I have waited a few days so that I have had time to really think about what was said when President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress for the 2007 State of the Union. I have to think that if I were to place myself in his shoes, I might sound different than I did in other speeches. After all, there were close to ten people listening in the chamber that want his job and are more than willing to criticize regardless what he says. Add to that all the Republicans that are seeking re-election in the next two years who do not think he has any “coattails” to ride on and the audience was definitely hostile. Still, I have to say – as I have on many occasions – I think the speech would have been better if someone with more oratory skills had given it.
George Bush is not the best public speaker. He should have, during his eight years in office, realized this and taken steps to correct it. It is possible that he could act more comfortably and spoke much better while governor of Texas. Unfortunately, he should have taken a page from Gerald Ford’s book and gotten help on how to speak. When it comes to formal speaking, he is poor at best. He doesn’t have the right inflection nor the correct facial expressions to detail what he is really saying.
Yes, he looked more somber when giving this year’s State of the Union. I do not think that is because the weight of what he was saying was on him. Nor do I think it was due to the hostile audience. I think it was due to different speech writers and not being comfortable with his own speaking abilities. I think this State of the Union would have received totally different review – under the same circumstances – had it been given by someone else.