Mike Allen, in a story posted last night on Time's Web site:
Friends and colleagues of Bolten told TIME about an informal, five-point "recovery plan" for Bush....
Bolten's plan ... calls for more happy talk about the economy. With gas prices a heavy drain on Bush's popularity, his aides want to trumpet the lofty stock market and stable inflation and interest rates.
And what do you know? I see that Ben Stein has already received the memo and is happily doing his propaganda bit. Here are the opening paragraphs of Stein's latest column for the business section of The New York Times (emphasis mine):
FOR my sins, I travel constantly. I enjoy it most of the time, except for going through security lines, which is always hell. But I have come to notice a few new travel horrors that I feel duty-bound to share.
First, because of the spread of mass prosperity or the accumulation of frequent-flier miles, more and more families with small children are flying in first class. (Don't bother writing to tell me that I am a bad person because I like to fly in first class. I have done my time in coach.) These small children often cry, to their parents' indifference, or, if the children are a bit older, have to be read to and played with at loud volume for five or six hours at a time. Nicht gut.
Second, and again because of the mass prosperity of Bush America (and don't bother telling me I am a creep because I like President Bush and think he's done a great job with the economy -- we do have a great economy, after all), there seem to be renovations in progress at every hotel where I stay.
Oh, and did he forget to mention that this is a really, really, really great economy?
(By the way, this is shoehorned into a column that's about an entirely unrelated subject, hedge funds.)
Gee, maybe Stein could take Scott McClellan's job if Tony Snow turns it down. Or replace John Snow at Treasury. You know, stunt casting.
(Naaah. Bush thinks of himself as a real comedian -- notice all the jokes he's been trying to tell atr his recent "informal" public appearances. He'd never let anyone into his administration who might actually be funnier than he thinks he is.)