By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
In Bush's case, the sound bites are so terrifyingly absent of content that they give new evidence to support the candidate's claim that he's a plain-spoken man.
"I love the wonderful fabric of this state," the head-bobbing candidate said. He then looked down at a sheet of notebook paper hastily handed to him by a campaign aide. "You can move to England and not be an Englishman. You can move to France and not be a Frenchman," Bush twanged. "But if you move to America, you're an American."
The lack of an overwhelming reaction seemed momentarily to stun the weary-eyed Bush. He stood, waiting for applause-head forward, shoulders slouched and gut out, looking as if he'd just seen the latest unfavorable poll numbers. But the applause didn't come. In fact, the Englishman and Frenchman line had already been used-and far better-by Allen.
Bush tried to recover and did, with help from the sympathetic crowd: "Ours is a people campaign. We trust people-not the planners and the thinkers."
Before it was over, Bush's rambling remarks touched simplistically on education ("I don't want to be the federal superintendent of schools"), family values ("We stand on the side of the family in America") and foreign affairs ("I want this to be a peaceful world"). He slammed the "unfair" tax code and dismissed "class warfare," but boldly touted a 20-year, $855 billion tax break for the nation's most affluent. "I won't stand for a tax code that is not fair," the millionaire Republican said.
It came as no surprise that Bush ended his disjointed speech with an effort to give it a theme. He snorted, smiled, and appeared ready to deliver to his patient supporters something life-changing. Then the great lips moved, and he said, "I guess my message is [dramatic pause]: love your children."
"Love your children"; he might have said anything. The crowd cheered and wiggled placards. Red and yellow (the colors of the old South Vietnam flag) confetti shot into the sky. Bush shook hands, posed for pictures, and then rushed off to a private Newport Beach estate where 40 wealthy contributors handed him $1 million.
An elderly couple covered in Bush campaign paraphernalia had driven from Leisure World to attend the rally. They left impressed. "Make sure you write the truth now," said the man, wagging his finger as he hobbled away. "Bush is a fine candidate. He's going to make a fine president."