Mancrush on the Wane?

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Some reliable swooners seem to have been underwhelmed by the speech last night. Over at Powerline, John Hinderacker, who memorably once described a meeting with Bush as “the most inspiring forty minutes I’ve experienced in politics” and and Bush himself as a “man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius,” said Bush came across as “stiff, nervous, and anxious to get it over with.” On the plus side? “Words at this point mean little.” Well, that’s one way to put it.

Intriguingly, SwampDad — who might be described as a “Webb Democrat” — was relatively impressed: “At least he’s being honest.” Well, sorta. As my colleague Joe notes, Bush continues to assert that the escalation is an Iraqi plan. Which is news to them.

Indeed, much of the wonkery in Bush’s speech was misleading, if not dishonest (unless, for instance, by “bipartisan” Bush really meant Republican/Connecticut for Lieberman). What gave Bush the veneer of honesty was exactly what Hinderacker seems put off by: The lack of confidence, the nervousness, the inability to look us in the eye. He may still be misleading us, but his heart isn’t in it.

Say this for Clinton: That was never a problem for him.