May 2, 2004

"the best commodity in politics is to be underestimated"

This NYT article, The Ventriloquist Jokes Don't Bug the White House, is worth reading. The friend who sent the link said: "I think Gergen says it perfectly as to why the left sees Cheney behind every cunning move by the White House. They just keep misunderestimating Bush."

...Yet the perception persists among Mr. Bush's most fervent critics: Mr. Cheney is de facto president, and a clueless Mr. Bush takes his orders from him. An angry left, still stinging over the 2000 election and now furious over the shifting reasons for war in Iraq, sees in Mr. Bush's less-than-articulate news conferences a less-than-sharp mind. Therefore, Mr. Cheney must be running the country from under Mr. Bush's Oval Office desk.

"People on the left hear Bush discuss things in such simple ways, and yet carry off what seem to be diabolical plots so effortlessly, that they can't believe it's really him,'' said David R. Gergen, the communications director to another president, Ronald Reagan, who was perceived by his critics to be manipulated by a powerful White House staff. "It's almost impossible for people on the left to believe that simple-speaking people can be successful at politics, or can successfully govern.''...

To those of us who are interested in what's actually going on, the obsessions with Cheney and Rumsfeld seem kind of goofy. But the foes of the administration seem to inform themselves by only talking to each other.

And they are in the somewhat awkward position of wanting to criticize without actually engaging with or debating President Bush's ideas and plans. Without even admitting that there are any ideas to dispute! Since Bush says flat-out what he's up to, in plain language anyone can understand,(just read the major speeches, you will have it all) they have to pretend he's a cypher, and that a shadowy cabal is really in charge...

Posted by John Weidner at May 2, 2004 12:14 PM
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