Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Has Bush Raised Your Expectations about Iraq?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, we think we know the answer, and it is either "No" or "Hell, NO". According to this article by the AP, ( ), political experts think that Americans' expectations about Iraq are being raised by Bush taking so long to roll out his "New Way Forward" plan. Now, with approval ratings for his Iraq policy at 27%, according to the last AP poll in December, he would seem to have a long way to go. The theory is that since he is known to be so stubborn, and since he is taking a long time to announce his plan, Americans are beginning to believe that maybe he actually will announce something new that allows us to withdraw from Iraq without it becoming a bloodbath of sectarian violence.

Had more Americans, including media reporters, read Frank Rich's book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, they would understand what is happening. Rich recalls the infamous quote by Andrew Card, former White House Chief of Staff, that you "don't roll out a new product over the summer", to explain why the Bushies were waiting until the fall of 2002 to announce its plans for Iraq. Rich's book makes the point that with this White House everything is about politics and nothing is about policy, or, perhaps more accurately, policy is always subordinate to politics. Part of politics is marketing. The problem with this White House is that it thinks that everything in politics is marketing.

If you don't roll out a new product over the summer, when shows are repeated on TV and Americans are busy taking vacations, watching Little League games, and relaxing, you also don't roll out a new product when people are distracted by Christmas and the New Year's holiday. Hence Bush's decision to wait until January of 2007 to announce his supposed "New Way Forward" on Iraq.

The irony, of course, is that since the American people aren't as cynical as "bubble-boy" and his incompetent group of toadies, this is going to work against him. He is raising expectations for a genuine "New Way Forward", not just a new catchphrase for the old policy. If he doesn't meet them, he will be in even a worse position with the American public than before.

No comments: