John O’Sullivan wrote his guide to interpreting President Bush’s speech last night several hours before it was given, but he pretty much nailed it: “Did these ploys sneak into Bush’s speech?” O’Sullivan’s cynicism seems to me to have been amply vindicated. (Courtesy of RealClearPoltics.)
UPDATE: In NRO’s interesting symposium on the speech, O’Sullivan writes:
I listened to the speech with some nervousness because my Chicago Sun-Times column was a critique of it, written and sent to press about two hours before Mr. Bush began speaking. (No shameful Fleet Street tabloid deception here—I leveled with the readers.) But would I be shown up as a laughably out-of-touch hack who had forecast all kinds of arguments the president never said and whose criticisms were accordingly wide of the mark?
Within minutes—no, seconds—I knew I was safe. Every misleading point I had deconstructed, every shallow rhetorical device I had unraveled, every omission I had forecast—all were trotted out, present and incorrect. None of this suggests any great insight on my part. The speech was a tired and tiring repetition of all the president’s previous sayings on immigration. Like them it was designed to suggest that he would be tough on border security and illegal immigration when in fact the small print of his proposals amounts to the “open door” that he celebrated in his peroration….