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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rescuing Dubya's sorry ass.

This week's issue of Time reports on how Dubya's new chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, has a five-pont plan for fixing the prez's sagging political fortunes.

1. Deploy Guns and Badges.

This is an unabashed play to members of the conservative base who are worried about illegal immigration. Under the banner of homeland security, the White House plans to seek more funding for an extremely visible enforcement crackdown at the Mexican border, including a beefed-up force of agents patrolling on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).... [Says a proponent of the plan:] "Think of the visuals. The President can go down and meet with the new recruits. He can go down to the border and meet with a bunch of guys and go ride around on an atv...."

2. Make Wall Street Happy.

In an effort to curry favor with dispirited Bush backers in the investment world, the Administration will focus on two tax measures already in the legislative pipeline?extensions of the rate cuts for stock dividends and capital gains....

3. Brag More.

White House officials ... are planning a more focused and consistent effort to talk about the program's successes after months of press reports on start-up difficulties. Bolten's plan also 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. They also plan to highlight any glimmer of success in Iraq ... in an effort to balance the negative impression voters get from continued signs of an incubating civil war.

4. Reclaim Security Credibility.

This is the riskiest, and potentially most consequential, element of the plan, keyed to the vow by Iran to continue its nuclear program despite the opposition of several major world powers. Presidential advisers believe that by putting pressure on Iran, Bush may be able to rehabilitate himself on national security, a core strength that has been compromised by a discouraging outlook in Iraq....

5. Court The Press.

Bolten is extremely guarded around reporters, but he knows them and, unlike some of his colleagues, is not scared of them. Administration officials said he believes the White House can work more astutely with journalists to make its case to the public, and he recognizes that the President has paid a price for the inclination of some on his staff to treat them dismissively or high-handedly. His first move, working with counselor Dan Bartlett, was to offer the press secretary job to Tony Snow of Fox News...

After reading these points, it looks to this mapgie that Bolten's plan is just to do more of the same stuff that Dubya's administration has already been doing. Boding even worse for the plan's success is the really questionable reasoning that seems to undergird it: For example, having Dubya brag more about his accomplishments is based on the belief that the prez's stump tour to promote his Medicare drug plan was really successful — exactly the opposite of how most observers outside the White House rated it. And, as Time points out, most of the US public already doesn't trust Dubya to make the right decisions regarding Iran. That certainly makes me wonder why Bolten thinks that scaring voters with the Iran boogeyman will work any better than, say, scaring voters with the Iraq boogeyman has already been working.

If I were a Democratic strategist, I think I'd be feeling like Bolten was handing me the November elections on a platter.

| | Posted by Magpie at 11:42 AM | Get permalink




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