The Note: Plan, Plan, Plan

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1

NEWS SUMMARY

Which is more difficult: measuring America's progress in the war in Iraq or measuring the President's progress in selling the Notion of progress in the war in Iraq?

Before our regular Thursday "Worst of. . ." feature, here's the scientific scorecard on the second matrix metric item.

Crucial ommissions blah blah blah.

Nothing new blah blah blah.

Belated acknowledgement of errors blah blah blah.

Out of touch blah blah blah.

Political calculation blah blah blah.

Not listening blah blah blah.

Failed to satisfy critics blah blah blah.

No specifics blah blah blah.

Gave no ground blah blah blah.

Only speaking at military facilities blah blah blah.

Cut off from reality blah blah blah.

No commitment to a timetable blah blah blah.

And/but, how about this Los Angeles Times headline: "Bush Is Now in Step With His Generals"?

And if you look at the other headlines, the jump headlines, the pull quotes, the front-page photos in papers from sea to shining sea, the tone of the TV coverage, and the bounce stories (Note the Iraqi troop training pieces. . . .), we are almost certainly amidst the best series of mini-news cycles the Bush Administration has had on the Iraq war in eons and eons.

Let the blogs go wild; let the White House staff realize that they have miles to go before they sleep; let congressional Democrats decide if the Murtha/Pelosi Plan is more attractive to endorse than the Murtha Plan was; let the process-obsessed media start gearing up for the next Bush Iraq speech; and let's get right to The Note's Worst of Awards!!!!

Worst sign for the White House that they will have to stay in campaign mode for some time to come: The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher plays Leader Pelosi's backing of the Murtha resolution in paragraph three of his news of day speech coverage story. LINK

Worst news for the Democratic opposition on Iraq: Thomas Riehle's poll analysis in Peter Baker's Washington Post news analysis stating Americans are as skeptical of war critics as they are of the war and Democrats do not appear to be in a position to drive opinion. LINK

Worst headline for John Kerry's main talking point: That one from the Los Angeles Times: "Bush Is Now in Step With His Generals" LINK

Worst Analysis from Nicolle Wallace's Standpoint of the President's Speech: The Wall Street Journal's Dreazen and McKinnon writing that Bush left out accusations that Shiite and Kurdish security forces are torturing and killing Sunni civilians, "raising the specter of civil war." LINK

Worst Sign for Anyone Hoping that the Money for Journalism Story Was Going to Go Away Anytime Soon: Today's Philadelphia Inquirer report saying that the US military's efforts at manipulating the media in Iraq are more extensive than first reported in yesterday's Los Angeles Times.

Worst Sign for Democrats Who Think They Have a Shot at Regaining Control of Congress in 2006: In a spot-on analysis, Elisabeth Bumiller writes in the New York Times that the President's push-back on Iraq is not driven by concerns about Republicans losing control of Congress next year -- both sides of the aisle, she says, agree that's not likely to happen -- but instead by worries that support for the war could drop enough by 2008 that Congress would hold back funding of the troops in a "cut and run" strategy. LINK

Worst story if your name is Mark Pfeifle or Brian Walton: Doug Struck of the Washington Post's piece on unchanging facts on the ground. LINK

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