December 01, 2005

The War On Words

How to defeat those pesky Iraqi insurgents? Donald Rumsfeld has an "epiphany":
"I thought to myself, 'You know, that gives them greater legitimacy than they seem to merit," he said.

"Why would you call Zarqawi and his people insurgents against a legitimate Iraqi government with their own constitution. Do they have broad popular support in that country? No."

When General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, couldn't think of a better word than insurgents to use at a Pentagon press conference, Rumsfeld jumped in.

"Enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government. How's that?" he said.
"Legitimate"? Hmmn, I dunno if that one's gonna catch on, Donny...

Yesterday the normally ineloquent Bush came up with three new words: "rejectionists, Saddamists and terrorists". Dan Froomkin humorously calls it "his most sophisticated analysis of the enemy" to date.

Here's Froomkin's analysis of Bush's latest speech:
* It doesn't answer the most compelling question in contemporary American politics: When are the troops coming home?

* It doesn't even include any objective ways of measuring progress towards an eventual U.S. pullout.

* It is at heart a restatement, rather than a reappraisal, of a strategy that according to the polls the American public has overwhelmingly rejected.

* The White House did not address, not to mention refute, the argument that the continued presence of American troops is making things worse, rather than better.

* And nothing Bush said is likely to change the fact that he has a big credibility problem with most Americans.
Maybe if Bush got out more he might have more chance of understanding why this crap won't flush. Here's Froomkin again:
What does it say about the president of the United States that he won't go anywhere near ordinary citizens any more? And that he'll only speak to captive audiences?

... Is Bush reluctant to appear before an audience that might not clap at his applause lines? Is he afraid of dissent? Are his aides shielding him against his will? Is it just a matter of stagecraft, to avoid any incident that might lure the media off message?

We don't know, of course, because no one has actually asked the White House to explain.
Given that Bush and Cheney don't even get close to normal folk any more, let alone take questions from them, the only other person to ask would be White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan. But Scotty's also been AWOL for some time now...
As many readers and bloggers have recently pointed out, McClellan hasn't done a full-fledged briefing since November 9.

He has a partial excuse: The press secretary traditionally does not do formal briefings when the president is on the road, as has been the case much of that time...

The president and his entourage returns to the White House tonight, and although Bush spends part of tomorrow in Maryland, one would reasonably expect McClellan to get back to briefing tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.

And the press corps no doubt has plenty of pent-up questions ready to go.

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