Recently, President Bush has been taking his case for the War on Terror, Iraq Theater, to the public in a new round of speeches, press conferences and other public appearances. I believe he should consider making this a frequent, permanent practice as long as we have a substantial military presence in Iraq -- or elsewhere.
Not long ago he gave a series of talks, in large part to answer the constant barrage of negative coverage on Iraq and the endless personal attacks leveled against him. His message resonated with the people, and he was successful in correcting much of the disinformation that has been systematically disseminated by the Democratic Party and the Old Media.
His approval ratings spiked, but the boost was short-lived. No sooner than he quit making the rounds his numbers started to crater again because his attackers are indefatigable, perpetual motion machines whose raison d'être is to savage him and undermine his presidency.
Mr. Bush's purpose then was not to rehabilitate his poll numbers, but to respond to his critics and set the record straight. So long as he wasn't amply defending himself, his defenders had a much tougher sell.
But now he's back in the public arena, aggressively defending his policy on Iraq. He has been very impressive, even more so with his extemporaneous remarks and responses to questions than in his prepared speeches, which can't help but confound his detractors, who believe he lacks the sense to come in out of a hurricane.
I suspect his poll numbers are climbing again. Even if not, I think he should clear as much of his schedule as he can to do this as often as practicable.
Lest you accuse me of hypocrisy for suggesting the president begin "to govern by the polls" since we severely criticized Bill Clinton for doing so, let me clarify. I'm not advocating he base his policies on polling data. That would be futile advice anyway, as he formulates policy based on what he believes is right. After all, isn't that one of the main complaints liberals have against him: He's just too stubborn and too inflexible?
But I do believe the poll numbers -- concerning Iraq, at least -- are extremely important to the nation. The inescapable truth is that we are at war against an enemy that cannot beat us militarily. But we can defeat ourselves if the public, for a sustained period, turns against the war and withdraws its support.
With exposure only to the bad news about our progress in Iraq and the nonstop propaganda about our allegedly fraudulent reasons for attacking Iraq and our alleged abuses there and at home, an erosion of public support is inevitable, unless something is done to counter it.
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