Yesterday’s Bushism of the Day:

“I always jest to people, the Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they’re getting ready to come in and tell me what for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed by the atmosphere. And they say ‘man, you’re looking pretty.'” —Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2004″

Now, the context, which Slate persists in refusing to link to:

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Learn and not learn about the Cabinet?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: . . .

This is a job that requires crisp decision-making, and therefore, in order for me to make decisions, I’ve got to have people who bring, you know, their point of view into the Oval Office and are willing to say it.

I always jest to people: The Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they’re getting ready to come in and tell me what-for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed by the atmosphere and they say, Man, you’re looking pretty.

Therefore, you need people to walk in on those days when you’re not looking so good and saying, You’re not looking so good, Mr. President. . . .

What exactly is there that’s remotely mockable about this? I report, you decide.

Incidentally, people occasionally fault my criticisms of the Bushisms. “They’re just a joke,” they say. Well, they are attempts at humor — but they are attempts at humor that criticizes Bush. (See the Introduction to the Bushisms book, excerpted here.) If you’re going to criticize someone, it seems to me that you should do it fairly and aptly. Many of the Bushisms strike me as unfair and inapt, which is why I comment on them.

Finally, someone suggested that this is petty nitpicking on my part, and that I should move on to more important things. I offer a deal: If Slate stops its petty nitpicking of Bush — and nitpicking which strikes me as often incorrect — I’ll stop my petty nitpicking of Slate.

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