Our President is hooked on phonics.
Through an oversight, a draft copy of the President's address to the United Nations was posted on the U.N. website, including phonetic renderings of polysyllabic words to aid Bush's pronunciation.
As if there were any doubt, this serves as conclusive proof that our President is utterly ignorant of global affairs. How is it that someone who has served as the leader of the United States of America for more than six years needs a reminder on how to pronounce 'Mugabe'? (It was rendered, "moo-GAH-bee," no joke.) Okay, it's not "Smith," but don't you think the American President would have heard enough about the Zimbabwean despot to recall his name? How did they think he'd say it? Muggabee? MOO-gayb? Sheesh.
They also had to help him with the name of the new French President. You know, the guy Bush recently hosted at his father's ken-ee-BUNK-port compound? They spelled it out, "sar-KO-zee," which technically isn't even right. That's the Crawford version. The French would pronounce it "sa(r)-ko-ZEE."
I confess, I have a thing about pronunciation. I've even been ridiculed for my insistence on saying "ka-ra-o-ke," instead of "Carrie-Okie." (Hey, I'm sorry, I had three years of Japanese in high school and was an exchange student. I had to abandon "Toh-kyoh" in favor of the more familiar Toe-Key-Oh because no one knew what the hell I was talking about.) And, if I were addressing the UN, I would probably have to practice saying Kyrgyzstan a few times, sure. But I would practice because I would care, because it demonstrates interest in and respect for the people and the nation.
I think there's something admirable in having a President who knows how to pronounce difficult and/or foreign words. I think there is something shameful in having a President who is so disinterested in the world that he can't even bother to remember the names of his recent houseguests and needs second-grade-level phonetics to maneuver around the names of his colleagues on the world stage. And shame on us for not even expecting the leader of the United States of America to be able to write his own speech.