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Monday, June 19, 2006

Karl Rove Beats the Democrats Again

If theater is in your blood, you just can't resist the urge to put on a show. After the good news arrived about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, administration officials at first downplayed any prospect of a new "Mission Accomplished" to hype the victory. But that restraint didn't last a week. In sync with Barbra Streisand, who this month announced a new concert tour to cap her 1994 farewell tour, the White House gave in to its nature and revved up its own encore.

Given our government's preference for spectacle over substance, "Baghdad Surprise 2" was more meticulously planned than security for post-liberation Baghdad. The script was a montage of the administration's greatest hits.

As with the prototype of Thanksgiving 2003, there was a breathless blow-by-blow of how President Bush faked out his own cabinet, donned a baseball cap and slipped into his waiting plane. In cautious remembrance of "Top Gun," White House photos were disseminated of the fearless leader hovering in the cockpit. Once on the ground, Mr. Bush made much of looking into the eyes of Nuri al-Maliki, our third post-Saddam Iraqi leader, and finding him as worthy as he did Vladimir Putin after a similarly theatrical ocular X-ray.

This bit of presidential shtick is now as polished as Johnny Carson's old burlesque psychic, Carnac the Magnificent.

But not every sequel is as satisfying as "Spider-Man 2." This time, the plot holes in the triumphal narrative were too obvious.

Since Thanksgiving 2003, the number of American troops in Iraq has gone up and casualties have increased more than fivefold. With Italy and South Korea leading the bailout, the "coalition of the willing" is wilting. (Rest assured that Moldova and El Salvador are hanging in.) Iraq security is such that Mr. Bush could stay only six hours, all in the Green Zone bunker. The presidential diagnosis of Mr. Maliki's trustworthiness was contradicted by the White House decision to keep the visit a secret from him until the last minute. How big a dis is that? Even the Americans the administration distrusts most - journalists - were told a day in advance.--------------

read the rest here...

Karl Rove Beats the Democrats Again

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