Farewell President Bush…

President George Bush gave his last speech as President.
It was good – here’s why:

George Bush is not a man of great communication, but he is a man of great character. Whether you agree with his faith or his decisions, you have to respect, and hopefully admire, his consistency and his integrity.

That is what was on display tonight. And it WAS President Bush at his best. Readers of this blog know that I have said that he lacked basic communication skills – and this is tragic for a person at that level of leadership. The Bully Pulpit is powerful, and should be used.

So in tonight’s speech he was at his communicating best. He’s not an orator, and he did not have to push or advocate or persuade. He could just be himself. Authentic. And that is what true communication is all about.

7 comments on “Farewell President Bush…

  1. Hi Bert,
    Thanks for posting this.
    Part of the problems President Bush has is that he has been successful in preventing another terrorist attack on US soil. I think that many of us have forgotten what September 12, 2001 was like; George Bush never forgot.
    He deserves praise for the amazing way that he has dismantled terrorist networks. Hopefully, one day he will hear the praise.
    Kathy Sierra has a great blog posting on communication skills. It applies to President Bush.
    Here is the link: http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/04/when_only_the_g.html
    Once again, thanks for posting this.
    Jeff

  2. Bert, I was thinking about this posting after I wrote my initial response and wondered whether my distaste for the man and his communication style was obscuring something that,as a communicator, I should pay more attention to.It’s not enough to have a personal reaction, I have to quantify where the communications process has gone awry..
    For me, it comes down to the importance of knowing one’s audience. It seems the communications did not reflect an understanding of how an audience’s perceptions and mood affect what they are ready/able to hear. The economic crisis, for instance, has really changed “audience” perceptions about free-market capitalism and how safe people feel -which in turn, means people are more ready to hear harder truths about solutions and to reconsider the “common knowlege” on topics from health care to tax rates. The language used and the arguments put forward by the president, including his unseemly emphasis on his own historical legacy, seem rooted in another time and mood.
    I do agree that consistency is a virtue in communications – it takes many “touches” for a message to take hold, but the White House comms people seem to have forgotten that we don’t all like to be “touched” in the same way – and that is a failure of communications.
    Like Mark, I want to thank you for writing such a useful post.It really got me thinking and it seems that it will keep on prodding me!

  3. Bert,
    Kudos to you for a fair-minded assessment of the speech last night. And gutsy, too, on your part considering the low job-approval ratings President Bush is leaving office with (35% in a poll I heard today on CBS Radio).
    IMHO, Bush will end up like Truman, who was also a poor communicator who left office with very low approval ratings. Both men made unpopular choices and led us into unpopular wars. Truman was eventually treated pretty well by historians. I bet the same happens to Bush.

  4. Yes, seriously Cody. You don’t have to agree with someone to respect their consistency and integrity – to THEIR values and decisions. Bush was consistent, and though very unpopular, most would say he has character to stick with his decisions. He just doesn’t communicate them very well.
    Bert

  5. He pretty consistently communicated “I don’t understand the issue. I don’t care to deal with complexities. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.I don’t care to communicate any decision properly to the American people because I am above all that. I don’t have the confidence to take criticism and I don’t care to learn anything including how to improve on my abysmal public speaking skills.”
    Yep, he consistently communicated his authentic self.
    Is it Tuesday yet?