Oh, please, please -- make my day, George:
President George W. Bush is expected on Tuesday to try and retake the initiative in the Washington political debate, in a speech that is expected to be long on optimism....
Mr Bush is expected to deliver an upbeat message on the war in Iraq in his annual yState of the Union address, pointing to progress being made in the country....
He is also expected to make optimistic comments on the US economy....
He's going to make "optimistic comments on the US economy"? Oh, I want him to do that every day -- I want him to tell people who are facing stagnating wages, rising health care costs, and high energy prices that we should all crack open the champagne because GDP growth is just great. If he thinks that will fly with average Americans, he's nuts.
And -- apologies for my cynicism -- he's going to try to sell an upbeat message on the war at a time when a real live TV star has been seriously injured by a bomb in Iraq. Celebrity matters in America; insisting that there's a significant number of Iraqi troops who are kinda-sorta-almost ready to stand up so we can stand down is not going to trump this incident.
But I should add that I think what we'll probably remember from this speech is the "support Republicans rather than Democrats or you're all going to die" part -- which I think will be the extended climax of the speech, and a much more important part than you've been led to believe by all the "Bush to Emphasize Medical Savings Accounts" stories you've been reading. Expect to be manipulated yet again into thinking about bodies falling from the Towers. Expect to be told that some Democrats don't want there to be any surveillance of al-Qaeda. Remember, the Patriot Act is up for renewal again this week -- I find it hard to believe that there's going to be more about medical savings accounts than about that and the NSA.
UPDATE: The happy talk on Iraq is going to be even harder to sell when there are new videos of Zawahiri taunting Bush* and Jill Carroll weeping.
*(Damn, now I'm doing it -- conflating al-Qaeda and Iraq. Well, Bush will conflate them, so I still think the point is valid.)