The President should drop the backdrop and level with us.
Once again, the President's men will choreograph an event to make it easier for him not to tell us the truth. The President will use Fort Bragg as a backdrop for his Iraq speech tonight. More than two years after the landing on the Lincoln, they still use photo ops to obfuscate reality. Tonight, our brave soldiers will serve to bolster his standing. On the Lincoln, the President played dress-up to convey the image of a conquering hero.
What is wrong with an Oval Office Address? If he is frank and candid with the American people, the setting shouldn't matter. But, this President needs some extra help at this critical time. His credibility is plummeting and many of the American people are souring on the occupation.
We largely already know what to expect from the President tonight. Stay the course. The fight is hard. We will prevail.
Don't expect to be surprised. There will be no accountability for the mistakes that have been made. Rummy is safe - leave no incompetent Secretary of Defense behind. Certainly there will be no mention of the British documents about the failure to prepare for the occupation
"I think there is a real risk that the administration underestimates the difficulties," David Manning, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote to the prime minister on March 14, 2002, after he returned from meetings with Condoleezza Rice, then Bush's national security adviser, and her staff. "They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean they will necessarily avoid it."
Nor should we expect the President to acknowledge the demands of McCain, Biden and others for the need for more troops. Jesus will return before the President suggests using some of his tax cuts to enlarge the military instead of fattening the pockets of his contributors. And this President has no credibility to call for national unity as his chief advisor is virtually questioning the patriotism of his political opponents.
Imagine a backdrop of corporate CEO's as the President calls for a tax on multi-million dollar compensation packages to help pay for the war effort. Picture a backdrop of high-roller K Street lobbyists as the President proposes a lobbying registration fee to finance the armoring of military vehicles.
Returning to planet earth, the Moose recalls that the President never advocates sacrifice except from the courageous troops and their families. Expect more of the same from this President. He is incapable of political imagination - of reaching beyond the confines of his base-polarizing framework. Tonight, he will present himself as the Commander in Chief before his troops. A leader with his army.
But President Bush does not have the capacity to articulate a simple message of candor and unity to a civilian population that is divided and increasingly distrustful of his words. Or maybe he will surprise us all.
But then again, maybe not. --