Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush's new tone

The sheer quantity of rare presidential events in recent weeks has been stunning. A rare, live radio address. A rare, unscripted Q&A with civilians after a rare, candid speech. A rare Oval Office address with an open-minded tone. Now, a rare press conference with a wide range of questions today, CNN.

I still think at best Iraq is 3:1 and probably much worse than that. I still think the fact that Iran has more reason to be optimistic with Iraq than we do is alarming. (If you contend that, don't comment. Unless you are Robert Baer recanting or General Wesley Clark, you don't know what you are talking about. I don't either... but...)

George W. Bush has struck a much more presidential tone. I think there are a few JFK photos that are illustrative of how a president in the 20th/21st century should act. One is the photo slumped on the desk. One is chatting outside with Bobby. One is the press conference shot.


Blogger Debra said...

Disturbing indeed. He is trying to look personable as he runs over our rights with a mac truck. How gullible is the average American?

Now that's a dumb question.

11:28 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

My comment was more that a relatively ahistorical (in the sense of studying) president has gotten some good advice on how to act a little more effectively.

The fact that civil liberties are at stake is troubling.

12:06 PM  
Blogger zen said...

I've commented on this rare phenomenon as well. It's a stark change from the norm. It actually does little to convince me that, based on his history of misjudgement, that it will improve. Yet I am grateful that he finally, and seriously took an opportunity to reach directly into American's homes and update us on the war (as skewed as an update as that may be.)
Why is this so rare a move by Bush, when this will surely give many people a renewed confidence in his leadership. Just by default, hearing the president talk, directly to us no less, about the central issue in this country is reassuring. He is even good at it. His strength is apparent when the stakes are high, so why keep him locked away?
Has the revelation that our civil liberties are eroding and being taken away 'for our own safety' imputed this rare candor? Is it more of a sales pitch and calming of the masses, than a progress report? Perhaps he had these speeches and interviews planned for after the elections and they just happen to fall under the shadow of, yet another, civil liberty scandal?

1:47 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

You already know that I disagree about what's actually happening, but you are right that the President is striking a more proactive stance (which people call "Presidential"). Personally, I believe it's for the reverse reasons you do: I think that he's recognized that by talking himself, he can more effectively communicate his positions. People listen to him; they don't listen to his press secretary - they listen to the media. By speaking up himself, people hear his exact words, not filtered by the media to portray things a certain way.

4:59 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

zen, there are times when I am willing to suspend my disbelief and admit some infringement on civil liberties. But, in this case, Bush could have gone to a court or to Congress for legislation to help his case. For this reason, his actions are troubling as they seem to overreach the seperation of branches.

ezzie, I know you and I have different opinions, though we see the same data. I hope you are right.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Regardless of who's right, it's been effective: Before last night and today's activity, polls had him at 47%; and 60% against setting a timetable at all in Iraq. (via Instapundit)

9:37 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Tony Blankley on Hardball said his numbers are up because more GOP supporters are voicing approval (that subset is up by 10 to 15 points I think). You and I both agree that Iraq will make (or break) this presidency.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

It will, though it shouldn't. His other successes are great too. Iraq is too distracting to ignore - but it's pretty difficult to imagine that 30 years from now, if Iraq is still around, that someone looking back would be wishing Saddam had remained in power.

Historians are currently projecting that he'll rank high overall - way better than his dad, and better than Clinton. Highest overall in a long time.

1:29 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Ezzie, could you provide some links so I can read what these historians are writing? Thanks!

9:40 AM  
Blogger zen said...

I really don't think there is anyone advocating or "wishing Saddam had remained in power" now, let alone 30 years from now...aside maybe from Saddam himself. I think the test will be if our incursion into Iraq actually stabalizes the region, and if it actually makes the US safer. Both of those outcomes I'd say are still unknown and remain in the balance. For example, what happens when the US is attacked again? Will that be a clear signal that our invading Iraq has not made us safer? Hard to say.
I too would like to know what historians are forecasting Bush's imminent greatness. It seems very premature, and more like wishful thinking from those who agree with his policies, rather than looking at the full impact. Revelation over research.
As does Bush's 'other great successes' you mention. Can you please point us to what those are?

10:43 AM  
Blogger Bassizzzt said...

Ezzie's points about the historians are interesting me as well, CE. If this is the case, then for once the historians are stating fact.

3:00 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

My two cents on gauging a president is that it usually takes a few generations worth of distance.

4:12 PM  
Blogger zen said...

You mean you cannot judge him even though a war he started isn't over yet (Mission Accomplished!) and declare him as ranking high overall among our presidents? I guess you're no historian. No doubt he'll get points for ambition, but there will likely be deductions for failures due to over-reaching.
Funny how historians that speculate well into the future (30 years even) state the facts if they 'recognize' Bush's greatness, and if not then I guess they hate America.
Interesting the things I learn from the comments here.

5:00 PM  

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