After being off a week frolicking down in the Happiest Place on Earth, I return home with a case of the flu, and rising poll numbers for W. Challenges abound! Let’s see what has been going on.
The White House is finalizing their plans for the 2004 campaign, focusing on how to run against Howard Dean. How do they plan to do it? Run a positive, forward-looking campaign that focuses on the direction of the country and steers the spotlight away from Bush himself. In other words, “Morning in America” all over again. Rove plans to grab the center with big initiatives and rhetoric, while casting Dean as angry, pessimistic, and reckless. Interesting how Rove sees the benefit of talking up the future and moving outward from the white guy vote towards the middle, as if initiatives such as a new space program, privatizing Social Security, or increasing life expectancies will offset the lack of health insurance for 45 million Americans, and the squandered surpluses necessary to fully fund Social Security.
Oops! Not everyone is reading the same script anymore it appears, now that the war is “over”. Paul Bremer flatly rejected the characterization that David Kay’s Iraq Survey Group had found “massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories”. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Bremer, the characterization and credibility attacked were those of none other than Tony Blair, who uttered such words in a holiday visit to his troops. The administration sure finds strange ways to gradually back away from their pre-war assertions don’t they? Include “trashing your close allies” to that list.
Boy, capturing Saddam sure made things much better in Iraq, didn’t it? Two more of our boys were killed today, and the Post ran a Page One story today pointing out that more US soldiers have been killed in the last four months than were killed in the preceding four months. What is even more surprising is that the Post, which was so supportive of the war would make a front-page story out of the obvious. And in another Page One for the Post today, the Rovian Imperative for Bush to be out of Iraq by November 2004 in order to claim victory has trumped PNAC aims for remaking Iraq in their image.
The Post also runs a story that shows how the Mad Cow episode may be a political problem for Bush, given how the Beef Industry doles out its money to the GOP and the reduced inspection and oversight they have received from this White House in return. Already, Dean, Gephardt, and Kerry are trying to gain some political advantage against Bush from the event.
Holiday sales are not meeting original forecasts, and are being revised downward. So much for the recovery-inspired boom.
Even Judicial Watch thinks that having James Baker work the region ostensibly to reduce Iraq’s foreign debt is nothing more than a huge conflict of interest.
Already the IAEA is smashing the Bush Administration and Great Britain for inflating Libya’s nuclear weapons capabilities.
Check out what the New York Times editorial board thinks of the 21st Century version of the GOP.