What a weird speech? Keeping Bush locked up in the White House turned out to be a mistake. The crowd wanted to erupt and warmly embrace him. Instead, the whole moment felt rushed and disembodied. And it was clearly hard for him to deliver a full-throated political speech from the White House. All in all, it had the feel of a busted play.
It’s stunning to see the decline in Bush’s rhetoric. Since Mike Gerson left his side, Bush’s speeches have really stopped singing. I can hardly remember a line from his oeuvre these past years. Of course, that may be a greater testimony to the irrelevancy of his second-term. But I'm confident that Gerson would have never written this strange, Nixonland sounding line: “If the Hanoi Hilton coudn't break him, you can be sure the angry left never will."
Update: Crowley has similar thoughts.