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Posted by on Jan 24, 2007 in Politics, War | 24 comments

Howard Fineman: Bush Is Sticking To His Guns No Matter What

Newsweek’s Howard Fineman (an accurate measure of the conventional journalistic wisdom both in terms of what is out there an what the narrative is likely to be) on President George Bush’s State Of The Union Speech:

George W. Bush wanted to be Harry Truman (patron saint of embattled presidents) in his State of the Union speech, but he may have reminded voters of Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. You know the famous scene: the giddy pilot in a cowboy hat hops aboard his own payload to Armageddon.

Say this about the president: he is going to stick with his vision, his strategy and his decisions on Iraq – no matter what the world, the American voters, the new Democratic Congress, the ’08 presidential contenders or even his fellow Republicans want.

Fineman capsualizes the real State of the Union: at the top of it, is a President who has eschewed the highly touted CEO model (since most CEOs eventually are responsive to the stockholders) of management and each day seems even more isolated to an extent that he’s now making LBJ during the Vietnam War seem to be by comparison someone who set his war policy by world and national consensus. Even his political figleaf seems to be falling off. A few more Fineman excerpts:

Without a trace of irony, he told the Congress: “Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure.� But most Americans have concluded that we already have failed.

….He seems to live in a different world. Most of us increasingly live in a wiki world, where the digital, online search for information and enlightenment is a collaborative enterprise – the cumulative, exponential power of many minds….

….Our president, whom I used to view as a gregarious man, does not scour the world for information. He likes the “one riot, one rangerâ€? Texas Ranger theory of life. I think back to 2000, and remember the bus he rented on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. It had a big captain’s chair, and even a small Persian rug and a clock on the wall, but there was something isolating about it – it was not configured to accommodate a big crowd of people gathering around. He seemed to be relieved to escape into it.

Now he wants the Democrats to join him in creating a “special advisory council on the war on terror.� It may be a little late for that – like asking them to join him for the payload ride down.

Indeed, it is difficult to find a historical parallel for the kind of increasingly isolated on all fronts status that Bush is quickly assuming. At least not in a democracy.

Be sure to read our post and extensive news/weblog roundup on reaction to Bush’s speech HERE.