Scott Shane in the New York Times tries, not very subtly, to make the point that the NSC’s document, National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, is nothing more than a PR document, written by some political scientists who have argued that the public will support the war if they believed it would ultimately succeed. Once again we are in the realm of rocket science here, only the very smart can play! So, I should decline. But some things are not to be resisted! Bush keeps making the same points about Iraq he has always made. His strategy seems the same, while the tactics vary; he doesn’t advertise the changes. This makes sense to me. His opponents--the Shouters--yell and make things up. This is part of politics, albeit not the highest part. I have been enjoying this, since Katrina, actually. Now the focus is on Iraq. Why? because something very bad has happened in Iraq? No, no. It’s merely that the bad press from Katrina, combined with the bad press on the Libby indictment, made it possible for the shouters to be heard, so they yelled even louder than normal. It’s kind of fun watching Murtha be wrong, watching the MSM misrepresent him; watching Pelosi show her real colors, watching Kerry sitting on the fence once again; and then watching Hillary the Great tip-toe in her husband’s large moderate footprints on her way to the Democratic nomination, via her re-election to the Senate. She will, in the end, do as much damage to her own party as her husband did. But no one wants to talk about that.
Bush is betting that Iraq will turn out as he said it should and would. Because he is not to be moved on this very large and consequential issue, he is prepared to be defined by it, both now and in history. I like that. And I think he is right. Do the bad poll numbers matter? Judging by the MSM coverage, the GOP will lose the U.S. Senate next year, and a couple dozen seats in the House, and perhaps all of Ohio (see Saturday’s N.Y. Times front page, "Democrats Sense Chances in Ohio for 2006 Vote"). I don’t think so. The poll numbers don’t count. Not yet. Let’s talk about poll numbers in April and May, when the numbers are going to start having some meaning. They don’t mean anything at moment. Example, the economy continues to do very well, yet most people (according to polls) think that Bush is not handling the economy well. If this means anything it only means that the MSM’s portrayal of the economy is so skewed that people aren’t getting the facts (or it takes longer). No big thing, I say. Yet, I admit that sometimes I would like the White House to come at their opponents a bit stronger and a bit more often than they usually do. The problem is that they had some bad luck in the last few months (Katrina and Libby) and made a very bad decision (Harriet Miers). That is the backdrop. The Shouters saw the opportunity, took pot shots on everything (including Iraq), but are now nearly out of bullets. Besides, the cowboys are firing back, and facts are harder to ignore over time.