Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hey, Look at Me! I'm Your President! Really!!!

Well, Dear Leader (US) was able to tamp down his Furious McChimpy alter-ego a bit during today's snap press conference. But from the few moments that I caught on the tube, it just looked like an empty exercise to staunch the flow of bad news. Funnily enough, I'm not alone with that thought -- here's the WaPo's Dan Froomkin:
As I've been chronicling over the last week or so, Bush has been having a devil of a time making anyone pay much attention to him of late. The Congressional page-sex scandal has sidelined him more than at any time in recent memory. His poll numbers are dismal. And Bob Woodward's latest book has finally convinced establishment Washington that he has a serious credibility problem.

The goal of today's press conference is to make sure that stories like this one, by Ken Herman of Cox News Service, don't become the norm. Herman writes: "At the worst possible time -- with pivotal congressional elections a month away -- an administration that thrives on controlling the message has lost control of it."
Oh yeah, and don't forget that North Korean nuke. The big news in the presser related to that:
Bush said the administration "remains committed to diplomacy" to resolve a standoff with North Korea, which announced Monday that it had tested a nuclear weapon in an underground facility on its territory.

However, the United States "also reserves all options to defend our friends and our interests in the region against the threats from North Korea," Bush said.
Yepp, standard operating procedure for BushCo. Foreign Policy's Passport blog ponders if this strategy will embolden the enemy:

The North Korean position is clear. "If the U.S. keeps pestering us and increases pressure, we will regard it as a declaration of war and will take a series of physical corresponding measures." As Richard Spencer points out, the North Koreans have been unusually straightforward in their statements throughout the crisis. Gone are the long denunciations of Bush as “an idiot, an ignorant, a tyrant and a man-killer.”

But what if this clarity is a result of their increasing confidence? The Bush administration, as William Perry notes, has regularly told the North Koreans that its actions would be unacceptable, then done little as North Korea goes ahead and does what it wants anyway. So the question is, would North Korea feel emboldened enough to follow through on this threat if the United Nations passed a sanctions resolution?


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