November 7, 2002
THE W DIFFERENCE:
While everyone's focussed on the performance of George W. Bush in the days leading up to Tuesday, there ma be more to be learned about him by his performance since. First of all, here's the difference between W and the two men who dominated the American political scene in the '90s: we didn't even see him yesterday. Think about that. Now try to imagine those two fat egomaniacal onanists, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, staying out of the limelight on Wednesday. You can't can you? They would have made it all about themselves.
Meanwhile, today the President did come out from behind the curtain and at a White House Press Conference he was relaxed, friendly, confident, and, hardest of all, humble. He repeatedly insisted that it was the candidates, their families, and their staffs who deserved the credit, even those who lost, and that his contribution had been minimal. If Democrats and the media haven't figured him out yet, they could do worse than watch today's performance.
The moment that should really scare them came when he called on a black woman reporter and asked how her daughter, "Georgina W.", was doing. She jibed back that her husband was watching and W better be careful. There was an easy familiarity to the exchange that no other Republican president could have achieved. That right there is the new face of the GOP. It doesn't scare blacks the way a Bob Dole or a Ronald Reagan used to, not even the way the NAACP's caricature of Mr. Bush in 2000 used to. And, as we saw on Tuesday, if blacks aren't deathly afraid of the Republican Party, the Democrats are toast.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2002 3:40 PM
When I first heard that Bush busted his ass, damn near killed himself, grunted and gasped to the finish line, scored a 100 year triumphant victory..... and chose to celebrate with utter silence, save a memo to staff to "shut up and let the races and candidates speak for themselves".... well, I think we have someone not onnly very special, but damn savvy enough to repeatedly know when to use silence.
And I thought about Billy Jeff acting the exaact same way. Try imagining it. Just try. You can't. The picture in your head just can't come to form.
We should start thinking about making space on Mt. Rushmore.
Hyperbole aside, we may be witnessing something rare; an extremely talented politician who has mastered his ego, is quite familiar with his strengths and weaknesses, and thus can maintain extaordinary discipline over himself and his followers. Reagan and Eisenhower come to mind for analogies.
Is it any surprise that Bush doesn't scare blacks?
Condi Rice is on his cabinet, not because she's black, but because she's a college friend of the prez and a very competant person.
That makes him nearly smear-proof, since its ovbious he hasn't spent his formative years at the mythical 'whites-only country club for republicans' that race-baiters would have you envision him at.
Condi and Powell are, moreover, role-models of success and integrety. Without being victims.
That should scare the living daylights out of the Dems.
Condi Rice is a very competent person, but she wasn't a college friend of the president's. She's younger, for one thing, and she's not a Yalie. She worked for NSA during the first Bush administration and became a friend of the family.
The Dems still think Reagan was dumb, so maybe they won't catch on to W either.
It should also scare them how nows when an opponent has already discredited him/herself so that a smple answer is all you need. Witness the exchange between Helen Thomas and W:
Q (Helen) You are leaving the impression that Iraqi lives, the human cost doesn't mean anything --
THE PRESIDENT: Say that again?
Q You are leaving the impression that you wouldn't mind if you go to war against Iraq, but you deal with another nation which may have weapons in a different way. But there are two other impressions around. One, that you have an obsession with going after Saddam Hussein at any cost. And also that you covet the oil fields.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, I'm -- some people have the right impressions and some people have the wrong impressions.
Q Can you --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, those are the wrong impressions.
Interestingly, he DID heap praise on the candidates and diminish his own role, while at the same time forcefully laying out a fairly ambitious agenda for the new Congress, with a grasp of detail that is continually ignored by those who underestimate him (his proposal for revamping the judicial nominee process -- seemingly given off the cuff, but actually well thought out -- is just one example from the press conference).
I've said it before (after the War Declaration vote): Bush plays to win. He's going for a legacy and he's being much smarter about it than Clinton. He knows that in the long term, where legacies are made, everyone will forget the details and just remember "Bush was President during that time". As long as he wins, everything else is fading detail, so why not use it to further his larger goals?
Clinton could never do this because it requires understanding someone else's point of view
. The difference here between Bush and Clinton is that between egoism and narcissism.