Talking the Talk

Michael A. Fletcher writes in today’s Washington Post,

President Bush plans to begin a series of speeches next week again explaining the administration’s strategy for winning the war in Iraq, as the White House returns to a familiar tactic to allay growing public pessimism about the war that has helped keep the president’s approval rating near its historic low.

After previewing the upcoming speech in his radio address today, the president is scheduled to make remarks on the war at George Washington University on Monday. The appearance, which will be followed weekly by as many as four other speeches, marks the start of the White House’s latest effort to convince skeptical Americans that it has a coherent plan for victory as the war nears its third anniversary later this month.

Um, didn’t we do this before? Listen to Bush give a series of four speeches to explain the administration’s strategy for winning the war in Iraq? Like, less than four months ago? Yeah, let’s see — I live blogged the first one, and provided more commentary here, here, here, here, and probably some more places.

Does he have some new strategies, or can I just re-run the old posts? I guess we’ll find out. And why four more speeches?

President Bush claims to not be concerned about dismal poll numbers, but the White House is feeling intense concern.

The public relations offensive is being launched amid intense concern in the White House about polls showing that a growing majority of Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of the war and harbor growing doubts about the prospects for success. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that four in five Americans believe that the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq will mushroom into civil war. Also, more than half of those surveyed believe the United States should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, the poll found.

Meanwhile, the president’s approval rating remains at 41 percent, virtually unchanged since January and among the lowest in his presidency.

Seriously, what do the Bushies hope to accomplish by making speeches? For that matter, what do they hope to accomplish by running Dubya around New Orleans wearing a bleeping toolbelt?

Fact is, there is something that could make a difference; something that Bush could do that might turn the bad numbers around and send them going up again.

He has to bleeping accomplish something.

It doesn’t even have to be a finished accomplishment. It can be an accomplishment in progress, but it has to be something that is undeniably actually happening. Talk and trick photography ain’t cuttin’ it no more.

For example, nobody expects New Orleans to be rebuilt in only six months. But by now we should see a coherent plan of action underway, and we should have a sense that somebody is in charge who knows what he or she is doing.

Without that, it doesn’t much matter how many times the President gets his picture taken with his sleeves rolled up. Nobody’s buying it.

Now we’re approaching the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. And it doesn’t matter how many five-star generals the Bushies trot in front of a camera to say that everything’s fine. Only those with a gallon-a-day Kool-Aid habit haven’t noticed the situation in Iraq is becoming more unstable every day.

If the reverse were true, and Iraq were becoming measurably more stable, and U.S. troops withdrawals were around the corner, Bush wouldn’t need to make speeches. But without visible improvement in the situation in Iraq, all the speeches in the world won’t make any difference.

The Bushies don’t get this. In this post from December 12 I quoted a Time magazine story by Karen Tumulty and Mike Allen — no longer free content —

The plan is to make January a critical month in what the President’s aides hope will be a turning-point year. The White House expects a quick victory on Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and the State of the Union speech will nod to big goals. But when it comes to fresh and concrete ideas, the list of what Bush will actually try to accomplish in 2006 is so modest that one bewildered Republican adviser calls it “an insult to incrementalism.”

Iraq is hemorrhaging, New Orleans is moldering, and the Bushies can’t think of anything in particular that needs to be accomplished. Excuse me while I go bang my head on the floor and howl.

On the bright side — considering that Bush’s approval numbers dropped after the last four speeches, another four should pretty much finish him off. Bring it on …

11 thoughts on “Talking the Talk

  1. It’s a shame that Bush doesn’t listen to the polls, if he did, he’d know that he has a major credibility problem. The public has wised up to his hollow rhetoric, and his catchy little Peggy Noonan type slogans aren’t cutting it anymore.

  2. To borrow from Edna St. Vincent Millay, Bush isn’t one damn thing after another; he’s just the same damn thing over and over. He also reminds me of the famous definition of insanity: performing the same action again and again, and expecting different results.

  3. They really think that trotting out Karen Hughes around the world and trotting Georgie around the country will actually change something. ( Isn’t AirForce 1 getting alot of mileage these days?) They do not get it that their policies stink and their governance does not exist.

    All Georgie knows how to do is campaign to canned audiences so he continues.

  4. This new PR offensive is being done for a number of reasons (1) W want to up his approval ratings given they are in the tank now. (2) Give the same warm over speeches to try and keep his base and to assure them there is know civil war in Iraq. Of course that not true,but W must maintain the lie at al cost (3) He going to accept the Murtha plan with a Bush and Co twist. (4) The Iraqization is not working and Bush and Co know its and congress also know the American public are starting to get fed up with this fiasco war.(5) Like in history Nixon,Johnson Bush and Co are going to suffer the same fate. It Vietnam repeating it self just a different place and time,but the same lies and mistakes being done again.

  5. The reason he’s giving talks is that’s all they know how to do. Well, that and smear people.

  6. He….he….he….this great, just great.

    If he does as well with this as he did on Social Security the sucker will be out of office within the year.

    The ReThugs, Corporate and Fundies, big mistake was thinking Chimpy could do any more than wipe his ass without help.

    The pics of him in a “toolbelt” show how far short of “genius” Rove the Wonder Dog falls. The belt “Dumbya” was wearing is the type do-it-yourselfers wear; no real carpenter would be caught dead in on of those useless articles.

    But then “real” is something BushIdiot is not.

  7. The question is: is middle America getting it? I’m not so sure.

    I hate to say it, but I think the Republicans could pull off another election victory.

    Maha, much as I find your posts both interesting and enlightening, sn’t it time to devote less energy to commenting on the utter absurdity of the Bush mis-administration and figure out how to get a sane group of people elected?…If possible.

  8. The Fox watching, Rush worshipping America that comprises Bush base may not be ready yet for ‘sane’ government. A wollop upside the head, a dollar collapse, a war with Iran, the housing bubble bursting, or some new Bush disaster ‘no one expected’ may be what America deserves more than anything.

  9. how to get a sane group of people elected?

    As we get closer to mid-term primaries we’ll switch over to more campaign/election coverage and promoting candidates.

  10. George knows how to do two things well: Jog and cheerlead. The real business, which is to remake America into a third world country is being done by Cheney, Rumsfield and Rove. They want George to flit around the country on his useless jaunts while they chip away at security and stability.

  11. Considering that these speeches occur in the context of a pre-screened audience with approved questions and no real dialogue, I am coming to the conclusion that these “events” may be increasingly important to Bush personally: they offer him opportunities for validation. I think as events begin to spin more and more out of control and with his increasing tunnel vision, it is very important for him to face admiring crowds that show giddy approval of his leadership and “toughness”. No protesters, no need for him to thoughtfully consider answers to any uncomfortable questions. He can put on whatever costume fits the moment and role-play his leadership before an adoring and uncritical crowd.

    Perhaps he needs this validation in order to function from day to day. It’s almost like a “See? They love me” drug. I may not be articulating this point as well as I would like, but I think the more his administration continues to experience implosion, these events become more and more important to his psyche.

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