December 29, 2005


Bush Team Rethinks Its Plan for Recovery: New Approach Could Save Second Term (Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei, December 29, 2005, Washington Post)

President Bush shifted his rhetoric on Iraq in recent weeks after an intense debate among advisers about how to pull out of his political free fall, with senior adviser Karl Rove urging a campaign-style attack on critics while younger aides pushed for more candor about setbacks in the war, according to Republican strategists.

The result was a hybrid of the two approaches as Bush lashed out at war opponents in Congress, then turned to a humbler assessment of events on the ground in Iraq that included admissions about how some of his expectations had been frustrated. [...]

The lessons drawn by a variety of Bush advisers inside and outside the White House as they map a road to recovery in 2006 include these: Overarching initiatives such as restructuring Social Security are unworkable in a time of war. The public wants a balanced appraisal of what is happening on the battlefield as well as pledges of victory. And Iraq trumps all.

"I don't think they realized that Iraq is the totality of their legacy until fairly recently," said former congressman Vin Weber (R-Minn.), an outside adviser to the White House. "There is not much of a market for other issues."

As H. W. Brands has written, that's how we got stuck with fifty years of the New Deal/Great Society in the first place: the cost of keeping the Left on board in time of war against a Leftist evil abroad was funding their welfare state at home. It's also why, contrary to David Frum, 9-11 was a political as well as national security disaster for George W. Bush and why the WoT will be brought to a rapid conclusion.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2005 8:17 AM
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