I (the party of the first part, let us say, only for the sake of convenience, not priority) may sometimes speak in what we might call a perceived mumble, and the Mrs. has maybe a spot or two of OLMOY-related (Over-Loud Music of Yore) hearing loss; and vice-versa; and at least one of us who, arguably, could on occasion be me, though not necessarily usually, from my point of view tends to address the other in a normal (not to say murmuring) tone of voice from a room or two away.
So we seldom hear each other distinctly the first time. And there's always the possibility that it's something she or I, as the case may be, will want to hear or at least something the not-hearing of which will leave himself or herself open to the charge of: Not listening.
And here's the thing: a person is more likely to listen to something that he or she has asked to hear repeated. Well, not fully repeated. It is acknowledged, I believe, on the part of all parties, that it is a good idea to start saying Hunh? before the party in question finishes making the statement in question, so he or she the original speaking person will not have to say the whole FOR GODíS SAKE thing over again, which is a pain.
Whether this bit of personal communications testimony will be of any use to the nation as a whole at this juncture, a juncture of EVERYTHING GOING TO HELL, is another matter. But this was, after all, a week of whether the President was listening.
As the week began, TIME's cover had it: "Why He Will Listen." Newsweek: "Will He Listen?" And the New York Times: "Mr. Bush does not listen." Frank Rich had a suggestion: Maybe the President would have listened if James Webb had yielded to the temptation to slug him at a White House reception.
So, as the week ran on, we held our breath.
Because the Iran Study Group's report was coming out. And...?
Did he listen?
Listen? Hell, said the President, "I read it."
And his response to the inference that might be drawn from the report that things are GOING TO HELL in Iraq?
"I thought we would succeed quicker than we did."
And the echoes answered: Hunh?