Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Staying the Course

Faced with mounting violence and casualties in Iraq and increasing voter dissatisfaction with the entire mess, the Bush Administration has taken the logical first step from it's George Orwell playbook: Change the rhetoric and rewrite history.

"Stay the course" is an expression that has long been popular with Republicans. According to William Safire ("Safire's New Political Dictionary"), the phrase was popularized by Ronald Reagan during the 1980 Presidential campaign. It was also a favorite of Bush41, and Bush43 has used it repeatedly to try to drum up support for his ineffectively policies in Iraq.

Well, all that is going to change now. Not the war, of course, just the use of the phrase.

During an interview on "This Week with George Stephanopolous," in response to questions about Iraq, President Bush declared that "Well, listen, we've never been stay the course, George." (http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=2594541&page=2) Yes, it's time for Bush to ignore what he's said and done in the past and rewrite history.

The new history of the Iraq war, which is somewhat different from the one you might remember, was more formally announced during a White House press conference on Monday, October 23, in which White House Press Secretary Tony Snow explained that the policy in Iraq was never "stay the course" but "a dynamic policy that is aimed at moving forward at all times on a number of fronts." (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061023-2.html)

Snow was later asked "Has anybody told the President he should stop calling it 'stay the course' then?" He replied that the President has "stopped using it."

And then the question of responsibility. "Is the President responsible for the fact people think it's stay the course since he's, in fact, described it that way himself?" to which Snow responded "No."

So, there you have it. The policy of the United States in Iraq is not "stay the course," has never been "stay the course," and the President is not responsible for any misunderstandings that might have arisen from his repeated use of the phrase "stay the course."

And so the Bush Administration attempts to change course by staying on the same course it has always taken: Manage perceptions, deny any responsibility for the past, and ignore the reality of the present.