Stop this lunacy before it gets out of hand.”

    (During a visit to Hawaii in 1989):
    “Hawaii has always been a very pivotal role in the Pacific. It is in the Pacific. It is a part of the United States that is an island that is right here.”

    “Japan is an important ally of ours. Japan and the United States of the Western industrialized capacity, 60 percent of the GNP, two countries. That’s a statement in and of itself.”

    (In a speech to the Christian Coalition):
    “My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and will never, never surrender to what is right.”

    “People who bowl vote. Bowlers are not the cultural elite.”

    “Republicans have been accused of abandoning the poor. It’s the other way around. They never vote for us.”

    (Speech to the United Negro College Fund, 1989, mangling the Fund’s emphasis on fully-developing one’s intellectual potential):
    “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or, rather, not to have a mind is a tremendous waste. How true that is.”

    “Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.”

    “One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is “to be prepared.”

    “Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.”

    “I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy – but that could change.”

    (Speech to Holocaust survivors):
    “The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But we all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century, but in this century’s history.”

    “Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.”

    “I couldn’t help but be impressed by the magnitude of the earthquake.”

    “We’re going to have the best-educated American people in the World.”

    (At a Job-Training Centre in Atlanta):
    “If you give a person a fish, they’ll fish for a day. But if you train a person to fish, they’ll fish for a lifetime.”

  2. O for Oarsome