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    Take my wife…please!

    Sometimes Amritas is too nice. He quotes a book by one Marie Nishimori called Warning! Never Imitate Him: A Collection of Bushie’s English, which is–how’s this for a novel idea that’ll have you rolling in the aisles?–a collection of the President’s solecisms with pointers on how to avoid them.



    Amritas chivalrously refrained from pointing out what’s on the lady’s homepage, but if you look at the header, you can get a sense of her (unsurprising) politics. (Given Japan’s notorious environmental policies–what one can only hope are the most destructive in the developed world–she’s got her work cut out for her at home. Be that as it may, Nishimori wants the Japanese reading public to know that Bush sucks.) Her way of selling her book is this:


    ブッシュの school yard bully「学校のいじめっ子」的政治にムカついてる方も

    テッド・ニュージェントが日本人を Japs と呼んでることを知り怒ってる方も

    単に英語をお勉強したい方も

    この本を読んで背筋が寒くなりながら爆笑しましょう!



    For those who are sick of Bush’s schoolyard bully approach to politics…

    For those who were angered when Ted Nugent called the Japanese “Japs”…

    For those who simply want to study English…

    Read this book, and you’ll simultaneously laugh out loud and get the chills!





    Ted Nugent? I haven’t read the book, so it’s possible that Ms. Nishimori pads out the Bush part with an excursus into anti-Japanese, anti-Gaia talk of all kinds. But taking things at face value, WTF does something Nugent said on some radio program a few years ago have to do with Bush? Yes, he’s backed Bush for reelection. And Kim Jong-il hopes Kerry wins. So what? There are only two real choices in a US Presidential election; each candidate is going to have legions of supporters who did things he did not endorse. Unless we know that Bush heard of the incident and reacted along the lines of, “Japs? Heh-heh, that’s a good one. Have to use that some time,” it’s irrelevant. And please tell me Ms. Nishimori and other lefties would be wringing their hands over Nugent’s Lenny Bruce-like litany of racial slurs if he’d come out in favor of Kerry.



    Sometimes, I simultaneously laugh out loud and get the chills myself when I think of my political position these days. I’m not really one of those people whose politics changed dramatically after 9/11. It’s not that I was a fount of wisdom about terrorist threats before then, mark you; but I was a Reason-reading guy who believed (living in Asia has a funny way of doing this to you) entitlement programs were sucking energy away from the federal government’s core responsibilities, including strong national defense. And of course, I’m “socially liberal,” which isn’t a term I’m fond of but gets the point across.



    I’ve supported Bush in the WOT, and I think he’s a sincere and likable person. But I’m not a fan. I’m from a working-class family and got into an Ivy League school on my brain; I studied hard to learn an Asian language and majored in comparative literature. Legacy kids like Bush push all my buttons, trust me. And no, the fact that he overcame his typical rich-kid problems with drink and dissolution doesn’t get me all aquiver with admiration at how well he’s redeemed himself.



    Still and all, I was brought up to recognize when I’m being childish, and I know that my feelings about Bush’s background don’t necessarily say anything about his performance as President. There’s plenty to criticize–he’s offered to spend so much federal money that I sometimes wonder why he doesn’t just go the whole way and order the USAF to drop silver dollars from helicopters over all US population centers–but to get to the point of criticizing it usefully, you have to stop foaming at the mouth and start paying attention to the policies. Or not even always policies, exactly: There are potentially troubling questions about the way the Bush family exercises its influence, even if you accept that influence-peddling is how old rich families operate. But you have to look at facts and tease out their implications dispassionately if you expect people to trust your interpretations, and almost no one on the left seems capable of that anymore. And then, of course, you eventually have to confront the question of why Kerry is a better alternative, which is not a task I would wish on my worst enemy at this stage. It’s not surprising that some enviro-nut (if her name is pronounced ma-ree and not ma-ri-eh, as it appears from the way she spells it in Japanese, she may be a foreigner or half-Japanese, BTW) can’t make a coherent case against Bush, and it’s not her responsibility to push effectively for Kerry.



    But I wish someone could. While I plan to vote for Bush, I’d prefer to do so knowing that I’ve had access to a variety of the best opposing arguments and have dealt squarely with them. I don’t mind making a choice I’m not 100% enthusiastic about as long I know what trade-offs I’m making. Unfortunately, “He speaks ungrammatically, and Ted Nugent likes him!” appears to be about as good as the opposition is going to get.

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