So Much For Running on Foreign Policy Sucesses Next Year
There’s no way that Bush can spin the escalating violence in Iraq by continuing to explain it away as acts of “desperation.’’ It doesn’t matter to the dead soldiers and their families if they are acts of desperation or part of a well-planned calculating effort to ratchet up the violence. The fact remains that our soldiers and citizens over there are increasingly vulnerable to attack. It also doesn’t help that the Pentagon and the commanders on the ground cannot agree about who is behind the attacks. And with the Red Cross now following the UN’s earlier lead and pulling back, things may get even worse.
The emerging irony, if you listen to the lapdog media over the last several days, is that the economy is improving significantly and will not be a millstone around Bush’s neck next year after all. The conventional wisdom seems to be that foreign policy will be Bush’s undoing next year. It was reported earlier last week that the White House was building a campaign message around the theme that Bush has successfully dealt with each of the three members of the Axis of Evil and made the world a safer place due to his leadership. Rove was prepared to spin a possible de-escalation of tensions with North Korea and an EU-brokered agreement with Iran on their nuclear program into a narrative that combined what the White House anticipates will be good news about Iraq by next year into a pro-Bush message on his handling of foreign affairs. But these developments in Iraq make any such success there seem even further out on the horizon.
And it’s not certain that the economy is improving so much that it won't be an issue. Yes, Wall Street may be happy that the market and the GDP are up. But there still is no sign of job creation anywhere on the horizon either, and experts feel that if 100,000 jobs a month aren’t being created by the end of the year then consumer spending may be weak next year.
There are reports that the Third Quarter GDP report coming out at the end of this week will reflect growth well above 5%, possibly over six percent. But that growth is a result not of new jobs, but instead mortgage refinancing (with higher rates on the way due to the deficit) and tax rebate-generated consumer spending, both of which will dissipate soon.
So whatever boost Bush sees this fall in the economy may be short-lived and coinciding with ongoing problems overseas.