May 9, 2007

Obama's getting tired.

He weirdly told a crowd that 10,000 people died in the Kansas tornado, then explained his lapse by saying he was tired. Eugene Volokh says: "Campaigning for President is... an immensely tiring task... Seems to me we ought to cut the man... some slack...." Glenn Reynolds retorts: "Of course, being president is tiring too, and one of the arguments for a grueling campaign season is that it weeds out people who don't function well when tired."

Back in 2000, there were a lot of stories about how George Bush was always getting tired and complaining about the overtaxing schedule. For example, Anne E. Kornblut had an article in the Boston Globe on August 2, 2000, titled "Nomination will keep George up past bedtime; Aides schedule afternoon nap to keep him fresh" (which I can't find on line):
When George W. Bush gives his acceptance speech at the Republican convention tomorrow, it will mark the most important moment in his political life.

It will also be past his bedtime.

That seemingly trivial coincidence has become a source of concern for the Bush entourage, who know well that the candidate's sometimes awkward speech can become even more tangled when he has not had enough sleep. In fact, Bush aides, well aware of the importance of the moment and the needs of the candidate, are scheduling him for an afternoon nap.

Aides deny they have been purposely keeping the Texas governor on a lighter schedule in recent days to give him rest. Although Bush held only one public event on Sunday and two Monday, communications director Karen Hughes said that, outside of public view, he had "a pretty busy schedule."

But the intensity surrounding the campaign has lessened significantly since Bush named Dick Cheney his running mate last week, and it appeared from the public schedule during the past few days that he was pacing himself, much as he did in the early days of the Republican primaries.

On Sunday, after staging one rally and rehearsing his 38-minute speech in a friend's living room, Bush was the first to excuse himself from dinner in order to retire around 9 p.m. Under normal circumstances, Bush is asleep around 9:30 p.m., Hughes said. His convention speech begins after 10 p.m....

Bush has long treasured his private time, reserving time to go running and avoiding events that run late at night.

He faced criticism during the New Hampshire primary from voters who felt he was too laid-back; yet when he did campaign for more than 14 hours on one day, Bush made one of his most memorable verbal missteps.

At an appearance in Iowa on Jan. 21, he told the audience: "When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and we knew exactly who the 'they' were.

It was us versus them. And it was clear who 'them' was. Today, we're not so sure who the 'they' are. But we know they're there."

Hughes's explanation was one she does not seem eager to repeat: "That's how we talk in Texas when we're tired."
Man, I remember reading stuff like this at the time and thinking, great, Gore will win!

49 comments:

Roger said...

Ann--I am not a big fan of the Junior Senator from Illinois, but if this type of mindless coverage is how the media is going to treat one of the most important presidential primary seasons and general campaign, we are in shit city. First time there hasnt been an incumbent or Veep, a war on terror, war in Iraq, social security and medicare looming, and the poor SOB slips and its a story.

(I am personally sympathetic because I am one of those who needs 9 hours of sleep a nite to function well).

George said...

The following anecdotes describe which Presidential candidate:

* High school troublemaker, class disrupter, class clown;
* Unimpressive student;
* Got married while in high school because he got his girlfriend pregnant;
* "He had a way of making you like what he was saying even if you didn't agree with him at first. He had a way, if I didn't think I could climb that pole, of convincing me I could do it."
* "He majored in 'people' in school, not necessarily the curriculum."
* Persuaded a team trainer to go to a store and get him a Coke, a coach recalled.
* Caption next to his senior photo: The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do tomorrow.

a) Barack Obama
b) Mitt Romney
c) John McCain
d) Fred Thompson
e) John Edwards

The answer is not Mr. Perfect, (a).

Balfegor said...

The following anecdotes describe which Presidential candidate:

That sounds like Fred Thompson. Who is, frankly, the Republican's version of Obama -- a fantasy candidate into which primary voters are pouring their hopes and dreams, without paying too much attention to the pablum their candidate is spouting. I find Thompson appealing too, on some level, but intellectually, I think he's creeping up there with Obama (or yr 2000 McCain) on the personality cult scale.

Ann Althouse said...

It's Thompson.

Doyle said...

It's funny to hear Glenn Reynolds talk about the "weeding" process of the grueling campaign season when it just recently produced the laziest (to say nothing of worst) president in US history, whom he supported.

BTW, having voted for Gore in no way excuses the slavish devotion and credulity you've shown Bush since 9/11. Everyone was affected by the attacks. Not everyone lost their mind.

trogdor said...

Ugh. Doyle, I don't like George Bush or Glenn Reynolds and I usually don't agree with Ann Althouse, either, but give us a break.

Fen said...

Barack Hussein Obama: "There are going to be times when I get tired... There are going to be times when I get weary. There are going to be times when I make mistakes."

John Hawkins [RWN]: "Okay, but please, don’t make a mistake with that red button that launches the nukes. That isn’t the emergency call button the White House Pastry Department."

http://www.rightwingnews.com/

Thorley Winston said...

At an appearance in Iowa on Jan. 21, he told the audience: "When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and we knew exactly who the 'they' were.

It was us versus them. And it was clear who 'them' was. Today, we're not so sure who the 'they' are. But we know they're there."


That doesn’t strike me as that odd. If I had to guess at the context, it seems to me that he’s making the point while it was dangerous during the Cold War, we at least knew who “they” (the Soviet Union) were whereas today the threat is often stateless terrorist groups who we know by their actions exist but aren’t always as easy to locate.

AJD said...

Right on target, Doyle.

But it's not just Bush. Anything remotely claiming to be "national security" results in this failure to be critical.

Today's example: the six Fort Dix stooges that Ann would take as seriously as, you guessed it, the hijackers in 9/11.

Fen said...

I'm teasing re Obama. Question though: was there some other stat at 10,000? Was he supposed to say "10k displaced" or somesuch instead?

Doyle said...

Trog -

Sorry. Every crappy secondhand post about Barack Obama as commented on by Glenn Reynolds and his ilk is going to elicit an unfavorable response from me. If there seem to be a lot of them, that's on Ann.

Fen said...

Dolye: Every crappy secondhand post about Barack Obama as commented on by Glenn Reynolds and his ilk is going to elicit an unfavorable response from me.

Why? You do the same re Bush. Can dish it out but not take it?

Fen said...

the six Fort Dix stooges that Ann would take as seriously as, you guessed it, the hijackers in 9/11.

Don't fret. We've given any future AQ-wanna-be's a wonderful After Action Report - what to do, what not to do, how to get caught, etc.

The next batch will do better. Perhaps the Time building - Ana Marie sent to burn unit while Wonkette/FDL make their jokes.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Anything said by any politician, even a faux pas is prime time. Kennedy called Obama Osama and everyone got a chuckle. Bush said the Queen was here in 1776, ha ha.

Considering how many times you see news anchors flub the teleprompter, its almost a sin for them to report on a pol's flub.

Doyle said...

Why? Because what's really getting tired is Ann's constant ankle-biting of Barack Obama.

It's petty nonsense and she knows it but thinks she's doing her part to keep America safe by attacking Dem presidential candidates.

George said...

Yes, definitely Thompson...

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070506/NEWS0206/705060396

I couldn't believe what I read in this story.

Yes, he's definitely the object of a lot of GOP fantasizing, but, geez....

once the football-nascar-baseball-watching lawnmowing-men-of-America who got C's in high school learn about this guy, they'll go nuts. He's one of us!

He's a real "guy."

Remember high school and all the characters you had to put up with...

He's not a stuck-up priss (Hillary).
He's not weird (the Mormon...from Massachusetts... who's into Scientology).
He's not perfect (Obama).
He's not a revered war hero.
He's not pretty. And he's not Guiliani.

Vote Party Animal. Vote Thompson.

Jim said...

Does anyone know precisely who the lucky 9,988 Kansans are? I think we should honor them, to wit:

Barack gets weary
Oh he gets weary
Mouthing the meme of the day
But when he's weary
Deaths in Kansas reach 10k

Fen said...

doing her part to keep America safe by attacking Dem presidential candidates.

Just yesterday she attacked Bush for comparing himself to Lincoln

"Admiring Lincoln. It's delusional. When done by Bush."

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2007/05/admiring-lincoln-its-delusional.html#comment
She pokes fun at Bush for slippng up in front of the Queen

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2007/05/you-helped-our-nation-celebrate-its.html#comments

"I think I'm spotting a trend: sounding tough by talking about bad guys and hell." [re McCain and Guiliani]

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2007/05/hell-talk.html#comments

Christy said...

I want to like Thompson, I do, but the man got bored after one term in the Senate! He just looks like he has gravitas.

Balfegor said...

I want to like Thompson, I do, but the man got bored after one term in the Senate! He just looks like he has gravitas.

I won't disagree with the second sentence there, but my understanding on the first is that (1) at first, he didn't want to run for re-election for term-limits type reasons, (2) he decided to run for a second term because of 9/11, and then (3) he ultimately withdrew at that time because his daughter had just died.

Eli Blake said...

Everybody can make a gaffe. And unless it is clearly planned out and reveals something otherwise hidden about the real person (i.e. 'macaca,') I'm not sure where the story is.

However, his admission that he is tired sounds genuine, and the writer does have a point-- being President requires a great deal of stamina and some people don't have it. And this is only May, eight months before the Iowa caucus.

Which candidate has the most stamina? I'm not sure, though I suspect it's probably Bill Richardson, who has gone on grueling trips involving a lot of shuttle diplomacy and come back looking like he's ready to go do it again, and who also once got into the Guiness Book for breaking a record that Teddy Roosevelt had set for shaking hands during a single campaign event.

But for a candidate to admit he's tired just four months into the campaign, does raise questions (though the gaffe does not.)

Eli Blake said...

Also, be careful about picking on Ann--

I think this is her other business:

Althouse karate and kickboxing academy.

TMink said...

Doyle wrote: "Why? Because what's really getting tired is Ann's constant ankle-biting of Barack Obama."

Then don't come here man! That is the way to be free from that which you are tired of. And I think of you as an ankle-biter because of the content, generally the lack of content, of your posts. I bet you are a pretty smart person, I just wish you would share more thoughts and fewer insults.

Obama got tired, I bet. I cannot imagine the process that all the candidates are going through. Getting elected is different from being president, and his and other people's slips do not influcence me at all.

Senator Obama is too liberal for me, that is why I will not vote for him.

Trey

Kirby Olson said...

I'm tired of Obama.

Ann Althouse said...

How is this a "crappy second hand post" when I dished out all that good old stuff about Bush that isn't even available on the web? You are so damned ungrateful!

NSC said...

I'm sorry but you guys seem to be concentrating on one part of Thompson's life and ignoring all the time he spent as a successful prosecutor, his work on the Watergate hearings, and a good Senate showing. Like him or don't but there is more to the man than the list Ann quoted.

Plus the guy has charisma out the ying yang and we all know how far that took Clinton.

Fen said...

was there some other stat at 10,000? Was he supposed to say "10k displaced" or somesuch instead?

Obama campaign spokesperson now say Obama meant to say "at least 10 have been killed"

Tally is 12.

Really doesn't follow. Here's the orignal quote: "In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed,”

Does "At least ten people died - an entire town destroyed" make any sense? Lots of towns in Kansas with a pop of 10?

I'm tired of Obama.

Oh stick around a bit. Hillary is going to savage the lightweights like Obama and Edwards in the primaries. Will be fun to watch it unfold.

Code Red said...

One slip, I'm shocked that everyone is making such a big deal about this.

Ann mentions that some believe long campaigns weeds out those that can't function well when tired? Hmm, who in the world can?! If there are people out there that can do it (without drugs or obscene amounts of coffee), I'd like to know!

George said...

Christy--

You may be right about Thompson not having gravitas, but we do know that he can fog the minds of mere mortals and get them to do his bidding, such as getting him a Coca-Cola during football practice.

Prof. Althouse--

Do not be discouraged. We like you. Could you please get me a Coca-Cola? Thanks :) !

Fen said...

One slip

Red, does the statment:

"at least 10 have been killed - an entire town destroyed"

make any sense to you? I can understand a slip, saying "10k killed" when you meant "10k displaced", or even "ten thousand" killed when you meant "ten killed" [maybe b/c you're looking ahead to the next line about thousands of dollars in losses].. But "10 killed - an entire town destroyed"? I think he was winging it.

dbp said...

Maybe Obama's cue-card said 10 K, meaning 10 killed and he saw it as 10K or ten thousand? Could be something simple and dumb like that.

dbp

Revenant said...

It's funny to hear Glenn Reynolds talk about the "weeding" process of the grueling campaign season when it just recently produced the laziest (to say nothing of worst) president in US history

Doyle either believes that US history started sometime during the 20th century or has simply never bothered reading anything about the Presidents we had during the 19th.

Anyway, even if we accept the idea that Bush is the laziest President in recent history, Doyle's argument still makes no sense. Obviously SOMEBODY is going to be the laziest, no matter how hard the rigors of campaigning are. The existence of a "laziest President" does nothing to refute the claim that the election cycle weeds out people who are too lazy for the job.

Doyle said...

That's a good point. The laziest president wouldn't necessarily be lazy in absolute terms.

But if you don't count clearing brush, which I guess qualifies as work even though he seems to enjoy it, he takes a lot of time off.

ricpic said...

Prudence is a higher priority than stamina in the makeup of a president.

Revenant said...

he takes a lot of time off.

You have to actually *read* the articles, Doyle, not just link to them. As the actual text of the article explains, Bush's time in Crawford is "time outside of Washington", not "time off".

The CTO of my company is seldom at headquarters. That doesn't mean he isn't busting his ass in whatever city he IS in.

sonicfrog said...

ajd said:

But it's not just Bush. Anything remotely claiming to be "national security" results in this failure to be critical.

Today's example: the six Fort Dix stooges that Ann would take as seriously as, you guessed it, the hijackers in 9/11.


Ajd, I guess you didn't get the memo, since there were no hijackers on 9/11 (Bush / Cheney did it) and for the first time in history steel was melted by fire.

Back to your point. Is this plot not as serious because they were going to blow up some military personel vs civilians, or is it not as serious because they didn't have the opportunity to pull it off.

PS. Trogdor, are you a member on the USMB?

Synova said...

I don't think the town had a population of 10,000 but maybe. The entire town *was* destroyed, all but the grain elevator and a bar. At least I remember something about a bar and I don't know how much damage the grain elevator took but it's obviously still standing.

Okay, looked it up. They've been ball parking it at a population of 1,500 for Greensburg, KS.

George said...

I'm all for having lazy presidents, if it means that they know the value of having 'free' time to think and to plan strategery.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Teddy Roosevelt was another 'cowboy' who would bail out of DC on a regular basis, usually for several months. I guess that was 'lazy,' too.

Reagan took naps regularly, as did FDR. Guess they must have been 'lazy,' too. Smart executives know their limitations and maintain sufficient margin in their lives.

I don't know which tires me out more -- the bloviating Senate gasbags who think they can be president ... or the niggling little minds who still hate their fathers and transfer that onto anybody in power with whom they disagree.

The virulent hatred of someone you've never even met is just plain sick. Disagreement? Fine. Explain rationally how and why you disagree. Offer clear and rational alternatives.

Otherwise STFU. Raging at a surrogate Daddy is the mental model of a three-year-old.

Fen said...

Maybe Obama's cue-card said 10 K, meaning 10 killed and he saw it as 10K or ten thousand? Could be something simple and dumb like that.

Obama [corrected]: "at least 10 have been killed - an entire town destroyed"

To be fair, the statement makes sense of the "10 killed" were residents of the town that was destroyed. Was that the case?

Hey said...

Who functions well tired? Corporate lawyers, consultants, investment bankers... Professionals where the industry is based around a very small, very bright group of people who can perform at a very high-level day after day, week after week. Very good computer programmers and engineers also fall into this - see NASA - as does the military.

Most senior corporate executives get by on very little sleep and are constantly traveling. It's not a common trait iun the general population, but it is a very economically advantageous trait to have. You'll note that very many successful politicans also have this, since they can outwork their competitors. It doesn't ALWAYS make a difference, but it tends to be important. Clinton (42) is a master of this, since he enjoys meeting people and playing to a crowd (insert obvious jokes here).

If Obama is tired NOW, he's in deep, deep trouble. Too many people are stupidly partisan on these things - there are well intentioned criticisms and concerns and there are malevolent ones. Obama mis-speaking is news because he is perceived as being excellent at staying on message and giving superlative speeches. Certain people go after Bush's every verbal slip - and at least one publication has a near daily feature of them - even though we're all aware that he's very prone to malapropisms. It's so bad that even quickly cauight and fixed slips get broadcast "17.. er 1976" gets turned into "1796".

Screwing up when you're speaking for several hours every day isn't a big deal. Everyone does it, and everyone will get called out on it. Making a habit of it will hamper (but obviously not kill) a campaign. Can we try and not get stupidly involved in this, since there's still 8 months to the start of the primaries? Hyper-partisan campaign style commenting and blogging is beyond tiring. The usual trolls are likely to blow a cerebral vein if they keep up the outrage level. Apoplexia 24/7 is unsustainable!

Fen said...

Hey, good points, but I think the question is whether Obama tried to pull a Katrina or made an honest mistake. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Fen said...

Then again, if Obama was a Republican and I was a Democrat, I'd be chanting Obama Lied! for the next eight years.

Bill said...

Doyle said... Every crappy secondhand post ... is going to elicit an unfavorable response from me.

Blog comments need something like a Usenet killfile, so the rest of us don't have to waste time scrolling past such commenters.

AllenS said...

Obama is articulate, clean and tired.

Fen said...

Blog comments need something like a Usenet killfile, so the rest of us don't have to waste time scrolling past such commenters.

Agreed. I wish Blogger would upgrade its tech. I've been on a few gaming sites that allow you to ignore all posts from one user with two mouseclicks.

Having stike [s] and underline [u] tags would also be useful. Not fair that Ann gets them and we don't :)

johnstodder said...

He just looks like he has gravitas.

Kerry had the same problem.

Roger said...

Gravitas is 2000 media speak; nuance was 2004 media speak. Guesses on what it will be for 2008?

Luckyoldson said...

I'm tired of Bush.