Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Bush at a Crossroads

It seems that for the moment, the clouds have parted on what I anticipated would be a cruel summer for W. Iraq is nominally sovereign, he's been out at photo-ops with the G-8 and now NATO (even scoring the victory on NATO training Iraq's Army). In fact, if managed properly, this week could see Bush bottoming out in the polls and beginning a steady climb to electoral victory in November. My advice would be to continue to work with (or at least appear to work with) world leaders on Iraq, focus like a laser beam on the good economic news and stake out some minor policy positions on lagging areas of the economy and avoid divisive social issues like FMA.

Of course, this week could also be just a temporary parting of the clouds. Iraq's sovereignty will be tested and having the interim government declare Marshall law would be a devastating blow, as would focusing on divisive social issues which will alienate moderates, minorities and younger voters. The mantra should be on the Security, both physical and fiscal and the steps a Bush II would do to ensure them...make the convention a true big tent rather than the Potempkin Village it could easily become.

Although as an ardent fiscal conservative and social liberal it will take an enormous amount of work for me to forgive Bush on all his transgressions over the last four years. (Spending, Social conservatism, lingering doubts about WMD, torture, etc.)

One thing is for certain, it will be an interesting month to be an armchair quarterback.

Has GWB been torturing you?

We're largely in agreement, although I don't think he has anything to appologize about with regards to being a social conservative. He never advertised himself as anything other than that. That's what he was when he was a governor in TX, and that's what he is now. Whether you agree with those views or not, it's at least refreshing to have a president that doesn't re-invent his core beliefs each morning.

I do agree that the FMA probably won't be a big aid in getting conservative voters into the booth, or at least more conservative voters than liberal, but that's more of a tactical concession than a change of position.

As for Marshall Law in Iraq... That could be either good or bad. It would be bad if things spiral out of control. It would be positive if the Iraqi leaders can demonstrate that they can inspire their troops to action and accomplish positive results (less unrest). I would hope that the Iraqi leaders impose whatver Marshall Law they do impose (assuming that they will) in an as needed and as local-as-possible fashion. If (say) Eastern Baghdad is safe, and all but the North West part of the city is moderately safe, then Marshall Law in the North West part, curfews and checks in the rest of the city except for the East...

The Iraqi leader has been showing fairly good judgment so far, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will continue to use good judgment and look like a real leader with the Americans as helpful friends of the peaceful citizens of Iraq.

I agree that the GOP should be a Big Tent, but remember, even big tents have walls that separate inside from outside.
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