Right then, missed the live coverage of the press conference last night. I expect I'll track down a transcript at some point, but from reactions am willing to go out on a limb and say that Josh Marshall's take:
Perhaps my opinions of the man and his record are too set in stone for me to provide an objective take. But, even setting aside the awkward moments where the president couldn't think of any mistake he'd ever made on foreign policy since 9/11, what I saw was a man with a quiver of cliches and a few simple stock arguments. Whatever the question, he grabbed a handful of those and tossed them back.
Is pretty much what mine would have been.
Q Do you feel a sense of personal responsibility for September 11th?
I don't know who asked that one, but I want to smack him across the face.
Bush is no more responsible for 9/11 than Clinton was the first WTC bombing. Let's hold repsonsible for these actions those who committed them.
Which, as the title of this entry points out, is a deliberate misreading of the question. At least I hope it's deliberate. Along with bringing a tactical nuclear device to a gunfight, I got a nasty tendency to overestimate the intelligence of The Playa-Haters on the Other Side. There's a reason I didn't go into primary education, or have children my own self; anyone with far more patience than I care to explain, in simple sentences and using very small words, exactly where she went wrong with that response?
The chess board is the world, the pieces the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. All we know is that his play is always fair, just and patient. But, also, that he never overlooks a mistake or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance. To the man who plays well the highest stakes are paid with that sort of overflowing generosity with which the strong shows delight in strength. And one who plays ill is checkmated without haste, but without remorse. My metaphor will remind some of you of the famous picture in which Retzsch has depicted Satan playing at chess with man for his soul. Substitute for the mocking fiend in that picture a calm, strong angel who is playing for love as we say, and would rather lose than win, and I should accept it as an image of human life. Well, now what I mean by education is learning the rules of this mighty game. In other words, education is the instruction of the intellect in the laws of nature; and the fashioning of the affections, and of the will, into harmony with those laws.
The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy's own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propoganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for centuries to be greatly the inferior of Our Father Below. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient's reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it "real life" and don't let him ask what he means by "real."
But doesn't address the issue as well. Whatever the hell the issue is. I'm making this up as I go along.
I do recommend both Huxley's essay and Lewis' book, but who comes here for the reading list?
Let the ad hominem attacks begin.