Is Bush Even Trying Any More?

Fred Kaplan on today’s Bush speech in Cleveland:

Unlike earlier talks of this sort, in which Bush’s speechwriters at least assembled some stray facts and passed them off as evidence of progress, this speech—which seemed entirely improvised—was founded on nothing but faith.

“We can accomplish and win this fight in Iraq,” Bush said at one point in the speech. “I strongly believe we will prevail … that democracy will trump totalitarianism every time,” he said later, as if the war in Iraq is somehow about democracy and totalitarianism.

I caught a portion of the speech on TV this afternoon, and I felt like I was in a time warp from a year or two ago. The rhetoric is all the same about Al Qaeda having no regard for human life, that’s how they differ from us, fight them there instead of over here, on down the line. Can he really keep going to the same old rhetorical well for another 18 months and pass the mess on to a successor?

I also wonder if Chertoff’s remarks were coordinated.

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the editorial board of The Chicago Tribune that he had a “gut feeling” about a new period of increased risk.

Is there any point to issuing these vague warnings about possible terrorist strikes without any specific information at all? Other than stirring up the media and getting people scared? It’s like Groundhog Day with these people.

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