A very fine young writer---with whom I'm unfamiliar---a certain Jay D. Homnick, takes beaucoup right-wing abuse over his recent article over at The American Spectator about the president's failure to inspire the populace in the first few post-Katrina days.
Homnick is, of course, correct. PR is the Bush Administration's Achilles heel (like the attempt to use Armstrong Williams, the Uncle Tom's Uncle Tom, to promote "No Child Left Behind" to Black America). Karl Rove may be a consummate political operator, but he's no Dick Morris. Morris would have had a poll done before the first breeze stirred and a media blitz underway before the first raindrop reached the ground.
But it is essentially a failure, or let's say an imperfection, in Bush's own constitution; our quarterback has flaws and he fumbled this snap. Why?
Dubya won every "Least Likely To" poll until he experienced a spiritual conversion later in his adult life. Politics ended up seeking him out, rather than the other way around. He remains unpolished in the showbiz aspect of the game, unlike Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John F. Kerry, who knew before they reached the age of majority that their destiny was the presidency.
Bush could no sooner say "I feel your pain" with a straight face than we could likewise listen to him say it. It just ain't him. His loss in his first election for Congress, where he put on the false skin of the Harvard-educated professional pol, made him resolve to never be untrue to himself again.
I've noticed that in our interpersonal relationships, we don't want the truth, we want to be handled. We want the other person to understand our vulnerabilities, and treat us accordingly. This isn't a bad thing; kindness and mercy, Aquinas' white lie as it were, are of higher moral value than truth. But our friends on the Loud Left to the contrary, for Bush to BS us is false to him, even if it is what we demand or even require.
And require it, we all do, and I mean that without sarcasm. Unfortunately, Bush is not up to that task. We are all faint of heart, and a little ill-founded optimism has turned the tide oftentimes in world history.
But this is a democracy, and a democracy of The Information Age. We shall each learn the facts on our own, and we shall each be responsible for our own spirits. If we are to believe the polls, this nation, or at least most of it, understands that. Good on us. Perhaps we're growing up after all.