Skip to comments.BUSH BETS THE HOUSE
Posted on 05/25/2004 12:11:52 AM PDT by kattracks
May 25, 2004 -- GEORGE W. Bush is a high-stakes player, a political gambler. And last night he took a fantastically bold gamble: In the teeth of bad polls, an atmosphere of panic in his own party and the barely concealed glee of his rivals . . . he has decided to stand pat.
He didn't change course last night. He didn't use the occasion to announce elevated troop levels or faster elections or any of the panacea urged upon him over the past few weeks (including by me).
In other words, he is betting his presidency on the soundness of his approach and its prospects for success.
For there is no question now that Iraq is and will be (barring another terrorist catastrophe) the only issue in the presidential election. Bush has powerhouse economic numbers that any politician would kill for, and still more than 60 percent in every national poll say that America is on the "wrong track."
That's solely because of Iraq. And in a way, there's something heartening about it. The American people are identifying themselves and their country's fortunes with the progress or perceived lack of progress in Iraq. They're not just floating away on a tide of good news. The nation is at war, and the nation is taking that war seriously.
There would be no reason for Americans to believe that things were going well in Iraq after all the bad news these past weeks, from the prison scandal to the confusing pullback from Fallujah to the even more confusing raid on Ahmed Chalabi's house.
Left-wing policy analyst Ruy Texieira said last year that the danger posed to Bush by a poor economy was not that he would appear out of touch (as his father did) but that he would appear incompetent. Texieira may have gotten it right even though he got the subject wrong. If the American people judge that Bush is totally incompetent in his handling of Iraq, they might well take a chance on John Kerry in his stead.
The speech's purpose was to address and answer that concern about his competence. That's why it was so long and so detailed, with a five-step plan for political change leading up to direct elections of Iraqi leaders at the start of 2005. The president sounded stalwart and engaged, aware of all the moving parts and gear-shifts that will be necessary in the coming months.
Bush's decision to stay on course may not simply be an example of stubbornness. The fact is that the news from the battlefield in Iraq these past five or six days has been remarkably good. The forces commanded and directed by the thug-cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are on the run or nearly destroyed in three different cities.
Sadr's uprising two months ago was the moment at which even passionate supporters of the war and proponents of the success in achieving civil order began to grow terrified that somehow the United States might actually lose in Iraq. So shouldn't the fact that we're routing him be grounds for some optimism?
It's very meaningful that other Shiite clerics in the city of Najaf now feel safe enough to issue what must be judged an astounding denunciation of Sadr in the past few days.
As reported on the brilliant Healing Iraq blog (healingiraq.blogspot.com), Najaf clerics laid the blame for the entry of U.S. forces into that holy city: "It is the movement of Sayyid Muqtada [Sadr] that has encouraged the occupiers to cross the red lines," the senior clerics in Najaf wrote. "And it is clear that the organization of Sayyid Muqtada - and whoever follows the Sadrist movement - were the first to violate the sanctity of" the city's holiest shrine.
The president said that "history is moving and it will tend toward hope or tend toward tragedy." At a moment of great political peril for him, Bush is remaining calm.
He's placed his bet.
Bush may lose yet but it will be a pyrrhic victory for the libs in this country. They think we are at the Viet-Nam critical mass after 2 months of bad news. If Bush falls because of this and the obvious treason of the left it will make the dissolution of this country a very real possibility. Unlike Viet-Nam the libs have struck too early, there is still a solid 50% of this country that understands the danger of losing in Iraq and civil war is just one terrorist attack away.
Here or there or both?
He's placed his bet.
Like a riverboat gambler, with ice water running in his veins.
I like. :)
Here. I have always been a fairly level headed conservative but this election season and the way the WORLD and the American left is willing to destroy this country just to elect a democrat has radicalized me to an extent I never dreamed possible.
Here .. we were close to one at the 2000 election mess
If the Liberals continue to try and destory this country and sell us out to the terrorists .. not many people will just sit back and watch
Why should he change postures? His resolve is strong, he believes in his policy so why should he back down or away from it? Lest we forget his faith in the Iraqi people to build a free and democratic Iraq from the ground up remains equally strong. Bush is optimistic of the end result, his critics are just bitter old sots who said the same couldn't be done in Afghanistan. Well, Afghanistan will send athletes to the Olympic games for the first time in decades, this summer, granted there have been some degree of turmoil in Afghanistan, but on the whole, one cannot deny or dispute the fact that Afghanistan is more of a democracy than it ever has been in recent decades.
That's solely because of Iraq....The American people are identifying themselves and their country's fortunes with the progress or perceived lack of progress in Iraq."
Since the media can no longer BS the people about the economy they BS them about Iraq.
I'm more sanguine about the President's support level and prospects for re-election than perhaps you are at this juncture.
I ignore ALL these popularity polls the media have been jamming down our throats these past months - except one: When Sec. Rumsfeld was under attack from Congress and media, Americans by a 69-26 margin said he should NOT resign.
That's a tire-hits-the-road referendum on the President, his Administration and support for the War in Iraq. All this other stuff is garbage. When the American public were given a stark choice ... whether the President's point man on Iraq should stay or go ... they overwhelmingly voted stay.
November 3 is going to be a "stay or go" decision. I anticipate a similar outcome.
If there are buried WMDs in Syria that we have knowledge of that were from Iraq, go get them and bury the Democrats once and for all and get a +60% super majority in the Senate as a bonus.
Hope they do it.
I think you're analysis is correct.
His steadiness is beginning to remind me of the Gipper.
"...the American left is willing to destroy this country just to elect a democrat has radicalized me to an extent I never dreamed possible."
That is the entire history of the Free Republic Forum. The more we learn about the Left, the more we realise how evil it is.
Will history repeat itself in November?
And of Abraham Lincoln.
You have accurately described a key part of the leftists' strategy.
Its hard to sit still and not know the unknowns, I believe the American voters feel the same as I do, but I don't know that for a fact. That is, they are tired of the bs the media is trying to stuff down our throats, I think the media has worked so hard at destroying America that they have destroyed theirselves.
I found it interesting that he kept talking about "Representative Government" rather than democracy last night. It seemed like a change in tone. Not that I have a problem with it. I think the term democracy is widely misunderstood, and it is NOT something we want to live under. Think socializm, anarchy, and 'liberaltarianism'.
I mean democracy is not something THEY want to live under.
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