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October 14, 2005

The Velcro President

Craig Crawford's latest column is a must read (available here later today) in that it sums up the Bush administration's political problem perfectly:
"The source of this presidentís power -- the cult of personality so finely crafted in his image -- is proving to be the key to his undoing. The secrecy, spin control and demands for loyalty in his White House have always been about making Bush the one and only face of his presidency. From the West Wing inner circle to the Cabinet, the Bush team was on orders to stay out of the limelight and let the president take the lead on all fronts.

"This system worked well for Bush when there was mostly good news to claim credit for. But now that blame for bad news must be handed out, the president stands almost alone in the receiving line."
By letting others take credit in good times, it's easy to blame someone else when something goes wrong. Crawford notes Ronald Reaganís "famous detachment from the particulars of governance earned him a reputation as 'the Teflon president.' Nothing bad ever seemed to stick to him."

Now, Bush is in danger of becoming "a Velcro president" with all bad things sticking to him.

Case in point: The New York Times reports on yesterday's teleconference with American troops in Iraq that "came across as carefully scripted and a bit awkward." Worse than that, the event backfired and the staging became the entire message. For instance, the AP story only talks about how the teleconference was scripted.

Hotline On Call got it right: "We think the Daily Show will have a month's worth of fodder."


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