Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 26, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

SWAGGER....The Washington Post reports that the White House staff is unhappy with George Bush's recent lack of mojo:

Most of all, White House aides want to reestablish Bush's swagger the projection of competence and confidence in the White House that has carried the administration through tough times since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Personally, I think these unnamed aides have drunk too much of their own Kool-Aid. There are only a small number of extremely specialized situations in which "swagger" can carry you through, and the response to 9/11 was one of them. The fact that it worked there, though, doesn't mean it's likely to work anywhere else.

But the White House doesn't want my advice on this score. I'm actually linking to this story mainly because I was fascinated by one person's choice of scapegoat:

A top Republican close to the White House since the earliest days said the absence of a "reelection target" and pressure from first lady Laura Bush and others to soften his second-term tone conspired to temper Bush's swagger well before Katrina hit....Since the election, this official said, White House aides reported that Laura Bush was among those counseling Bush to change his cowboy image during the final four years.

Poor Laura. Of all the first ladies in recent memory, she seems the least blameworthy for her husband's political travails. After all, she doesn't consult astrologers, she doesn't call opponents "bitches," and she hasn't been responsible for the failure of a massive healthcare initiative. But she still ends up in the pages of the Post being blamed for the President's insufficient second term swagger.

Really, boys, isn't the fact that Social Security blew up, Iraq is a mess, Katrina was a disaster, dozens of Republicans are under an ethics cloud, and one lone mother managed to ruin the presidential vacation well, isn't that enough? These aides should be looking in a mirror instead of the presidential bedroom.

Kevin Drum 12:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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