Skip to comments.Fight Back, Mr. President: Shouldn't the president defend his honor?
Posted on 11/04/2005 1:55:54 PM PST by jmc1969
Last week, I suggested that the Bush administration's second-term bear market had bottomed out. Since then, we've been pummeled by polls showing Bush in continued decline. Perhaps my bullish call on Bush was a bit early. Or perhaps it was wrong. Which is it?
That's up to the Bush administration. Over the next few months, the Bush team will put this bad year behind them, and regain their footing. Or it will be a long 39 months--a very long 39 months--for Bush and his supporters.
How to recover? Begin by facing reality.
The Miers episode did more damage than one might have expected. It raised doubts about Bush's judgment, on top of the Katrina-related doubts about White House competence, which have lingered. But Miers, and Katrina, are over. Now the task is to get Samuel Alito confirmed--using his confirmation process not just to get credit for a fine pick, but to make the case for judicial restraint and constitutionalism, and to lay the groundwork for additional winning battles on behalf of conservative appellate and (maybe) Supreme Court nominees.
The failed Social Security reform effort did real harm, too. The political capital expended, and the depressing effect of the wet-blanket-like message of imminent generational doom, undercut the credit Bush should have received for a strong economy. Now Social Security is over, and Bush can return the focus to economic growth. He can campaign on making the tax cuts permanent--and he can explore some of the broader, pro-family, pro-human-capital policy proposals suggested elsewhere in this issue by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, and by John D. Mueller.
And the administration paid a price for its virtual silence on Iraq during the spring and much of the summer. Now the administration seems to understand not just that they have to do everything they can to win in Iraq--but also that they must make, and remake, the case for the war. Do they also realize that they have to aggressively--not to say indignantly--confront the "Bush lied" charge now emanating from leaders in the Democratic party?
Last Tuesday, Harry Reid took to the floor of the Senate and asserted that the Bush administration had "manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions." This is a serious charge; if it were true, it might well be an indictable offense. But it is, in reality, a slander. Shouldn't the president defend his honor?
After all, the bipartisan Silberman-Robb commission found no evidence of political manufacture and manipulation of intelligence. The administration's weak and disorganized attempts to respond to Joe Wilson's misrepresentations put the lie to the existence of any campaign to "destroy" opponents of the war. In fact, the administration has done amazingly little to confront, and discredit, attacks from antiwar Democrats. It was a shock last week when White House spokesman Scott McClellan emerged for a few moments from his defensive crouch to point out that Clinton administration officials and Senate Democrats also believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
Will he, and others in the administration, return to this theme? Will they call the now antiwar Democrats on their disreputable rewriting of history? Incidentally, are the Democrats ready to defend the proposition that we should have left Saddam in power? Is it okay with them if Zarqawi drives us out of Iraq? Will the administration challenge them as to what their alternative is? Will the administration take the time to put spokesmen forward, and recruit surrogates, to make the case for victory? Or do they enjoy being punching bags at the White House?
Bush has been in a similar position before. We forget how much trouble he seemed to be in early in 2004. Then Kerry was nominated, and the Bush team focused the country on the real choices before it. In the contrast, Bush did fine. Bush once again needs to fight for support for his policies and to draw a contrast between his policies and those of his opponents. If you do not defend yourself against your critics, your political standing is going to erode. Bush owes it to himself, to his supporters, to the soldiers fighting in Iraq, and to the country to fight back.
Reagan was no mental giant and he used the bully pulpit well.
OK. I'd agree that the RNC could use some money to fund an ad campaign in support of the war. But how effective are ads put out by political national committees? What are your indications that such ads are necessary? Is it current polling numbers? Do you really believe them? With regard to the intensity of the Whitehouse, what is your gouge? Certainly Bush hasn't indicated he has lost his intensity. His most recent speeches regarding the War on Terror have been some of his best yet. What can the Whitehouse do to show it remains deeply committed to both the War on Terror, and the men and women in the military who are fighting it? As a military person myself, I have no doubt about either Bush's commitment or his concern for my welfare.
You have no idea what a pain in the ass it is to bring VIPs into a combat zone. Our men and women in Iraq have MUCH more important things to do than support a Presidential PR campaign. Bush knows that. He is letting the military do its job. He is not using it as a weapon against the media. The media is doing a good enough job of tearing itself down.
You are wrong. He won by promising to do the total opposite to what he is doing now since he ran as a proponent of "limited government".
Bush won two elections for POTUS because he ran right of two Marxists--the lunatic Gore and the traitor Kerry.
Bush was the lesser of two evils. In your words, "doing EXACTLY what he is doing now" is NOT how Bush got elected. Bush ran on promises on doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what he is doing now--he is the biggest socialist spender in world history. This is NOT how he got elected. The White House website has had the same biography of Bush for some time now. It says that:
President Bush served for 6 years as the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, where he earned a reputation for bipartisanship and as a compassionate conservative who shaped public policy based on the principles of limited government
. I don't think Bush has even mentioned the words "limited government" since Inaugural Day 2001. If he would, he would be laughed off the stage. Bush ran as a conservative, but has managed as a fiscal liberal. Yes, he is fighting a war on terror, but is managing that politically correct. He promised to go after nations that harbor terrorists, yet he knows Iran is building the IEDs for Iraq and has given a free pass to Iran as well as to Syria, a nation that lets terrorists freely uses its borders.
You are 100% wrong. Yes, we are better off with Bush than Gore or Kerry, but Bush has been no friend to conservatives but the best friend liberals EVER had.
One more point: you are also wrong about Bush and Alito. Alito is NOT Bush's pick, but Alito is the pick of true conservatives. Bush picked Miers. The true conservatives who voiced extreme outrage at Bush over the Miers pick are the ones who gave us Sam Alito. Bush does not get credit for nominating him. The true conservatives who held Bush accountable and showed outrage against Bush are the ones who get credit for Sam Alito.
We know we must watch every move Bush makes and be ready to launch into response mode. The only way to have things go our way is to guide Bush along the way, as we did with the Miers rejection and the Alito pick. Never let our hatred of the RATs get in the way of Republican accountability, clear thinking about conservative agenda, limited government and the core principles our nation was founded on.
I am convinced that HE is convinced that God called upon him to lead the WOT, and if the idiots out there in the Blogosphere, and the few thousand watching MSNBC don't get it, he's got bigger fish to fry.
The President repeated over and over after 9-11 that the WOT would last for many years. He knew patience would wear thin, and the war would drag him down.
I will say that those around him in his administration could do a better job of carrying the water, especially Scott McClellan who is no help whatever.
Hire Dennis Miller.
Buried in the State Dept. Wasted talent, IMHO.
Yes, he is. That is why I have never voted for him.
Could it all be explained...GWB is not a politician...he is just serving the people and doing what he thinks is right...and for the most part I agree. I have met the boy and he is good people...The American people will in the future agree as well... We had a congress that was wishy washy bunch of fools in the congress in the 70's that caused about 5 million folks to die. Hopefully that won't happen again in the ME..
I am not really interested in Bush defending himself but he has thousands of americans in harms way fighting for this country and HE ordered them there !!!! Its time for him to get off his a.. and defend this country from the liars who are giving aid and comfort to the enemy ,and he can start by putting that sleezbag Wilson and his Mata Hari wife in their place
President Bush with a few exceptions has not done a particularly good job of getting his message out. He will never get a fair break in the so-called MSM and the dems will never, ever give him credit for anything but will only attack. His supporters in talk radio and on the net have been by far the most vocal and effective in defending his positions and in getting in some licks against his enemies but their reach is still small compared to the leftist media. Bush needs to get out and go over the heads of the enemy media and speak directly to the people. Why he does this so infrequently is a mystery to me. At least half the battle is getting the message out. When he does do this he isn't half bad and sometimes is even semi-inspiring. He needs to hammer away on the war, the economy and the court nomination and not let up.
One thing the leftists do is never let up. They are nothing if not persistent. Kind of like rust - they never stop eating away at their enemies.
Reagan was adept at presentation, no question about it. True he didn't have the full spectrum of technical understanding of America, but he had the spirit. I personally think he saved the country. None of the Dems have anything like the American spirit. Bush has part of it, but everybody is different, so we shouldn't even be looking for another Reagan. In any case, we need to look toward '08. Somebody should be showing the attributes needed. Any day now. I hope.
It is. Now please state your "facts" regarding those insurgents "pouring" over the border. Specifically, are there more coming over now than a year ago? And who are they? Also, you neglected to answer whether the Syrian and Iranian governments are more or less stable than they were even one year ago. Did Syria leave Lebanon because it is becoming stronger or weaker? Is Iran gaining or losing support in the international community.
"Please provide your facts that Bush's approval rating is skyrocketing, which is what you seem to believe, or want to believe."
This is clear evidence you are spending too much time listening to the mainstream media. You've resorted to making things up to support your weak position. I never said anything about Bush's approval rating rising. But if you are looking for evidence of how his approval rating is shifting, I'd suggest you refer to RasmussenReports. They keep a daily tracking poll using consistent demographics. Today his approval rating is 43%. On election day it was 52%. During 2004 his approval ranged from 57% to 43%. So far in 2005 it has ranged from 54% to 40%. I guess I'm missing the dramatic freefall in his approval ratings.
"You clearly know nothing about interpersonal skills since your posts are filled with personal attacks."
You seem unable to tell the difference between statements of fact and "personal attacks". There are many things about which I am ignorant. That is a fact. You happen to be ignorant about many of the topics we are discussing. That is also a statement of fact. Calling a spade a spade isn't a personal attack. It is speaking the truth.
My thoughts, exactly. A "Reagan" comes around once in a generation, or maybe once in a century. We'll never see another Ronald Reagan in our lifetimes, I'm pretty sure. But I do hope for someone to emerge who can actually articulate what this country has stood for since its founding. I'd really like to see a campaign in '08 where the Republican refuses to be sucked into a bidding contest with the Democrat -- who can give away the most goodies to the American people. I'd like to see the campaign in '08 be over the spirit and substance of this nation, and what our role in the world is. I'd like to see an articulation of what it means that our nation is built upon *liberty*, and a serious discussion about what liberty is. I'd like to see the Republcian candidate cram it down the throat of their opponent that the Democrats don't stand for liberty, but for selfishness and license (which to the uneducated looks like "liberty"). I'd really like to see the '08 election campaign be a re-education of the American people about true American ideals. A faint hope, but a hope none the less.
Actually, I'm a Charter Member of the Vast Ring Conspiracy. Where were you back then? I repeat a number of you recent sign ups are here to bash Bush.............
I don't like Kristol but deep down every conservative wishes that Bush would be more blunt instead of this new tone or compassionate conservatism crap.
We are in 100% agreement concerning our CIC - I know for certain this man is 100% committed to our Armed Forces -
My fight is more with the WH PR staff and that of the RNC.
No one who is willing to be intellectually honest can deny there has been a complete lack of a coherent response to the "no WMD's" spin put out 24/7 by the MSM / DEM's - A complete lack of a coherent and consistent message telling WHY Iraq is essential to the GWOT. Explaining that Iraq was very much indeed in support of al Qeade and other terrorists organizations prior to Sept 11th (and up until 2003)
When the fact is we moved on Iraq / Saddam for more then just the WMD equation. That was just one reason in a list of them. And even with the result of finding no WMD's ...at least that question has been answered! - We now know Saddam does not pose a threat (via real or bluffed) from WMD's -
The WH nor the RNC seem to be able to articulate this simple fact!
How effective are ads put out by political committees? Well I would suggest the $$ half a billion plus that everyone through into the last election seems to suggest people know they are effective.
Furthermore...FACTS are always effective. And there is my point. If people hear facts and then spin (by the MSM/DEMs) they will more often then not fall back on the side with the facts (GOP).
I am tired of the notion that we need to out spin the DEM's right before "each" election. I am for informing the public on a 7 day a week basis. Once people are informed they aren't easily fooled anymore by the MSM / DEM's -
There are all sorts of creative ways to show the success of which are Armed Forces are achieving. Ways in which the MSM would have to give air time to. The WH and RNC should put together a systematic process of implementing this.
Additionally the PR people the WH puts out and those within the RNC continually go on news programs and NEVER set the premise correctly. On issue after issue relating to the GWOT...the MSM set a false premise and those from the RNC (including Senators) never correct the false premise. They simply try and talk from a position of weakness...considering a false premise has been established by the MSM in the questioning.
2. President Bush may not make any headway on Social Security. However, he deserves credit for talking about the issue, and I will tell you that in 5 years, when the system is shown to be in increasing trouble, Republicans then in office will be glad to have President Bush's efforts to point to and democrat obstructionism to blame.
100% correct here -
Yeah, I guess that would explain the increase in Republican Senators and Congressmen in every election since 2000.
Where do you people come from?
Well, I'm a card-carrying charter member of the "Bushbots," and proud of it, but even I'm getting a bit of grief from people for stating the obvious: the Bush White House doesn't do a good job defending its policies.
I would like to see a candidate sell the idea of capitalism all over the world. Link that to prosperity and peace forever. Someone with the gift of gab could go all day on that.
It's the media. The media was terrible during the whole 2004 campaign. The Bush folks thought they had overcome that with their victory. The fact is, Bush should have won that election by 7 points.
The media was depressed for a week or two after the election, but then went on the attack and never stopped. I think the Bush folks thought there would be a lull after the election.
The media defines their success by how poor Bush is doing.
No, Bush hasn't changed.
In addition, the media has changed since the Reagan era. No longer can a president command air time on the netwowrks without PROVING that his speech will be "newsworthy." They simply refuse to cover the speeches.
President Bush campaigned on bringing a new tone to Washington. He is fulfilling a campaign promise, as well as following scripture, which instructs us to heap praise upon our enemies, which will fall like hot coals upon their heads.
You need to learn patience, and also to learn that there is more going on than meets the eye. Just because you don't see it on TV doesn't mean it isn't happening.
Yes, I realize he had to go to Argentina, although maybe he could have cut back on the time commitment a bit by pleading press of business. I don't know if he had any way of leashing Specter, but it was an awkward place to be when Specter, presumably with malice, announced that he wouldn't give him his Christmas present.
Ring conspiracy? Must be some kind of leftist group.
I disagree. I think the WH has been very consistant on this message. But for every WH statement repeating the truth, you hear 20 media statements repeating lies. It is similar to the current "outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame" refrain. Despite it now being completely obvious that Valerie Plame was not "outed", the media continues the refrain from hundreds of outlets all over the country. It is a lie, but how can the WH compete? No matter how many times the WH states the facts, if the media chooses to repeat a lie and ignore the truth, there isn't much the WH can do short of buying its own 24/7 news channel.
I agree that facts are persuasive, but one of those facts is that our only real source to indicate a shift in American opinion is media polls. And it is also a fact that those polls are fraudulantly biased against the administration. It is better to ignore those polls than dedicate a lot of money and effort to combat what is essentially a ruse.
The American public is a fickle beast. According to Rasmussen 35% of Americans think our country is in a recession! The approval rating of the Supreme Court is 40%! The same polling source indicates a mojority of Americans believe things are fair/good/excellent in Iraq, and 54% believe it would be harmful to pull our troops out of Iraq. Where should the RNC or the WH direct its media effort when the American public seems to be all over the map about everything? If our effort in Iraq has broader support than the Supreme Court, perhaps spending a lot of resources trying to influence opinion wouldn't be that useful.
That is pitiful. Calling the President "boy".
Quit trying to rewrite history.
You are in a time warp. We are talking about the present and future, not the past.
The near riots over Bush's pick of Harriet Miers showed that many conservatives were like a pressure valve that was building up and building up pressure over the illegal alien invasion, spending, etc., and when Bush picked Miers, the valve blew.
Today's poll rating of Bush is not due to the breeding of new RATs, but it is from conservatives who are fed up with Bush's Mr. Nice Guy approach that is harming this nation. We want a firm leader with firm conservative principles with a sane fiscal policy.
Dolphy, exactly! Kristol is the same as the Dims....'it's Bush's fault'. So Bush is responsible for Kristol's "bullish call" either being early or wrong? When things are going well, Bill is there with that little smirk (I told you, so) but when things are not so good, according to him, he joins the negative chorus.
I think Specter will change his schedule again soon. I imagine there will be a meeting in the Oval Office to make a few things plain to him. I don't take his statement as the last word.
I apologize. I didn't realize you were clairvoyant. You obviously aren't a student of history (even very recent history). I missed the near riots over Miers. And even fickle conservatives like Kristol have been supportive of Bush post Alito. Like democrats and other Bush haters, your reliance on phony media polls to build your understanding of reality will no doubt prove that your powers of clairvoyance are about accurate as your recollection of history.
Bush did not say in the campaign that Manslaughter Kennedy would be allowed to write the budget, then no matter what Kennedy plugged in for the final figure, Bush would add 10% to it. Had he told us that ahead of time, Republicans would have stayed home in 2000 and Gore would be president.
and prescription drug assistance for Medicare patients.
Bush's team said that the cost would be $400 Billion. The second the ink dried on Bush's law signing pen, the amount was announced at over $1 TRILLION DOLLARS!
Bush's own biography still says that Bush [campaigned] on "limited government". What did we get? The BIGGEST social welfare spender in the history of man.
As I said earlier, Gore was a lunatic and Kerry was a traitor--besides, both were RATs--nuff said. However, true conservatives need not stand by and watch our president out liberal the liberals.
The Harriet Miers/ Sam Alito episode taught us all one very important lesson: if we show outrage at leftist moves by Bush or Republicans, we just may change the course of history for the good of the nation. If Sam Alito is confirmed, it would be for the good of the nation (at least better than Miers), and it was TRUE CONSERVATIVES who got Alito up for a Senate confirmation hearing, not Bush. Had Bush had his way, it would be Miers. This will be the first time in the history of this nation that grassroots Republicans nominated a candidate to the Supreme Court. Dance around that all you want, but in effect, Sam Alito is the "peoples nominee", "people" being true conservatives.
If we want to help reclaim our nation from the radical RATs, it is up to the conservative activists to dictate agenda like we did in the SCOTUS pick. If we leave it up to the Republican'ts and Bush, we will continue to have the RATs' tail wag the Republicans' dog.
'Bush does the right thing for the right reason without seeking fan fare'
Re your post #50, well said. Thank you. President Bush is not perfect but, he is a good man, who, I believe, loves our country above himself. He deserves a lot more support from Rep Senators/Congress.
Apparently you are not a believer in incrementalism. Thats' too bad, because the democrats and liberals are.
You are ignoring all the good President Bush has done. You are forgetting that conservatives are NOT the majority in this country, and to get anything accomplished we have to bring the middle people along with us.
As I said, you never have anything positive to say about the President. You ignore all of the good things he has done.
Pfui. You are politically tone deaf.
I recall a performance at Ford Theater in the '80s celebrating Bob Hope's 80th birthday. Pres. Reagan was there to give some remarks on the occasion, and as one who always poked fun at his own age, said, "Bob Hope is 80...I love it when he calls me 'kid.'"
Maybe RVN's a "seasoned citizen" and calling W "boy" is a term of endearment? That's how I took it.
Ari Flescher is missed sorely, but Scott McClellan is a friend of the family. I say screw the friend of the family....this is serious.
Card reportedly pushed Miers, and I bet Laura seconded that motion. (Card is reportedly connected to the Breyer nomination for Bush 41!)
W's team is plum worn out fighting the good fight, but I remain optimistic.
Very true. But really....this time he is exactly right. Bush has to start fighting back hard. There is much more at stake than just his presidency. He has to make the pubic see that the Dems have gone totally off the rails and are in la la land. It scares me how out of reality they are, in a time of war. They are being reckless with our national security they seem to have no idea how serious the terrorist threat really is. They are so fixated on hating Bush they have really lost their way. Bush has got to show them up as being what they are....irresponsible and derelict in their duty.
I do not like Kristol at all.
I don't see any bashing. Actually it was a fairly mild column....Kristol is a mild guy. He's a decent fellow. I usually like him and give him a good listen, though sometimes I disagree with him.
Your point on polls is a sound one.
Granted, we know many of these polls are vastly oversampling Dems & Indy's. Still, even if they weren't, polls do not generally bounce back in a week. The announcement of Alito was not even a nighttime event, it was early morning when far fewer witness it. It's legitimate to state there is a lag, and Kristol should have saved his column for one month from this point before contending there will not be a positive from it.
However, from where I sit the W.H.'s problem is communications. In short, fire Scott. He is no Ari Fleischer.
I wonder if the W.H. realizes how watching Ari in action was a constantly base rousing event?
And that is the problem. To me, it seems Dems have gained no ground at all. Their own polling states this as the case. The loss appears to be among the President's own base that is feeling let down or weary. They have no desire to vote Dem, but they feel little incentive to vote Rep.
Good news is that the W.H. can control OUR moods. They can't necessarily account for natural disasters, or every turn of the war. But they have complete control over how revved up conservatives are. Start articulating policies that excite the base, concentrate on educating people about the Judiciary, advancing low taxes, focus on the good things happening in Iraq. Let the media talk of the bad, spend ALL their time talking of the good. IGNORE the Democrats. Stay on offense. Replace Scott with someone that makes it an equal fight with the press core so we can witness the pummeling of the MSM daily. Make more light hearted jokes about the Dems.
It's pretty simple. Look at what the Dems are doing. They are advancing little policy, but making their base "feel" good. We've advanced some good things, not all, but some. Yet the "emotional" needs of the base aren't being met. How much harm would it cause to give us a little red meat more often? Go back to how positive and happy people felt with the RNC convention. Pure red meat, but in a higher tone than the Dems' offer, and it energized everyone. They need to get back to that.