Back in the days before the President’s poll numbers plummeted over Iraq, perhaps the Bush administration’s best strategy was the rope-a-dope. We saw it played over time and time again. Democrats would attack Bush, he would ignore them as if they were nothing more than gnats. Democrats would ratchet up their attacks, going farther and farther out on a limb with each successive one until -- “thwap.”
Sometimes that thwap was delivered by events. Early in the first term, Nancy Pelosi repeatedly asked “Where are the jobs, Mr. President” as Democrats attacked Bush for his “tax cuts for the rich.” The thwap was delivered when the effects of the Bush tax cuts kicked in and each quarter saw a growing economy and gains in the job market. After denouncing the tax cuts and predicting economic doom and gloom would result, the Democrats lost any credibility they may have had on the economy when their predictions did not come to pass.
Other times the “thwap” was a deliberate smack down. The President would finally decide, after his opponents had progressed from calling him merely a puppy-hating Nazi to a full out baby murdering Hitler, to respond to the attacks in a forceful way – generally with irrefutable facts. Not only did his opponents then look wrong on the facts, but they looked a bit like raving loonies for having made such outrageous accusations. In some cases opponents of the President had aligned themselves with fringe figures like Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan, making it more difficult to come back to the mainstream where most Americans were.