Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Conventional Wisdom Watch

Howie Kurtz on the conventional wisdom response to Bush's press conference:

Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times sees Bush gaining little yardage:

"For all the attention President Bush devoted to the war in Iraq at his news conference Tuesday night, his message boiled down to three words: Stay the course.

"Faced with rising turmoil across Iraq, Bush repeatedly stressed his resolve to drive that troubled nation toward stability and democracy -- but offered no new plans on how to achieve those aims. Long on goals and short on means, his performance left even some supporters wondering whether he had found a formula to reassure the growing number of Americans expressing doubt in polls about his course.

" 'I was depressed,' said conservative strategist William Kristol, one of the war's most vocal proponents. 'I am obviously a supporter of the war, so I don't need to be convinced. But among people who were doubtful or worried, I don't think he made arguments that would convince them. He didn't explain how we are going to win there.'"

If he can't sell Kristol. . . .

As I suggested in my last post, the electorate appears to be dividing into two groups: those who at least suspect that Bush is in over his head and those who cling to the belief that Bush is doing great because to think otherwise is to frightening a prospect. The latter group will latch onto anything that even remotely affirms that belief and thus they will judge Bush's press conference as a success. But, as William Kristol points out, it probably won't do anything to persuade those who are beginning to consider that Bush is not the man for the job.

And the more Bush continues to make the sale the more people will eventually say it's time to try someone new.

I only hope that Kerry can persuade the fence-sitters that he is a viable alternative.


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