The Note: Rhetoric and Reality

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18

NEWS SUMMARY

The events of this week are enough to make The Note nostalgic for the glory years of 2003 and 2004.

The Bush White House putting out oppo-research-driven, sharp elbowed press releases (from foreign soil no less!!!) that mention Michael Moore.

John Kerry and Co. shouting about Dick Cheney's Vietnam-era deferments and "other priorities."

The Bush White House deploying the bad cop (Bush), worse cop (Cheney), and nuclear cops (selected Hill Republicans) to question the judgment, patriotism (yes, Mr. Subliminal), honor, integrity, etc. of the Democrats (after the Democrats thought they could play fast and loose with the facts and call the President a liar).

The Democrats thinking that saying "Look, America!!! An unpopular war and a rising wrong-track number!!! Vote for us!!!" is a winning electoral strategy.

The Bush White House taking on the New York Times and David Gregory by name for alleged factual inaccuracies.

An establishment media and 4/5 of the Gang of 500 totally against the war and thinking that the President is even more foolish to double down on betting his presidency on Iraq than he was in making the original wager.

A Bush White House -- while waiting for facts on the ground in Iraq to improve and recognizing that wrong track is currently hideous -- seeking to turn public debate into a choice between a "strong, resolute" Bush and a weak, lily-livered Democrat (DeanGorePelosiMooooooooooooooooooooooooooore) Party, rather than a referendum on Bush-Cheney.

On the one hand, Democrats who were giddy over Congressman Murtha's emotional "come home, America" performance have to wonder when people like Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Bill Richardson, and others have to actually take a position on troop withdrawal. Murtha had a good news cycle, but does anyone think he would score well this weekend on JayWalking?

Beyond Iraq, the laundry list of other Republican problems is too long and boring for us to type again, but it doesn't amount to a Hill of beans compared to dealing with a war that is unpopular and whose 2006 presence frightens the party's congressional wing.

The New York Sun's globetrotting Josh Gerstein gets Stephen Hess to speak truth to power: LINK

"Mr. Hess said he believes that many of the problems Mr. Bush is facing are proxies for or at least dwarfed by the situation in Iraq. 'These are irritants, foot faults. Basically, his problem is the American people are fast losing patience with Iraq,' the professor said."

Michael Fletcher of the Washington Post just misses must-read status in systematically surveying the strategy and tactics of the Bush-Cheney-Rove-Bartlett-Wallace pushback on the war. LINK

All of this will rock and roil over the weekend into the talk shows, if the last 3.8 mini-news cycles are any indication.

Before you went to sleep. . .

- The AP's John Solomon reported that Vice President Cheney was not Bob Woodward's original mid-June 2003 source on Wilson's wife working at the CIA. LINK

While you were sleeping. . .

- NSA Hadley played coy with the press corps in Korea and strongly hinted that he is also not the source.

- The Senate voted to extend tax cuts, but not those tricky ones of the capital gains variety.

- The House voted to cut nearly $50 billion over 10 years from the budget in a close 217-215 vote.

- NSA Hadley touted the Administration's (hard) line on Murtha.

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