divergence of opinion

Yesterday Jeb Bush gave a foreign policy address in Chicago. Two columnists for the Washington Post wrote separately about the speech. Their assessments could not have been more different. Of course, political perspectives color our assessments of events. But the degree to which these two writers disagreed about the same speech was, to me at least, pretty astounding.

Dana Milbank was unimpressed with the speech. Bush "combined his father’s awkward oratory with his brother’s mangled syntax and malapropisms." Concentrating mainly on Bush as a speaker, Milbank emphasized the former Florida governor's mangling of words and claimed that he "oozed discomfort" at the podium.

Jennifer Rubin, on the other hand, said that Bush "displayed remarkable depth and command in foreign policy." Her column focused on the media's role in assessing foreign policy credentials of the candidates in the presidential race. So she did not assess Bush so much as the media. The speaker, Rubin argued, was not even tested because the press assigned him such minimal tasks: "don’t embrace everything your brother did" and "don’t favor wars to impose democracy."

Thus Rubin believes that the event didn't even test Bush, while Milbank thought the candidate failed the speech with flying colors. I don't have an opinion about Bush's foreign policy, but am really taken by how people can see the same event so differently.