Lose Ten Points
Open Democracy made en error – at least, one of its writers did, which comes to the same thing. It’s a fairly gross error, too. (I emailed them about it – I wonder if they’ll fix it.)
Coming from a sophisticated thinker, that is a surprising assessment of the man who declared during last year’s election: “I’m not here offering myself to you because that’s how it’s done in a democracy, but because that’s just how I am, and I don’t give a damn who says different.” For Ignatieff, Bush is a “gambler from Texas” because he is the first president “risking his presidency on the premise that Jefferson was right”.
Trouble is, if you follow the link, you find that Bush didn’t say that. I was a bit staggered by it (Bush says staggering things all the time, but that remark seems a tad incautious even for him) so was curious about the context so looked it up. Here’s the context.
When Bush appeared in person, moments later, he seemed surprisingly ordinary. “I’m here to ask for the vote,” he told the audience. “I believe it’s important to get out and ask for the vote. I believe it’s important to travel this great state and the country, talkin’ about where I intend to lead the country.” He made this sound like an original idea, and perhaps a controversial one, and the way he repeated the words “I believe” carried an air of defiant conviction: I’m not here offering myself to you because that’s how it’s done in a democracy but because that’s just how I am, and I don’t give a damn who says different.
Oops. The bit that Mariano Aguirre put in quotation marks is not in quotation marks in the article, it’s in italics – while actual quotations are in quotation marks. Obviously the ‘I don’t give a damn’ (Gourevitch forgot the ‘Frankly, my dear,’ part) bit is authorial interpretation, is what Gourevitch takes to be the subtext of what Bush actually said. And since Aguirre is using the quotation that is not a quotation to raise an eyebrow (at the least) at Ignatieff as well as at Bush – that’s pretty sloppy. I thought you’d like to know that.