hand David Brooks a Kleenex. He's
upset that President Bush's victory
dance last Thursday was interpreted politically.
am I in a terrible mood. I watched and listened to the punditry
on President Bush's speech on the USS Lincoln. . . .
what do my fellow pundits say? They sit in the studios and point
out sagely that the speech was a tremendous photo-op. . . .
only thing that matters [to the pundits] is that this was
a campaign event and it's to be judged as just another rally on
the way to the convention.
and the USS Abraham Lincoln," The Weekly Standard
online, May 2, 2003
kind of cynical bastards would call
it a "photo op" when a civilian official swoops
onto an aircraft carrier in a combat
jet? W. was probably just trying to round out his Air
National Guard commitment; how was he to know there would
be cameras everywhere? Rest assured that The Weekly Standard
would have held its tongue had Bill Clinton done anything like
this. Our commander-in-chief electioneering? How dare you say
such a thing!
in their own coverage of the event, the Republican press couldn't
resist offering little previews of the 2004 ad cycle. Michael
Ledeen unveils a rough draft of the Forrest
W. is the most amazing president. How could anyone have imagined
that such a man, who lacks all the credentials to conduct foreign
policy (he hasn't traveled, he hasn't studied foreign cultures,
he doesn't speak foreign languages, his knowledge of world history
is skimpy, and he hasn't memorized the last decade of the New
York Times) would turn out to have the best foreign-policy
instincts imaginable? He reminds me more and more of Harry Truman
and Ronald Reagan. He has the most important quality of a great
leader: He instinctively finds the words to express what the American
people believe. And his are simple words, not fancy ones.
Lincoln Speech," National Review Online, May 2, 2003
Truman? Watch out Dean,
Edwards, and Lieberman:
the neocons have kidnapped one of your own. Everyone loves the
accidental president made good whether he's a haberdasher
or a petrol
prince. As Gleaves
Whitney notes in National Review, "It doesn't
require much imagination to see parallels between Truman and Bush,
the commanders in chief who led America to victory in World War
II and Gulf War II respectively." Thanks, Gleaves, for throwing
in that "respectively"; in all the triumphal confusion,
I was tempted to credit Don Rumsfeld for D-Day. In 18 months,
I'll probably think he rode a Higgins
WWII nostalgia charms the oldsters and their guilt-ridden,
kids, but will it rock
the vote? Newt Gingrich knows what will. Commenting on the
Lincoln bonanza on Fox News, Gingrich
compared W. to the president in Independence
Day, a Desert Storm vet who takes the cockpit to zap invading
aliens and save the planet. Great allusion. The sort of lowbrows
it was aimed at probably won't notice that
the Iraqis were not the invading aliens in the recent war,
George W. Bush never put his smirk in the same hemisphere as harm's
it looks as if the planet might
not have needed saving, after all.
course, ballots are blind to IQ, making nincompoops the most sought-after
bloc in American politics. Many of them already know how they'll
Limbaugh asked his fans to try to picture any of the Democratic
candidates in a flight suit, thereby unleashing a flurry of empty
cartoon bubbles above dittoheads.
One hopes that at least a few listeners mumbled, "Score one
for the Democrats," but don't count on it. Years of party
loyalty whittle the mind down to sawdust.
if you equate the nation's survival with Bush's reelection, your
sawdust must be giddy. Not so fast, though, writes Dick
Morris in a recent piece for FrontPageMag. The guru patiently
explains election '92:
I faced an opponent who took away his best issues. . . .
a Democrat take away Bush II's issues as effectively in 2004?
It depends on which Democrat. If it's Lieberman, perhaps he can.
Voters may come to believe that the Jewish Senator from Connecticut
will be as fierce against terror as the president has been. But,
if the opponent is Edwards or Gephardt who have been lukewarm
on the war, or Dean or Kerry, who have been largely opposed, Bush
will certainly have terrorism as his core issue.
will still be Bush's core issue a year from now? Why so optimistic,
Sr. had no domestic policy issue with which to control events.
Since Bush I had no domestic policy agenda beyond fighting the
recession and cutting the deficit, he lost control over the political
dialogue. Here, Bush II faces much the same problem. He lacks
a domestic policy issue. If terror fades either because
of Bush's success or because Lieberman wins the Democratic nomination
he's got no backup strategy. Tax cuts aren't the answer;
nor is partial birth abortion or energy production or lawsuit
limitation. Bush needs a hot button domestic issue with which
to dominate the debate of 2004. I think that a crackdown on immigration
from terrorist nations and drug testing for students in schools
may offer the best choices.
domestic policy issue with which to control events?" Watch
your words; we conspiracy
theorists might get the wrong idea.
crackdown on immigration from terrorist nations?" Yeah, don't
do that now it might nullify your core issue.
testing for students in schools?" This is going to make America
safer? Freer? Or just more Republican?
'til David Brooks gets wind of all this cynicism.
~ Matthew Barganier