My brother offers what is in effect a scorecard for Bush's speech this evening.
White House Briefing: Beware the cut-and-run straw man tonight, when President Bush delivers a prime-time speech about Iraq with troops from the nation's largest army base as his backdrop.
To the extent that Bush acknowledges the growing public opposition to his leadership of the war at all tonight, it may well be to disparage those who would “cut and run” rather than “stay the course.”
According to the latest polls, Americans are not saying that U.S. troops should leave instantly. They're saying they feel the country is bogged down in a war that was a mistake in the first place, they're saying they feel misled by the president and have lost confidence in him, and they're saying they want to know the way out.
They're not saying abandon the troops; they're saying support the troops. They're not saying dishonor the dead, they're saying stop the dying. They're not saying let the terrorists win; they're saying they don't think that victory in Iraq will have a major impact on terrorism elsewhere.
[Press Secretary Scott] McClellan said Bush will not announce any change in course, but he did offer that the president would “talk in a very specific way about the way forward.”
Or, if you ask me, it could just be a media event, devoid of substance…
Of course, even if Bush does not engage the growing unease about the war and just rephrases his previous assertions, he will still come out ahead if the press coverage highlights the new sound bites — rather than explaining that he failed to address the mounting concerns of the American public.