The wager behind the speech

Rocket Man, I thought the President’s speech was fine. This account by John Podhoretz is closer to the mark than the stuff the Washington Post is cranking out. I was slightly concerned that Bush might take too much of a “hat-in-hand” approach to the U.N. This was what the mainstream media suggested he would do. Clearly, he did not. Instead, he simply told the American people what he expected of the international community. I would have preferred it if Bush had cited more evidence to support his claim that progress is being made, but that’s not the kind of speech it was. This was not a sales pitch — it was a sober statement of the situation.
Notwithstanding its merit, the speech drove home the extent to which President Bush’s presidency is linked to events that he probably cannot control to a significant degree. The president is betting not only that he can deliver a fairly good outcome in Iraq, but that the public has what it takes to see through excessive negativity and to deal with real negatives. In a sense, he is betting that the Islamofascist view of America as weak and decadent is entirely wrong, something that has not yet been shown to be the case.


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