Posted by Charlie S (220.127.116.11) on April 29, 2001 at 15:02:21:
This big gap is because of the New Yawk Times. I can't seem to pull it together. Read on below: It's worth it....I promise!
WASHINGTON — So I found myself on Friday in the Cobra Reading Room on the Web.
I had discovered on the Hotline, the Racing Form of politics, that President Bush's nickname for me is "The Cobra."
I wasn't sure if that was an insult or a sign of respect. So I figured I'd read up on some cobra traits.
"The cobra lives near towns where mice and rats abound." Well, I thought, that fits.
"Cobras have extensive tissues that store fat." Yup.
"The venom of cobras acts powerfully on the nerves of those it attacks." Clearly.
Maybe the president had it right. I was a major-league asp.
I puzzled over whether W. fancied himself the mongoose or the snake charmer in this allegory. Either way, I knew he would expect me to hiss a bit about his first 100 days.
It has been a strange start. Al Gore jokes he should be addressed as "Your Adequacy." But W. risks being "Your Inadequacy."
Men customarily build their presidencies around their strengths. W. has built his around his weaknesses.
His White House reminds me of the 1937 movie "Damsel in Distress," in which Fred Astaire has to frantically pirouette around Joan Fontaine to make up for the fact that she cannot dance.
Bush officials are always frantically pirouetting around W., making up for his stumbles and lacunae.
Last week, the president threw the planet into a turmoil when he went on "Good Morning America" and said he was willing to "do whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself" against a Chinese attack, including sending American forces.
Obviously, Mr. Bush did not set out to change nearly 30 years of American policy on a morning chat show. But, sensitive about W.'s reputation as a featherweight, his aides did not want the president to have to admit he made a boo-boo and is a yo-yo who can't be trusted to carry on a brief discussion about his own policies with hard-hitting Charlie Gibson. (Hiss!)
So they tried to soften his statement while letting it stand, thereby enraging Beijing further.
On Friday night, Uncle Dick Cheney had to go on Larry King and explain in that reassuring basso that the Kid was not changing policy.
W.'s advisers tried to make him look more impressive in his first forays into diplomacy by keeping the big world leaders at bay and letting him hang out with lesser leaders he could talk to in Spanish.
So now we have a whole new alliance with Central and South American countries simply because W. feels more comfortable at what USA Today dubbed "amigo diplomacy."
The ill-prepared president doesn't seem troubled by the state of his preparedness. There's no indication he's staying up late to make up the work. He isn't even aspiring to on-the-job training. The White House simply pretends that thoughtlessness is thoughtfulness, and that the president is governing when he is gaffe-ing. (Hiss!)
His team overreacts to his father's failings. Karl Rove, a.k.a. "Boy Genius," in W.'s nickname lexicon, is so assiduous about buttering up the right, which grew disillusioned with Bush père, that he has alienated swing voters and Republican suburban women on the environment and abortion.
Lee Atwater, the bad-boy strategist for Bush Sr. who was a mentor to Mr. Rove, aimed to keep the right happy, but he never bowed and scraped to "extra-chromosome conservatives," as he and his boss called them.
It is ironic, given how intently they are shaping Bush II to avoid the errors of Bush I, that W.'s weakness in polls at the start is the same one that sunk his dad in the end.
In last week's ABC News/Washington Post poll, 51 percent said the president does not "understand the problems of people like you."
When the father got tarred for being out of touch, it was because of his patrician ways and because he was absorbed in his avocation, international affairs, while this country was hurting economically.
The son has a plain-spoken, colloquial style and homespun tastes. He runs from his gilded cradle, avoiding Yale and refusing to acknowledge Connecticut as his birthplace on a recent trip there. But he is not seen as a populist, either. He, too, is surrounded by wealthy older men. And they have given his economic and environmental policies a strong corporate aroma.
Air Force One is beginning to look like the company plane. (Hiss!)
Charlie S :^)
Post a Followup