Michael Barone

 Bush's critics have a point when they say his prescriptions were vague. Tax simplification is a fine idea, but there were no details. Making individual investment accounts a part of Social Security does test well in polls and could help Bush with young voters, but there was little more to go on than what he set out in 2000. Portable health savings accounts: interesting, but not familiar to most voters.

 As he has before, Bush wants to leave much of the heavy lifting to key legislators in Congress and has only begun to let them in on his plans. He needs to emphasize these issues much more strongly in the campaign if he hopes to develop the political momentum necessary for getting them enacted, in one form or another.

 But the wind may be at his back. For months, old media have been shaping the news in ways designed to hurt Bush's chances. Yet old media could not squelch the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth story, and Bush now has the megaphone of the presidency in his hand.

 True, many people are still seething with hatred of Bush: You could see them in the streets of New York. But consider last week's Florida primaries to pick Senate candidates: More Republicans turned out than in the Democratic primary, even though they're outnumbered by registered Democrats.

 Enthusiasm for George W. Bush ("you know where I stand") may be greater than for John Kerry ("I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it"). I gave the Democrats a B, a good grade, for their convention. I give the Republicans an A.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM