With Republican Senators demanding a change in Iraq policy -- you can see why in some cases, some of them will have to run next year and they know just enough about poilitics to know the war will be a millstone around their necks -- we've seen comments from various White House spokespeople and congressional liaison people suggesting that Bush really is in touch, that he's aware of problems on the ground in Iraq (though he may have a rosier view than most) and that a drawdown of troops is likely -- maybe not this year, but by next Spring.
Judging by his appearance yesterday in Cleveland, however, the president himself has nothing to offer but the usual "stay the course" banalities. It almost seemed as if he was winging it, and he has never done well that way. Even my old retired Navy telephone friend who was initially for the war and still opposes a pullout, said he was just pathetic. He didn't even bother with facts and figures, just faith.
"We can accomplish and win this fight in Iraq ... I strongly believe we will prevail. I feel this is necessary." He talked as if al-Qaida was the only problem in Iraq, that there were no other comlexities, that is was just a matter of black-and-white, good-and-evil, and we'll prevail because we're good.
Does he actually believe any of this stuff? Does he imagine that repeating the same old vapid slogans might actually persuade anyone? He has to know there's a report coming that won't be optimistic and that the Democrats are gathering to push in Congress harder than last time, and that their chances of derailing his policies are improving. This, then, was an important speech, and he simply blew it. Can he really be as out of touch, living in a fantasy world, as he seems?