THERE IT was again yesterday in a wire service account. George Bush had said he needed "to get some forward movement" soon, that "somewhere between Kansas, Wisconsin and Connecticut, I've got to get out of a rut," that "it will be very hard to rebuild momentum if I lose Illinois . . . but it is not a make or break state," and that "I need to make a good showing in Illinois . . . that will help us in other agriculture states . . . I've got to get off center now." We beg to differ. What Mr. Bush has got to get off of is this compulsion to bore the country to tears with endless, minute-to-minute readings of his campaign's health.
Truly, we are put in mind of a meeting with a hypochondriacal friend or relation by the George Bush running commentary, one of those encounters where you say, "Hi, how are you?" and at once are sorry you asked. Mr. Bush, somehow more than the other candidates, seems to have become absolutely mired in concern with the tactics and the superficialities of the contest among himself, Ronald Reagan, John Anderson and Philip Crane for the GOP presidential nomination. He is squandering chance after chance to say something useful or instructive to the electorate, invariably coming on instead with yet another hospital-chart style account of his condition. Mr. Buch seems to respond in this way whenever a microphone is put in his vicinity, and it is said that he also volunteers this kind of "information" to reporters hanging around waiting for a pearl or two to fall.
We bring this up by way of answering the question, at least in part, of what happened to Mr. Bush's collapsed "big mo." We don't think you need an esoteric theory to explain it -- no demographics, no inside stuff, no right-wing versus left-wing business. Mr. Bush has been taking every available opportunity not to talk about anything people want to hear about from a fellow who is asking to be president. It's not informative and it's not presidential. Instead, it's all chatter about how he has been doing. That, we have no doubt of it, is why he hasn't been doing very well.