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Face Facts: Today’s Democrats Bear Brunt of Blame for Federal Debt

In those moments in the past forty-hours when I’ve paid attention to the debt negotiations, I want to just ask every Democrat attacking House Republicans – and said Democrats’ allies in the mainstream media demonizing the majority party in the chamber attempting to face this* — “How do you plan to pay for this?”

As I scan my e-mail and scan the blogs, I keep coming across interesting tidbits that measure the increase in spending in the Obama years.  Those on the left blaming George W. Bush for the current stalemate have been using gimmicks to explain away his successor’s spendthrift ways.

Yes, we grant that Republican could have done more — much more — to rein in federal spending (and we and other conservative blogs as well as conservative editorial pages took him to task for fiscal failures), but his spending spree seems restrained when compared to that of his successor.  No matter how liberal economists try to dress it up, the Obama administration increased the rate of increase in federal spending above and beyond what it was under Bush.  You just need look at the various budgets each president signed.  (And the most recent one Obama submitted to show just how he sought to increase spending.)

Indeed, that increase began when Nancy Pelosi took over at House Speaker in 2007.  (And yes, we can and should criticize W for not wielding the veto pen more regularly and more strategically.)

Earlier today, Glenn linked a post where Ira Stoll compared the spending habits of the Democratic incumbent to his most recent Democratic predecessor:

. . . the bottom line is that the federal government is spending about double what it was at the end of the Clinton administration. (more…)

W, no conservative? I’ve been saying that for years

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:36 pm - April 4, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Where W went wrong

In today’s Washington Examiner, Mark Tapscott writes:

The reality is that Bush was anything but a conservative, judged by the major decisions of his presidency, according to two stalwarts of the conservative movement establishment. That’s the argument made by Craig Shirley, author of two of the best books on Ronald Reagan’s rise to the White House, and Donald Devine, one of Reagan’s chief political strategiests during that rise, have a superb oped in today’s edition of The Washington Post.

“But the results speak otherwise. In total, Bush increased federal spending on domestic programs more than any president since Richard Nixon, easily surpassing Bill Clinton, Carter and his own father, so much so that by 2008, America had two big-government parties.

To be sure, W was solid on national security matters and judicial appointments, but on spending he was Obama-lite.  Nearly four years ago, when Bush was still president, I wrote this about him:

On domestic spending, he has rivaled Lyndon Johnson’s profligacy. Not only that. He has failed to follow Ronald Reagan’s legacy of federalism; instead of returning government functions to the states, has nationalized them.

Funny that many Americans rejected the GOP in 2008 because their previous standard bearer had been so bad on spending so they voted for someone who promised a “net spending cut” and to “pay for his new spending plans with even bigger spending cuts.

Only on spending, Obama makes W seem parsimonious by contrast.

Do You Feel Safer Than You Did A Year Ago?

I think it was John (AverageGayJoe) who asked that question in the comments a few days ago.  The Hill took that question to a variety of political pundit-types.

I agree with Tom Fitton from Judicial Watch:

The Obama administration’s anti-terrorism policies have made the United States less safe.

Obama’s decision to end the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques prevents us from gaining intelligence that can save lives and prevent terrorist attacks (like the recent attempt to blow up the Detroit-bound airliner).

Obama’s decision to prosecute 9/11 terrorists in civilian court is a public relations victory for Al Qaeda that will lead, among other deadly dangers, to the release of intelligence data that will help terrorists.

Obama’s decision to prosecute the recent airline bomber Abdulmutallab in the civilian system prevents our defense and intelligence agencies from gaining access to timely information that might prevent future terrorist attacks.  And it will encourage more terrorism by suggesting leniency can be had by terrorists in plea bargain negotiations with civilian prosecuters.

Obama’s decision to close Gitmo will result in terrorists being brought to the United States, with all the attendant risks to the homeland – which include the outright release of terrorists in the United States.

Obama’s decision to release terrorists from Gitmo and elsewhere will lead to more terrorism from recidivist terrorists. [GP Ed. Note — Released Gitmo terrorists (under Bush) already have returned to the battlefield.]

But the real question is…. what do you think?  What do your neighbors think?  What do the majority of Americans think?  Is America Less Safe Under Obama?

I’d like to see Gallup ask that question.  The best part of this whole conversation is that Dick Cheney began the discussion with that very point.  Hooah.

UPDATE: A related thought from Marc Thiessen at National Review:

Thanks to Obama, the terrorists know they have nothing to fear — and thus have no incentive to talk. And even if they did face some enhanced techniques, the techniques would no longer work — because the terrorist would know from the memos that there are limits to what they would face. The effect of the techniques is psychological, not physical. They trick the terrorists into thinking what they are enduring is worse than it really is.

It’s like the show Magic’s Biggest Secrets Revealed — once you know how the magician saws the woman in half, you’re not fooled. The same goes for enhanced interrogation.

Obama’s policies themselves are making our nation less safe.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

“Do your homework, first:” Condi Confronts a Critic

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:04 pm - April 30, 2009.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,War On Terror,Where W went wrong

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confronts a misinformed critic of the Bush Administration:

Wish more of her colleagues had challenge critics as directly as she did above and wish that the Bush White House had done more to promote such challenges.

Had W had Obama’s public relations commitment, he would likely have left office with much higher approval and the angry left would find less traction in the MSM for many of their allegations, nearly all of which are based on an incomplete knowledge of the facts.

(H/t:  Reader Leah.)

Bush Misunderestimated MSM’s Malice

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:40 pm - January 19, 2009.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Media Bias,Where W went wrong

In noting additional failures of the Bush Presidency not identified in my Broad Outline of Where W Went Wrong, commenter (and blogger in his own right) V the K points out that president naively expected “the Democrats to put aside partisanship for the good of the country.

Building on my own first point (how the president took didn’t do “enough to defend his character and promote his programs”), I would offer a similar thought to V the K.  The president naively assumed the MSM would put their liberal leanings aside to do their jobs and report the news.

In the wake of his 2004 reelection victory, the president probably thought the media would be less hard on him because he couldn’t run for election again in 2008. In the run-up to 2004, they had been hard on him because they were doing their utmost to prevent his reelection.

Having failed that, he must have just assumed they would give him a fair shake in his second term.

But, alas, it seems those in the media don’t just want to defeat Republicans, they want to discredit us as well.

Broad Outline of Where W Went Wrong — Bullet Points

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:25 pm - January 15, 2009.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America,Where W went wrong

Given my tendency to write essays, I sometimes bury the meat of my posts after the jump.  So, I decided to separate post to list the conclusion of my prior post where I list the broad areas of President Bush’s failure.  I flesh them out a little in the post, so check it out to read my explanation.

But, if you’re pressed for time, here are the main reasons (in my view) for the slide in the president’s popularity in his the second half of his first term and his second term.

  1. Taking his popularity in the wake of 9/11 for granted and not doing enough to defend his character and promote his programs. (And as per Jack Goldsmith, this applies to the way he dealt with Congress.)
  2. Not realizing that the increased security expenditures in the wake of 9/11 should mean cuts from other areas of the budget.
  3. Seeing his reelection a a personal vindication and appointing cronies instead of competent conservatives to posts of power and influence.

Broad Outline of Where W Went Wrong

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:18 pm - January 15, 2009.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America,Where W went wrong

As President Bush prepares to deliver his farewell address, I thought I’d offer my broad overview of why, I believe, he lost the support of the American people and how he failed conservatives.

Later, either today, tomorrow or this weekend, I may use the text of that address to focus on his accomplishments. Despite his many blunders, he did accomplish a good deal, notably in keeping us safe since 9/11 and in appointing two responsible, intelligent and eminently qualified jurists to the Supreme Court.

While Bush has been anything but a conservative on fiscal issues, I don’t regret my vote for him in 2000 and 2004. Given the alternatives, I know we’d be in worse shape had Al Gore or John Kerry won. Gore’s behavior since his loss has shown he lacks the temperament to lead. And Kerry was too beholden to liberal opinion to develop a coherent strategy to face the threats abroad.

Since I’m going to focus on Bush’s failings, let me alert you to Fred Barnes’s piece listing ten things, he believes, the president got right. I agree with him on most of those.

While we can find many little mistakes over the course of the president’s eight-year tenure, I believe that many (if not most) of them stem from two things, taking his popularity for granted in the wake of 9/11 and misreading the 2004 election returns.

After 9/11, just by (by and large) doing the right thing, his popularity skyrocketed and remained high through the summer of 2003, the same time he tapped a overly deferential man lacking in public relations skills as his Press Secretary. Simply put, Scott McClellan was the wrong man to handle a press corps eager to under George W. Bush.

Even as the press became increasingly combative in 2002 and 2003, the public continued to rally around the president. He didn’t think he needed do anything to remain in the good graces of the American people. So, he didn’t work hard enough to burnish his image and defend his policies in the wake of unrelenting attacks on his character and motives.

At the same time as he requested larger federal outlays to meet the terrorist threat, he didn’t do anything to restrain domestic spending. It would seem that a responsible steward of the public treasury would say, if we need more to pay for this program, we’re going to have to take less to pay for that.

(more…)

Does W stand for Wilson (as in Woodrow)?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:42 pm - January 9, 2009.
Filed under: American History,Where W went wrong

We don’t have presidential opinion polling for 1920 or 1921 so we don’t know what Woodrow Wilson’s approval ratings were when he left office on March 4, 1921, but I would wager that if Gailup had been polling the American people back then, that Democrat would have then had approval ratings rivaling those of the currently outgoing incumbent.

One measure we do have is the result of the 1920 presidential election. The year, James Cox, the candidate of Wilson’s Democrats had the lowest popular vote percentage (34.5%) of any major party nominee in a race with no significant third party candidate. He even ran behind Herbert Hoover in 1932 and Jimmy Carter in 1980, incumbents running for reelection during the two worst economic crises of the last century.

Last fall, the candidate of George W. Bush’s party ran a full ten points ahead of Davis.

In 1916, Wilson won reelection with a popular vote margin nearly identical to that of Geroge W. Bush in 2004, though the Republican did win a majority of the popular vote.

While both men, Bush and Wilson, leave office largely out of favor with the American public, both espoused an idealistic foreign policy, centered around the notion of promoting democracy abroad. Compare Wilson’s Fourteen Points to Bush’s Second Inaugural Address. The essence of those points, “free trade, open agreements, democracy, and self-determination” is not much different than the broad outlines of Bush’s foreign policy goals.

History has held Wilson in higher regard than did the American people when he left office.  And I daresay, it will offer a similar opinion of George W. Bush.  Both led our nation to victory in foreign wars and may well have been undone, in part, by their idealism.  Neither will join the pantheon of the great, or even the “almost great” presidents, but neither will they be relegated to the list of presidential failures.

The Opportunity Bush & DeLay Gave Obama

For the past few days, I have been contemplating a few posts offering a kind of retrospective on the Administration of George W. Bush.  The more I think about this project, the more I realize how complicated it is.  The incumbent is hardly the caricature his opponents paint, yet he has blundered badly on a number of issues, particularly on domestic issues in his second term.

On the issue which will (likely) most define his term, particularly in the years immediately after he leaves office, he exhibited characteristics which reveal his greatest weaknesses and greatest strengths.  He stubbornly adhered to a failing strategy from 2004 through the end of 2006, then against widespread opposition from the political class (and even the military brass), shifted course, showing incredibly resolve in adopting a new –and ultimately successful–strategy.

And while I commend the president from learning from his father’s mistake and refusing to raise taxes, that’s all he learned from his father’s domestic record.  He didn’t fully understand that Ronald Reagan’s Vice President betrayed his predecessor’s legacy not merely by increasing taxes, but also by not holding the line of domestic spending.

It seems George Bushes don’t value fiscal discipline; domestic spending increased at a rapid clip during each man’s tenure in the White House.

And with a Republican Congress under Tom DeLay committed more to preserving political power than to promoting conservative policies, the party departed from the fiscal principles which led the GOP to electoral success in the 1980s on the presidential level and in the 1990s on the legislative level.  Our political fortunes would surely have improved had the principled Bob Walker defeated the opportunistic Tom DeLay in the 1994 election for House Majority Whip.

(more…)

McCain, Lieberman: Iraq Is Won, Praise Obama’s National Security Team

With the symptoms and root cause of Bush Derangement Syndrome ending in a month, and the GOP moderates gellin’ behind Obama on foreign policy… is a consensus of Victory in Iraq possible?  And will bipartisanship on the Global War On Terror be reborn?

For the past several years, Iraq has divided and polarized our parties, our policymakers and our people. The debate over the war has often been disfigured by politics and partisanship, precluding the national consensus so important to American security in a dangerous world. President-elect Barack Obama has the opportunity to end this destructive dynamic and rebuild a bipartisan consensus on American foreign policy, including the way forward in Iraq. In naming talented, principled and pragmatic leaders to his national security cabinet, the president-elect has already demonstrated that he wants to set aside foreign policy politics as usual.

Now the very capable leadership team of Defense Secretary Bob Gates, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and Gen. Jim Jones, the incoming national security adviser, can apply their bipartisan credentials to help the president-elect forge an Iraq policy that will garner the support of Democrats and Republicans alike.

This outcome is not yet guaranteed, even with all the success we have seen over the previous two years in Iraq. That is what makes it all the more important that Republicans and Democrats put aside the differences over Iraq that have divided us in the past. The president-elect has the chance to repair this breach in our politics by adopting a set of policies, resting on the best judgments of our commanders and diplomats on the ground, that all of us — Democrats and Republicans alike — will be able to support. We have high hopes that he will do so.

Only time will tell.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Obama to betray “lefties” as W betrayed “righties”?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:48 pm - November 25, 2008.
Filed under: Economy,National Politics,Where W went wrong

Sort of reiterating a point I made two-and-one-half years ago, Glenn Reynolds observed yesterday that as lefties are now worried about the coming Obama betrayal, “righties have been blaming Bush that way for years, so I guess it’s only fair that it’s someone else’s turn now . . . .

Just another reminder that while so many in the media blame the current economic mess on conservative policies, the outgoing incumbent president failed to implement many conservative reforms.  Yeah, he passed tax cuts and those seem to have helped us get out of the recessions left by his predecessor and magnified by 9/11, but he didn’t offer corresponding cuts in federal spending or effect any serious deregulation of the economy.

Since there was no conservative reform of the financial markets these past eight years, conservative policies cannot be responsible for their failure.

His successes see to lie in the areas where he was most conservative:  standing up to threats abroad and protecting us at home.

How Obama is Like Bush on Spending

Perhaps, the greatest failure of the Bush Administration began when George W. Bush enjoyed his greatest popularity.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 as the president proposed increasing defense spending to beef up our national security at home and defeat Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, he failed to hold the line on domestic spending.  At that time, given his popularity and the mood of the country, he could more easily have pushed budget cuts through Congress.  But, he acted as if there were no need to make any trade-offs, that the federal government had an unending supply of ready money to fund all federal programs.

Now, we’ve got Barack Obama making a vast array of promises for higher levels federal spending, at a time when the financial bailout increases the deficit to to unprecedented highs.  Just like Bush, he refuses to identify any trade-offs.  According to CBS News, “Very few independent economists believe [Obama] has identified the savings needed to offset his remarkable list of tax credits, tax cuts and spending pledges.“  (Read the whole thing.)

Just as Obama has failed to identify the savings he needed to pay for his plans, so too did President Bush fail to offer any savings when he stood up to the threat of terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

At last Bush’s policies had the effect of preventing a subsequent attack on the US.  Obama’s are likely to prolong the recession.

Doug Feith on War & Decision-making

While I had become interested in War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism when I read reviews of this new book written by the Bush Administration’s former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy on Powerline (here and here), I didn’t resolve to buy it until I caught this Corner post where Rich Lowry observed:

I’m told that the Washington Post won’t be reviewing Doug Feith’s book. And the New York Times hasn’t reviewed it yet either. I know as conservatives we always complain about MSM outfits not reviewing our books, but this is truly outrageous. Apparently it’s OK to heap every failure in Iraq on Feith’s head, but then to turn around and pretend he’s a figure of no consequence when he writes a book.

If they wanted to criticize the decision to go to war and the execution of that decision, it would be helpful to hear what a chief figure in setting the Administration’s war policy had to say, particularly when that figure includes numerous documents related to that policy. But, I guess their interest wasn’t in presenting an honest portrayal of Administration policy-making.  If the MSM was going to try to bury such a book, I would buy it to prevent them from doing so and to learn what this former official had to say.

Upon learning that Feith would speaking at the Santa Barbara Retreat of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, I bought my copy there so I could get his signature. So impressed was I when he spoke that evening, I asked if he would send me a copy of his remarks so I could excerpt them in a post promoting his book.

I wish more Administration officials had spoken as lucidly–and in fora more public than a gathering of conservative intellectuals and policy wonks.

Feith began by addressing the questions Horowitz had asked him:

Why did the President decide to go to war in Iraq —despite Saddam’s not having been a co-conspirator in the 9/11 attack? And the second is why did I write my book War and Decision?

He answered by pointing out that Bush “‘inherited the problem of Iraq and had two choices either “overthrow the regime” or “try to contain the danger.”  Neither choice was free from peril.

What struck me the most about Feith’s remarks was not his thoughts about the choice the president would make, but a choice he made in writing about it, not to denigrate those with whom he disagreed: (more…)

“Compassionate Conservatism” Redux?

NTUF‘s third round of “costing out” the candidates’ platforms since January 29 found that Clinton would increase yearly federal spending by $289.6 billion, compared to Sen. Obama’s (D-IL) $343.9 billion — both significantly higher totals from the last update on March 3. NTUF also released an update for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the presumptive Republican nominee, who would swell annual federal outlays by $68.5 billion — almost 10 times the amount he was backing in January.

Inside the Beltway Logic:  vote for McCain and he’ll “cut” $221.1 – $275.4 billion in new annual federal outlays! Swell.

But wait, it gets better:

NTUF’s latest analyses include cost calculations based on hard data for 363 proposals that would affect the federal budget — more than half of which have unknown fiscal effects.

So this is just a ‘best guess’ then and we’re about to repeat the whole MediCare Prescription Drug boondoggle that President Bush strong-armed the GOP into. Oh just lovely. Lord, save us from our politicians…

h/t – QandO

– John (Average Gay Joe)

How McClellan Helps Us see W’s Flaws

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:07 pm - June 2, 2008.
Filed under: National Politics,Where W went wrong

In many ways, the story of the rise, fall and reemergence of Scott McClellan elucidates the principal problems which have plagued the presidency of George W. Bush.

Here, we see the president’s lack of concern for an aggressive public relations strategy to promote his policies, his tapping mediocrities for positions of responsibility merely because of their loyalty to him and his stubbornness in keeping staffers and other officials on long after they have demonstrated their incompetence (or keeping on those who, while once effective, had lost the stuff which once defined their success).

Long before the president asked McClellan to step down as White House Press Secretary, conservative pundits and bloggers had been calling for his ouster. Bill Kristol defined his stance in press conferences as a “defensive crouch.” Robert Novak points out that many of his colleagues thought McClellan was “unqualified” for the job of press secretary. In an excellent piece which really gets at the president’s personnel problems, David Frum noted that in his “televised confrontatations with the savage White House press corps,” McClellan looked “frightened, like a schoolboy trying to retrieve his mittens from a persecuting gang of bullies.

Only someone indifferent to public relations would tap such an individuals as his chief spokesman.

The President elevated McClellan to Press Secretary because this Texan had been a loyal supporter from his days as chief executive of the Lone Star State. Frum finds that except for Karl Rove, “these Texans were a strikingly inadequate bunch:”

hat early team was recruited with one paramount consideration in mind: loyalty. Theoretically, it should be possible to combine loyalty with talent. But that did not happen often with the Bush team.

Bush demanded a very personal kind of loyalty, a loyalty not to a cause or an idea, but to him and his own career.

But, even as it became obvious to anyone who followed the news that McClellan was not up to the task of handling a hostile White House press corps, the president stood by his longtime supporter. Just as he kept on Alberto Gonzales who, while certainly a competent attorney, had repeatedly demonstrated that he could not withstand the political pressures of the Attorney General’s office.

(more…)

How Bush has allowed his critics to Frame Iraq Debate

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:18 pm - May 12, 2008.
Filed under: Media Bias,War On Terror,Where W went wrong

Earlier this month, I read a piece on Powerline by John Hinderaker which pretty much corresponded to my own views of why the president’s approval remains so low. Like me, he “traces it back” at least as far as the summer of 2003 when the Administration failed to respond to he dishonest statements Joe Wilson made in his New York Times Op-ed and later media appearances, claiming the president lied us into war. John wrote:

One can trace it back at least as far as the 16-words controversy. President Bush may be correct in believing that history will recognize his achievements, but history will also record that his administration’s inept efforts at self-defense resulted in a Democratic Congress that is poised to do severe damage to America’s economy and national security.

While the president’s problems transcend his Administration’s public relations errors, his team did, as John put it, make some incredibly “inept efforts at self-defense,” never effectively challenging Wilson’s mendacity nor regularly defending its own decision-making process. As a result, the views of an extreme fringe (that Bush lied us into war) gained greater currency, particularly among members of the media elite.

Polls show Americans increasingly questioned the president’s honesty and trustworthiness. The left-wing narrative that “Bush lied, People Died” seems to have taken hold

Yet, as Michael Barone observes in his essay on Douglas Feith’s recently published War and Decision, this narrative is at odds with the facts. In this book, “the the No. 3 civilian at the Pentagon from 2001 to 2003. . . quotes extensively from unpublished documents and contemporary memorandums and paints is at considerable variance from the narratives with which we’ve become familiar.” (Via Hugh Hewitt.)

Like Hinderaker and myself, Barone believes these narratives have become familiar because “the administration allowed its critics to frame the issue around the fact that stockpiles of weapons weren’t found.” This wouldn’t be the last time the Administration allowed its critics to frame the debate.

(more…)

The Books I would Write on Clinton and Bush . . .

. . . . were I an investigative journalist.

If I were an investigative political journalist, there are three books I would like to write. Well, if that were my profession and I had the opportunity, I would have already completed two of them and would currently working on the third.

The first two would be about the Clinton Administration. One would look into how the Democratic president’s staff failed to prevent the then-president’s bimbo eruptions from metastasizing into a scandal. Had any one of his advisors warned Clinton that his private indiscretions could become public knowledge?

The second book would be a happier one for the Democrats. It would show how a man who, in 1992, had worked to prevent Bill Clinton from winning the Democratic nomination had, in the mid-1990s, all but saved his Administration. I would look at how Mike McCurry, White House press secretary from 1995-98 helped the then-president recover from the loss of Congress to the GOP and deal with the aftershocks of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

McCurry succeeded in spinning these stories to minimize the damage to the Clinton himself, his Administration and perhaps even his legacy.

By the time McCurry stepped down in October 1998, Republicans’ focus on the then-president’s peccadilloes enabled the Democrats to win seats as the party more serious about governing despite the then-Democratic president’s reckless behavior. My book would also consider the question Howard Kurtz posed in writing about McCurry’s last White House daily briefing: “How can a man who denies, obfuscates and beats up on reporters be so popular with the White House press corps?

McCurry’s popularity was an essential aspect of his success. (Working on this piece, I wondered if McCurry had written a book about his White House years, but when I looked him up on amazon, found the only book he had written was the forward to a media relations handbook–a field where he certainly excels.)

The volume I would now be working on right would, in many ways be the opposite of my study of Mike McCurry’s role in rescuing the Clinton Administration. In this study, I would consider why the Bush Administrations failed to develop an effective means to respond to policy setbacks and adverse stories in the news. As I’ve been pondering where the president went wrong, I keep coming back to what James Taranto calls the “Plame kerfuffle.”

(more…)

President Fails (yet again) to challenge Media Misrepresentations on Iraq

For a few months now, I’ve been sketching out some ideas for a series of posts on how President Bush squandered the political capital he earned in his 2004 election victory and lost the support he enjoyed with a majority of the American people. As I’ve been thinking about this issue, some general themes have emerged, largely related to the problems I have identified in past posts, the president’s excessive loyalty to his aides and his failure to respond more readily to critics.

Yesterday, I read a Weekly Standard piece by Bill Kristol who, in reporting on the Administration’s failure to respond to a Defense Department report on Saddam Husssein’s ties to Al Qaeda, gets at the essence of one of the latter problem, the Administration’s failure to set the record straight when the MSM spins the news to fit their narratives.

Perhaps, the Bush team wished to avoid being perceived as was that of president’s predecessor for spinning the news and believed that the truth would out. Well, if that were the case, why does Joe Wilson remain so prominent after he has long been discredited?

Indeed, it was the Administration’s failure to address directly that Democrat’s distortions which caused people to start becoming increasingly skeptical of the decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny.

Once again, as Kristol notes, the Administration is “silent” when MSM spins a report to suit their narrative. ABC News reports the study finds “no evidence Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda.” But, in fact, that very report, as Kristol’s colleague Stephen Hayes shows, found extensive ties between Hussein and “groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda . . . or that generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.”

The media has shown little interest in presenting the Republican side of the debate over Iraq. (Note the footnote to my previous post where I note a “senior writer” for the Philadelphia Inquirer describes Joe Wilson without referencing that the op-ed the writer cited had been discredited.) If the president wants to get his side out, he needs to us the bully pulpit of the presidency to make his case. Or at least dispatch his aides out to set the record straight.

He can’t expect the media to do it for him. Even when he’s right.

Had he done this more readly over the past five years, he might enjoy higher approval ratings than he does today. And might still enjoy the credibility he had on Iraq at the time he pushed to liberate that nation from a tyrant who, this recent report shows, supported groups allied with Al Qaeda and which worked to advance its agenda.