Wednesday, November 30, 2005

W's Bubble Running out of Air: The incredible Shrinking base:

My favorite Journalist at the WaPo Online, Dan Froomkin Asked a great question the other day:

When was the last time that Bush spoke in a forum open to citizens who are representative of the diverse array of views in the country?

and the Answer is scary:

not since last October's presidential debates, and not often before then, either.

Consider that for a second.

It has been more than a Full year since the president put himself in a position to even potentially hear a dissenting viewpoint, or a complaint about his leadership.

But the Bubble by itself isn't news anymore. Thanks to Froomkin and others we've known about The WH's manipulative efforts to create pretty pictures for the evening news  while vigilantly protecting W from the dangers of  dissenting viewpoints, unhappy citizens and disagreeable bumper stickers for sometime

What is news is that the Bubble around the president has shrunk severely recently.  He's having a harder and harder time finding loyal crowds to speak in front of and his team is running to safer and safer locations

 Here's how bad its gotten:

During last year's campaign, White House advance teams began screening audiences at Bush events to insure that only supporters were allowed in. After the election, that policy gave way to a new, "invitation only" approach, in which tickets to so-called public events were distributed largely by Republican and business groups. Now Bush is in phase three, where almost everyone he appears before is either on the federal payroll or a Republican donor.

And He's not exaggerating. Consider W's most recent public appearances:

President Bush's safety zone these days doesn't appear to extend very far beyond military bases, other federal installations and Republican fundraisers.

-[today], Bush gives a speech on the war on terror -- at the United States Naval Academy. Then he attends a reception for Republican party donors.

-[Yesterday], he visits a U.S. Border Patrol office, then attends a Republican fundraising lunch.

-[Monday] he spoke at  an Air Force base and a Republican fundraiser.

-Before leaving the country on his recent trip to Asia, Bush made one last speech -- at an Air Force base in Alaska

-A few days before that, he spoke at an Army depot in Pennsylvania.

-When he delivered a speech on Nov. 1 about bird flu, it was to an audience of National Institutes of Health employees

 SO lets review: He's now speaking infront of a) paid audiences who will expect to be paid back.  b0 People whose paychecks he signs, and who he can fire at will and c) People who face jail time/ dishonrable discharge if they aren't nice to him.

I believe this is more from necessity than choice.  As his poll numbers have made like Greg Louganis on the 10m platform; it's become impossible to find enough fantatic supporters without obvious mental defects and/or Drooling issues.  Consider what happened the last time they tried a "phase Two" approach:

The last speech Bush gave that was not explicitly controlled by the White House was in downtown Norfolk on Oct. 28. It wasn't exactly a random group. About half the crowd was in uniform, and more than 70 military members sat on risers on the stage behind him. But some tickets were available to the public through the local Chamber of Commerce.

The result: Bush got heckled. As Tamara Dietrich wrote in a column for the Hampton Roads Daily Press: "[A] man stood up in Chrysler Hall, yanked open his shirt to expose his 'Dump Bush' T-shirt in full view of shocked members of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network seated nearby and cried, 'War is terrorism! Torture is terrorism!' before he was hustled out by security people.

Not exactly the warm fuzzy visual they were looking for.

Gone are the days when his advance team could hand out tickets to local loyalists and party chairmen and ensure giant crowds of Cheering, worshipful, Glassy-eyed supporters; but not anymore.  Those Stepford crowds have simply ceased to exist.   W's most precious commodity was the Blind faith so many on the right were willing to place in him.  It seems like at long last that well has dried up.

What makes this Story so remarkable is how the President himself seems utterly untroubled by this reversal of fortune.  It begs the question how much of the real situation he truly understands.   This is s not the first time a President has been so unpopular with the American people that he barely dared to venture outside the Whitehouse,  But it may be the first time the President himself is unaware of  this fact.  Consider What a Defense official told Seymour Hersh recently :

 Four decades ago, President Lyndon Johnson, who was also confronted with an increasingly unpopular war, was limited to similar public forums. 'Johnson knew he was a prisoner in the White House,' the former official said, 'but Bush has no idea

Can this really be so?  Can W really be so far gone that he doesn't even recognize his own tricks as illusions anymore?

I'll leave you with the same question Dan Froomkin used to open his article:

What does it say about the president of the United States that he won't go anywhere near ordinary citizens any more? And that he'll only speak to captive audiences?

By the way,  anybody know where we left our copy of the 25th Amendment?


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home