August 26, 2004
There were many reasons why Clayton Williams lost the 1990 Texas Governor's race to Ann Richards despite the large lead he held in the polls through most of the campaign. The turning point for him was probably when he refused to shake hands with Richards before a televised debate. Williams, a political novice who'd ridden his personal fortune and a load of folksy charm to the Republican nomination and favored status in the general election, was perceived as boorish and rude for this stunt, and his poll numbers, already slipping due to a number of other gaffes, slid further downward.
I thought about that when I saw this picture of Max Cleland outside George Bush's Presidential compound in Crawford. I think Kos' assessment is accurate.
So Bush ignores Cleland, and looks like a boorish classless ass by snubbing a war hero triple amputee. If Bush comes out and accepts the letter, he looks weak and outclassed.
The best course of action would've been to send a rep to invite Cleland, and only Cleland (no entourage or media) for a private meeting in the ranch. If Cleland declines, it is he who appears without class. If he accepts, Bush appears gracious, even with the opposition. Thankfully, Bush blew it.
I like Josh Marshall's take
on this, too.
On a related matter, check out this piece on Bob Dole (via TalkLeft).
Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 26, 2004 to The making of the President
It's hard to imagine that lefties would think Bush is boorish. I mean, they've been so praiseworthy up to now that it comes as a shock!
Yep, gotta agree with kevin:
It's hard to imagine that a man who mocked prisoners on death row for their fear of dying would be rude to a war-hero amputee.
I'll bet that Cleland's appearance at the gate sent the Bushies into a fit. Funny how they managed to find TX Land Commissioner (and his American Legion cap) to meet Cleland. Now, does anyone think that Bush would have extended the same rudeness to, say, former Senators Sam Nunn, Warren Rudman, or even Jesse Helms, if they had come calling without an appointment. But to the right-wing crazies who support Bush, his rudeness will have no effect...these people aren't exactly known for their manners.
It was Cleland who looked liked an ass. He supposedly lost those limbs by defending the right of free speech, and now he looks foolish by trying to muzzle it.