September 25, 2003


President gave the UN tough talk it deserves (Zev Chafets, Sept. 25, 2003, Jewish World Review)

You could see expectation on the faces of the delegates as President Bush took the podium.

For weeks, the President's critics had been predicting that he would come to the UN General Assembly to beg for help in Iraq. And, now, here he was.

"He needs something," CNN's Aaron Brown sagely observed moments before the President's speech. "He needs something." And then up stepped Bush and it turned out he didn't need a damn thing.

The President began by redeclaring war on a global terrorist enemy that stalks the world from downtown Manhattan to Jakarta (not forgetting, as the UN would like to forget, Jerusalem). Deadpan, he told his audience, which included representatives of some of the terrorists' biggest supporters, that these killers "should have no friend in this chamber."

Last year, Bush said much the same thing in a memorably tough speech. Yesterday, buoyed by what he regards, correctly, as a great victory in Iraq, he was even tougher - and unmoved by criticism.

Lies in need of correction (David Warren, Sept. 25, 2003, Jewish World Review)
President Bush's address to the General Assembly will not make sense, entirely, if the reader has fallen for the false media account of the sequence of events. The first thing to grasp is that the U.S. appeal for United Nations help in Iraq and Afghanistan is nothing new. It is the continuation of an appeal that began more than a year ago, when Mr. Bush last addressed the General Assembly.

The fact that UN members have been remarkably uncooperative in the meantime does not make this latest speech surprising. I, personally, may disagree with the Bush strategy, in having gone to the UN at all, but the administration has been perfectly consistent, and almost inhumanly patient. The rebuilding of Iraq -- which necessarily involved the removal of the totalitarian dictatorship of Saddam Hussein -- has been U.S. policy continuously. And so has been the U.S. appeal for help. They didn't get much of it for the invasion, they are still hoping for more in the apres guerre. [...]

As he also hinted, there would be no point in muttering ungraciously if France, Germany and other powers, which got conspicuously in the way, now want to be included in the prize round. The world is the world, it needs mercy more than justice. The second big lie, in urgent need of correction, is that the United States expects much from the UN itself. The haplessness of that organization has already been demonstrated, with an abundance exceeding farce. What the United States instead needs is a resolution from that augustly fickle body. It can then use the resolution to collect on promises from not only France and Germany, but more particularly such countries as India and Turkey, which said they'd send troops and aid of various kinds, but have used the lack of a UN resolution as an excuse for dawdling.

We've really only had two conviction politicians in the presidency in modern times--Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush--and the press and the world seem to have no idea how they work. What confuses them most is that they mean what they say. Tricky devils...

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2003 9:46 AM

Is there anyone else out there who sees a small bit of Jack Ryan in George Bush? The media reaction to him is certainly the same as that portrayed by Clancy.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 25, 2003 10:17 AM

Maybe, but Reagan's presidency was a two-term success, while Bush is going down in flames because he doesn't defend himself. He's just too busy being mister nice guy to see that the Dems have already killed his presidency. The media are telling Goebbelsian lies, but Bush is AWOL the entire time, not using the bully pulpit. Meanwhile, his administration has broken down in rivaling gangs, with the State Department thinking it's the White House.

Bush's policies are right, but he's doing a awfully bad job selling them (not to mention the lack of implementation). The result will be that a Servant of Chirac™ will become president on January 20, 2005. In that case, we'd better pray that the Osamas of this world will be satisfied with dhimmi instead of with our heads on a pike.

Posted by: Peter at September 25, 2003 10:17 AM

No incumbent in modern times has ever lost a re-election bid unless there was a serious challenger from within his own party. If McCain ran against him--and to his Right instead of Left this time--he could lose in the general after winning a bloody primary; barring that he's home free.

Posted by: oj at September 25, 2003 10:21 AM

I agree with Peter. Bush is taking the left/media attacks lying down.

Posted by: TCB at September 25, 2003 10:23 AM

I'm reminded of Reagan's press conferences at the White House.

After his statement, Helen Thomas would pounce on him like a cat on a mouse. Reagan would hem and haw, and back up, raising his hands.

Think of who actually won those encounters.
Remember, Reagan did some work in Hollywood.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at September 25, 2003 10:51 AM

Agree that Bush should be tougher but remember:
He took August off
good news is starting to filter out of Iraq, even Dem congressman are after the media
It's 14 months to the election.
If OJ's scenario plays out (Iraq quiets down, troops starting coming back in '04) Bush should be ok on the war front.

Posted by: AWW at September 25, 2003 11:47 AM

Agreement that I wish Bush was a better salesman. Of course, he cold sell the true cure for all cancer and poverty, and millons would never dream of buying because it is being sold by George W. Bush. No discussion necessary.

Now that being said.... am I desparately digging for the pony here? Bear with me. Is it just possible that Bush is supremely confident about Iraq and the economy, and about himself, and what he is doing, by seeming not to fight the press et al, is allowing them to yap yap yap themselves blue in the face about things he KNOWS will prove themselves untrue?

In essence, he is allowing the liberal inclined press and fellow travellers to dig and dig and dig their own graves, to thoroughly discredit themselves, with said dis-creditment likely to be well underway by summer of 2004.

SO with that on the table....

a) Is this what is happening?

b) Is Bush, well, kinda slow, but generally right and stolid about it, not bad things in themselves.

c) Is Bush genuinely a frightenly Machiavellian genius who is eating his oh-so-brilliant enemies alive while a baseball game drones in the background, and they are so smart that they are incapable of seeing it?

What's going on here? Waddya think?

Posted by: Andrew X at September 25, 2003 1:15 PM

One of the things Bush and Rove talked about frequently prior to the election was that the most valuable tool in the President's kit is himself and that overexposure is therefore a squandering of your chief resource. If he starts running for re-election now--i.e. answering Democrat attacks--no one will be listening to him by next Summer, even when he's being President, not merely a candidate. Let Dean and Clark and company yammer away about problems that will take care of themselves and see how tired people are of them by their convention.

Posted by: oj at September 25, 2003 1:37 PM


I don't believe in (C). One problem with that scenario is that it requires the opposition to be smart and perceptive enough that elaborate deceptions are required to fool them. This is clearly contra-indicated by the fact that Bush has been running this same play book for over a decade successfully yet his opponents have yet to create effective counter-measures.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 25, 2003 2:36 PM

Lot's of things to say on this topic, but for now I'll just say this: remember that the President has tens of millions of dollars set aside for his primary campaign.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 25, 2003 3:10 PM

The primary...the uncontested primary...

Let that sink in a little.

Posted by: Timothy at September 25, 2003 3:53 PM


Unless, that is, if Bush has targeted a genuine Achilles Heel in his opponents, in that maybe there are more important elements to leadership than just plain intellect. Like such things as, morality, stoicism, stolidity, determination, willingness to take the hard and unpopular route, and simple but true faith in one's God, country and people. Tres simplesme!

Suppose for opponents to acknowledge that such elements of leadership are in fact vital would so overturn vast elements of their world-view that they are simply incapable of doing it. That statement happens to be true, however, but if one expresses anything less than total confidence in it's truth, one starts to lose.

Posted by: Andrew X at September 25, 2003 5:31 PM

I'm going with Andrew's option c).

Think of Muhammed Ali's (sp?) strategy in the ring. Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee. His fight opponents knew they understood him, but they kept losing to him. That speech at the UN was some mighty stinging; they're still putting on compresses to ease their pain.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at September 25, 2003 6:05 PM