Thursday, January 11, 2007

Shorter Nightline a couple of hours after the Bush speech:

"Ooooh! Ooooh! Why is the president so darn steadfast and decisive?"

I'm not joking:

The Decider: Bush Sounds Certain on Iraq Path

Facing Skeptics Nothing New for a Man Who's Often Proved Them Wrong

...He is so certain. He has always been so certain. Remember "Mission Accomplished" aboard the aircraft carrier in 2003? ...

And even as the casualties mounted, no weapons of mass destruction were found and Iraq spiraled into savagery and chaos -- George W. Bush would not admit to the slightest doubt.

Just last October, he told a news conference, "Absolutely, we're winning" in Iraq.

Where does it come from, this certainty ... ?

Here was Nightline's idea of objectivity: balance two old friends, Doug Wead and Donald Evans, with one skeptical reporter, Ron Suskind. Yeah, two to one is almost fifty-fifty, right?


"He absolutely has doubts. Yeah. Oh sure, sure... but, compared to most people I've met, he has fewer given the situation he's in than anybody I know," Wead said.


"I mean I see the same, you know, the same core beliefs, the same courage, the same discipline that I've always seen in him."

And even Suskind's skepticism almost echoes the old friends' praise:

"He's a guy 40ish, you know his life had more or less gone down the sink hole, not much to show, and he said, 'I'm going to be the governor of Texas.' People said, 'Are you out of your mind?' He says, 'Let me show you.' A show of will, a show of force -- he shut them down. And then the presidency: Show of will, he shuts them down. But that kind of confidence, that will, might work in a political contest in America, but in terms of the complexities of the ship of state and how it sails, of geopolitics, well, it doesn't seem to work."

Suskind does accuse Bush's inner circle of not letting him listen to critics. but Evans gets the last word:

"This president, I can tell you as somebody that's known him for 31 years well, he doesn't want a bunch of 'yes people' around him," he said. "He wants people that will tell him what he needs to hear and what he needs to hear is whatever the individual's best judgment is as to the facts and best judgment is as to the course of action we should take."

Well! That settles that!

This is what Nightline gives us -- a Hero Origin Story, and a creaky old one at that (Bush was misunderestimated) -- when a wildly unpopular president, a president abandoned by all but his base, presents a wildly unpopular plan to get even more American killed by compounding the worst foreign-policy blunder in American history.


And it is a wildly unpopular plan -- check out the results of ABC's own poll taken after the speech:

Americans broadly reject President Bush's plan for a surge of U.S. forces into Iraq, with substantial majorities dismissing his arguments that it'll end the war more quickly and increase the odds of victory, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

Indeed, rather than Bush bolstering public confidence, the national survey, conducted after his address to the nation on his new Iraq strategy, finds that a new high -- 57 percent -- think the United States is losing the war. Just 29 percent think it's winning.

...While 61 percent of Americans oppose his proposal to send more than 20,000 additional U.S. military forces there, 36 percent support it.

And a majority of poll respondents, 53%, think Congress should block the surge (44% say no).

Ah, but Bush is so certain. So who cares what we think?

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