Here’s a thought experiment to mull. Take 100 undecided voters and expose them to an hour of clips of George W. Bush talking. How many of them will lean Obama at the end of the hour? More than half, I’m guessing, which is why McCain needs this issue, and George W. Bush, off the front pages as soon as possible. McCain’s trajectory to victory has always relied upon Bush falling out of public view. Up until this crisis, Bush seemed happy to oblige the Republican nominee. But this has put Bush front-and-center, which inherently helps Barack Obama.
This logic is wrong, and Mr. Cost has fallen into a trap. The President has done an excellent job hiding himself during this campaign, yielding almost everything to Senator McCain. He is no President Clinton, not by far. There’s not much more the President can do for his party.
Mr. Cost admits all this and then argues the best thing is for the issue to go away, and by extension, for the President, um, to never do his job at all.
It’s just common “knowledge,” after all, that Bush is an idiot. People who are drug dealers and child rapists know they’re inherently better than the President, and aren’t afraid to say so loudly. I’m not kidding about this – anyone who’s been online for more than 5 minutes can’t fail to notice just what kind of loser trash thinks itself capable of commenting on anything, let alone the Presidency.
The mistake has been failing to defend the President, and buying into the mainstream conviction that everything he’s done is awful and every single thing wrong with the world is his fault. As long as Senator McCain believes that – and he does to a degree, he calls himself a “maverick” after all – he’ll never be President. He’ll always be buying into a vision of the world that is inherently biased against the use of power in any way, and into a cheap populism where reform is about blaming the rich and oil for everything. That vision of the world allows people whose whole life is Internet forums to call him “senile” and question getting beat to hell for 5 years just to be able to say you didn’t betray your country.
Real leadership involves telling the public there are things they don’t understand and grossly oversimplify. Real leadership means taking action against scum like terrorists, not reaping the rewards of the War on Terror and then saying you’re more moral than everyone else fighting it because you’re not fighting.
I’m Ashok Karra, and I approve this message, and very much approve of President Bush.