Never one to let the Democrats out-maneuver him, President Bush has decided that he can criticize the Iraq war better than his detractors. And thus we have the brand-new Rovian strategy: eating crow with a humble-pie chaser. For the fifth time in three weeks, Bush went before the cameras to sell his bungled war to the masses. But this time it should be called "The I screwed Up Tour."
Doing a political 180, Bush has finally admitted that the pre-war intelligence was all wrong and that he as president must take responsibility for sending the troops to war. No WMD, no AL Qaeda connections, so no threat to America, right? Guess again. Just when you'd think the president would make that very logical conclusion and admit the war was a mistake, he utters the same infuriating rhetoric we've heard ad nauseum since 2002:
"My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision," the newly humbled one said this week. "Saddam was a threat and the American people, and the world is better off because he is no longer in power."
How can this be? How could the intelligence--the same intel used to justify the war--be wrong and yet the war still justified? Why offer a mea culpa if you completely negate it's impact by staying on message about this non-existent threat? I'll tell you why. Because Americans, at best temporarily, believe this crap. A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 48% of the country believes the war was a mistake, as opposed to 54 percent of those polled last month. And, Bush's approval rating is 42 percent, up 4 percent from November.
But like all the other Bush bounces, this one will be short-lived, especially as the violence in Iraq continues to escalate and the fragile Democracy faces severe challenges, as many experts fear.
The Bushies' new strategy is to put some humility into their usually cocky, infallible president. To show that he is able to admit mistakes. Able to admit things are not going as planned. Able to admit the war has killed tens of thousands. But in true Bush fashion, none of this detracts from his rhetoric that the war is still a success and there's progress everywhere.
But what these masterful political operatives arrogantly keep failing to realize is that they'll eventually pay the price of lying and deceiving Americans. They already are. They're currently embroiled in a veritable litany of controversy, scandal and criminal charges. And it's only going to get worse.