Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | February 10, 2003

Bush to pretend he cares about economy

In the preceding two weeks prior to war, Bush will try to appear interested in the economy.

The fact that Bush's handlers must make the effort to make their man appeared engaged is quite telling. No one has to go out of their way to make Bush appear interested in Iraq. He's obviously quite obsessed with his little war. But when it comes to the economy, they have to put on an elaborately staged production.

In other words, it's called FICTION.

The presidential push is a defensive public relations move at a time of rising angst among GOP lawmakers and lobbyists about Bush's shaky standing on domestic issues.

History shows that strength as commander in chief is no shield against voters who are worried about their pocketbooks. So as Bush meets with heads of state and dials around the globe to broaden support for unseating Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the White House will stage a series of speeches and events designed to show presidential sympathy for small businesses and middle-class investors.

People are hurting -- jobs are scarce, thousands join the unemployment line every day, our nation faces deficits from this generation to the next, our national debt is exploding, etc, etc, etc.

But if all Bush offers is tax cuts, then all the talk in the world won't rescue him from voter backlash. His first round of tax cuts were the cure for all of the nation's ills, but the U.S. simply got sicker. I don't think anyone is ready to take more of the same poison. Not even the president's allies:

Some of Bush's allies in the K Street lobbying community fret that the White House botched the rollout of his two domestic priorities -- fundamental changes to Medicare, and the economic package, which is built around eliminating taxes on stock dividends.

Parts of both plans have been panned on Capitol Hill, even by many Republicans. Some GOP lawmakers are complaining about the huge deficits built into Bush's new budget.

"Bush has lost his luster," said an aide to a Senate Republican leader. "There are difficulties for him on the entire domestic agenda."

Bush would have a better chance of turning things around in a peacetime environment, but his (and the nation's) attentions are riveted on Iraq, and changing the public's perceptions on the economy will require more than the odd speech over the next couple of weeks.

Especially when it's obvious to everyone that Bush's 'economy' speeches are the epitome of the term "phoning it in".

Posted February 10, 2003 09:51 AM | Comments (74)


Bush Administration
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