NRO ON BUSH….Holy Hell. It’s hardly surprising that I thought Bush’s performance on Meet the Press was weak (“labored and uninteresting….like he was addressing a class of sixth graders”), but the fine conservatives over at NRO are piling on in a fashion normally reserved for Jimmy Carter op-eds:

Michael Graham: President Bush looks like he’s afraid of Tim Russert. He’s stammering and unsteady. For the first time, I’ve felt a twinge of fear myself about the November election.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Not to pile on here, but I think lots of eyebrows legitimately raise re: the March 2005 commission deadline. I?m not sure he sufficiently answered that?

Kathryn Jean Lopez: A pundit-type just said to me: “If he loses this year, this will be the day he lost it.”

Rod Dreher: I’m afraid I have to side with Michael on the Bush interview. I kept wincing as the president bobbled his answers….He had better get his act together….

John Derbyshire: Just got through watching the President on Meet the Press. I thought it was a pretty dismal performance. I’ll be voting for GWB in November, but let’s face it, the Great Communicator he ain’t. The tongue-tied blather was coming thick and fast. At times, he looked like Al Sharpton on the Federal Reserve.

Russert: “Why didn’t you establish the intelligence commission earlier?”
GWB: “Blather blather blather. No answer.”

Russert: “Will you yourself testify before the commission?”
GWB: “Blather blather blather. No answer.”

Rod Dreher: ….I can’t believe that fiscal conservatives were relieved by the president’s patently dishonest answer when Russert brought up the spending issue. Russert said to Bush that even conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh are criticizing his spending. The president countered by saying that in times of war, every government spends more money, for the sake of the troops. Which is true, but evades the point of the Right’s critique of this administration’s fiscal irresponsibility. Nobody in Bush’s base is complaining about military spending. It’s all the other spending that’s got our knickers in a knot. Bush had nothing to say about that.

Lopez did meekly suggest at one point that Bush’s performance wasn’t a total disaster, and took comfort from the fact that no one watches television on Sunday morning anyway. That’s about the best any of them have come up with so far.

I’m sure that by tomorrow they will have rubbed the sleep out of their eyes and decided upon mature reflection that it was actually a magnificent performance, but this is what they’re saying now. For once, I find myself in full agreement with National Review….

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