Bush is a bumbler

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Bush is incompetent/Bush is a bumbler

Bush has demonstrated that he's a bumbler. This is a theme that can have legs, and "bumbler" is a word that can stick.

It works at a superficial level, in reference to his verbal gaffes, and it works on a far more serious level

  • Bush has bumbled the economy
  • Bush has bumbled education (No Child Left Behind)
  • Bush has bumbled the war on terror
  • Bush has bumbled international diplomacy
  • Bush has bumbled practically everything else we count on a president to do).

There's been an effort to make "miserable failure" the theme. However, "Miserable failure" won't stick. It's too serious. It lackes levity. Bumbling has the same comic element as "flip-flopping".

There's been a lot of fawning over "W stands for wrong". Whose opinion do you change over that? It's preaching to the converted, and communicates nothing damning.

"flip-flopper" and "bumbler" both have another advantage. They can be both a verb (flip-flop), and a noun (flip-flopper). Having both verb and noun forms lets you use it in many more places, effortlessly drilling it into the public psyche.

A noun/verb combo also lets you tune how personal you want to be. You can say "he bumbled that" if you just want to attack an action rather than the person, or you can say "he's a bumbler" when you want to go all out.

Other possibilities: bungle/bungler, botch/botchmaster.

In 2000, the Gore campaign belatedly latched onto this theme, but too late in the campaign to make it stick. Worse, Gore was unprepared when Lehrer asked why his campaign decided to run ads calling Bush a bumbler (they hadn't, as it turned out). Bush got hyper-defensive in a way that won't work in 2004, given the depths that the campaign has sunk to.

Transcript of possible ad

Ad begins with video footage of Bush:

There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.

If old Tennesee sayings were the only thing that Bush bumbled, it might be charming. But President Bush has bumbled far more. His bumbled economic plan has led to the loss of 1.8 million jobs. His bumbled "No child left behind" has left our cash-strapped state governments with an unfunded federal mandate. His bumbled war on terror has resulted in Osama bin Laden still being at large. His bumbled handling of post-war Iraq has left our troops vulnerable, and the world a much more dangerous place. And his bumbled energy policy has left us more dependent and vulnerable to Middle Eastern dictators than ever.

Bush is right about one thing. You can't get fooled again. On November 2, make sure we don't make the same mistake twice.

References

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