Ah it's so good to have Dan Froomkin back, isn't it? And he does not disappoint. Compare and contrast to the usual WaPo BushCo. hem kissing:
President Bush's fundamental challenge as he tries to regain his political footing is that most Americans don't trust him anymore.It wouldn't even require the talents of a bully like Oprah, all they'd really have to do is ask a few pertinent questions and insist that Bush, you know, answer them.
In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, for instance, 53 percent of Americans said they do not consider him honest and trustworthy. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found 52 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration intentionally misled the public in making its case for war in Iraq. Serious stuff.
And yet, when Bush faces the press corps -- either en masse, in a news conference, or in the occasional sit-down interview -- the central issue of credibility typically goes unexplored.
It seems to me the trick would be for the next news outlet that gets a sit-down with the president to devote an entire interview -- a la Oprah v. Frey -- to the issue of credibility. And to be prepared with quotes and clips -- a la Stewart -- to force Bush to directly address the various inconsistent, misleading, or outright false statements that have peppered his presidency.
Such an interview could still be wide ranging, of course. It could cover the issue of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; his descriptions of the run-up to war; his views of progress in Iraq; his statements -- and then silence -- about the CIA leak investigation; his concealment of -- and then questionable assertions about -- domestic spying; his promises for New Orleans; his stonewalling on the Abramoff lobbying scandal.
I could go on.
And in fact, with the help of you readers, I'd like to put together a series of sample interview questions for the president on the subject of his credibility. E-mail me at email@example.com. (And I apologize in advance for not responding to each e-mail.)
I realize of course that the chances of this actually happening roughly approach those of me doing some command performance tapdancing at the Royal Albert Hall in the next week or so. But it does bring to mind that there were days not so long ago when we had a president who had not delivered such a thorough screwing to the entire country that he feared facing the people under anything but the most controlled circumstances.
How they palm off that Steely Eyed Rocket Man malarky with a guy who is consumed by fear at the sight of a black t-shirt is a mystery to me.