Tuesday, May 25, 2004

# Posted 10:06 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BIG MEDIA ROUND-UP: The WaPo's Dan Froomkin has an extremely comprehensive round-up of big media reactions to last night's speech. Somehow, the folks USA Today managed to write that "President Bush set out sweeping and impressive plans to bring stability and democracy to Iraq." On a similar note, the Chicago Tribune observes that
Bush laid out the path to that new Iraq. His speech capped a remarkable day that gave Americans the full measure of their president's determination to empower Iraqis.
But the real award for optimism goes to Ron Brownstein at the LA Times, who thinks that
President Bush offered Monday the most detailed explanation of his plan for moving Iraq from chaos to independence, increasing the pressure on his Democratic rival, Sen. John F. Kerry, to fill in an alternative vision for stabilizing the troubled country.
But if almost 60% of Americans believe that Bush has no plan for Iraq and that he is doing a bad job of handling the situation, why should Kerry feel any pressure? A more realistic take on the situation comes from John Podhoretz, who writes that
Bush is a high-stakes player, a political gambler. And last night he took a fantastically bold gamble: In the teeth of bad polls, an atmosphere of panic in his own party and the barely concealed glee of his rivals . . . he has decided to stand pat.
That assessment dovetails with both the opinion of David Brooks and yours truly. When Bush was running for President the first time around, he promised that he would govern on the basis of firm principles, not the latest numbers from the polls. That argument may not work this time around because now we know its true.
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