Tuesday, June 12, 2007

He’s the Understander

Polls show that if Fred Thompson entered the presidential race, he would be preferred by Republicans over everyone except Giuliani. Does that mean Republicans think that “9/11” is a better tv show than “Law and Order?”

Bush met with Republican senators today, to push them not to block the immigration bill, which he ominously called “the product,” saying he hoped Harry Reid “has that same sense of desire to move the product that I do”.

In his brief statement after the meeting, he used the word “understand” twice. He uses it often, and in two distinctive ways. Applied to himself, it is meant in the usual cognitive sense. Today, for example, he said, “Some members in there believe that we need to move a comprehensive bill, some don’t, I understand that.” Often he says that he “fully understands” something. That’s usually good for a giggle. But when applied to other people, he quite often means that they agree with some opinion of his. Because he does not acknowledge the legitimacy or often even the existence of other people’s opinions, he treats his own opinions and preferences as if they were factual statements about the universe. Thus this peculiar construction: “I want to thank those senators on both sides of the aisle who understand the time is now to move a comprehensive piece of legislation.”

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