Thursday, July 17, 2003

Remember how cocky the neocons were when Saddam's statue fell?

The consistently strong Dana Millbank brings us this article: Intelligence Dispute Festers as Iraq Victory Recedes.

Among other points, these competing views are presented:

Some Democrats think the damage to Bush could go well beyond the Iraq issue. One of Bush's most valuable attributes has been his reputation for honesty and straight talking. But the controversy has caused the White House to appear slippery. In moments reminiscent of the Clinton presidency Bush and his aides have sought to parse phrases -- they have called the disputed claim "technically accurate" because it was pinned on British intelligence -- and they have said it is time to "move on," the same phrase Clinton aides used. Also, a president who came to office criticizing those who would blame others for their problems has put responsibility on the CIA and the British.

"This is most dangerous for Bush in that it erodes two of his very real and durable political strengths: his perceived competence as commander in chief and his perceived honesty," said Jim Jordan, Kerry's campaign manager.

But some political professionals dispute that Bush will lose his honest appeal. Stephen Hess, a Brookings Institution scholar who wrote speeches for President Dwight Eisenhower, said presidents have always exaggerated facts to make their cases, and the public expects it. "These are understandable," Hess said, noting that Bush retains "an umbilical cord to Main Street."

I have no idea what Hess makes, but I suspect he is overpaid.

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