Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Some dare call it spirited clarity

Power Line calls our attention to another excellent Bush speech. Here’s a taste:

Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people. Leaders in my administration and members of the United States Congress from both political parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq, and reached the same conclusion: Saddam Hussein was a threat.

Let me give you some quotes from three senior Democrat leaders: First, and I quote, "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons." Another senior Democrat leader said, "The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as Saddam Hussein is in power." Here’s another quote from a senior Democrat leader: "Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think the President is approaching this in the right fashion."

They spoke the truth then, and they’re speaking politics now. (Applause.)

The truth is that investigations of intelligence on Iraq have concluded that only one person manipulated evidence and misled the world -- and that person was Saddam Hussein. In early 2004, when weapons inspector David Kay testified that he had not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he also testified that, "Iraq was in clear material violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. They maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the intentions at a point to resume their programs. So there was a lot they wanted to hide because it showed what they were doing that was illegal."

Eight months later, weapons inspector Charles Duelfer issued a report that found, "Saddam Hussein so dominated the Iraqi regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when the sanctions were lifted."

Some of our elected leaders have opposed this war all along. I disagreed with them, but I respect their willingness to take a consistent stand. Yet some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past. They are playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. And that’s irresponsible.

As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them into war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.)

Here’s the AP story, whose author can’t resist reminding us of the President’s standing in the polls. And here’s another AP story to the same effect.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Why is it a big deal that the AP writer mentioned Bush’s poll numbers? Surely it’s a political reality that the tone and substance of his public addresses might change in response to polls that show the public losing much of its confidence in their President. I’m really at a loss as to understanding what sort of reporting the Right would like to have. I remember reading years ago about Bush’s sky high poll numbers. Was it wrong when reporters mentioned those?


I can’t speak for "the Right," only for myself. I’d love to see straightforward reporting, not editorializing on the sly. If the article is about the President’s standing in the polls, please present the poll numbers. If the article is an "analysis" of the President’s rhetorical strategy, please present the poll numbers. You’re right; they’re relevant in that case. If you want to situate the current line of speeches in the appropriate context, present all the evidence, about what Democrats said then and now, what the various intelligence agencies have said, then and now, and what the various blue ribbon commissions have said in the aftermath of the invasion. I object only to partial presentations of context, which imply that the overriding fact is that the President is in political trouble. I’d characterize him as fed up with misrepresentations of the record, but on the basis of most of the media coverage, I’d have no idea what the record is.

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