The Spectacle Blog

Underwhelmed by Rove’s Substance

By on 5.15.06 | 2:58PM

Overall, Rove seemed to offer more of the same, albeit well put. Why give this speech now? There was no recent economic numbers on which to hang the speech. Sure, the tax cuts were extended last week, but as Grover Norquist told ($) the Wall Street Journal in today's editions, "that's last year's homework turned in late." Indeed. It's not only late, but short: what happened to making the tax cuts permanent? Rove didn't call for that.

Okay, so Bush inherited a poor economy, and tax cuts have aided Americans in launching a solid recovery. And free trade is also a boom to the economy. No arguments here, but again, nothing new.

On Rove’s Style

By on 5.15.06 | 2:55PM

I attended Rove's speech at AEI this morning, and I must confess to a different reaction from the Prowler's. I found it underwhelming. Like Quin, I have a lot to say, so I'll split it into two posts. First, on style.

His willingness to take questions certainly demonstrated fight and focus for the months ahead. And his best qualities were on display: an uncanny ability to match poll and policy numbers with any critic. He was also quite engaging with the press corps.

His speech focused on economic policy. The White House could use someone banging the drum of the country's economic success and the President's role in that. While this unfortunately helps feed the perception that the federal government is the economic hero or villain (as opposed to the market), the White House must combat its critics.

Next post: on substance.

Yost on Cavuto

By on 5.15.06 | 2:31PM

Mark Yost, who authored "Second Chances at Life: The Untold Revolution in Combat Medicine" for our February issue, will be on Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto" today at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). He'll preview his next piece for The American Spectator -- about the unsung heroes of Iraq.

Rove Impressions

By on 5.15.06 | 2:19PM

To amplify (at great length, over the course of probably three full blog entries; stay tuned for the other two) on what the Prowler wrote below about Karl Rove, I was at the AEI speech earlier this morning, and can confirm that Rove is in fighting trim, that he is engaged and focused and upbeat. The simple truth is that Karl Rove is one of the best communicators at the White House. The White House should get him out there more often, both for the president's sake (because Rove does an excellent job conveying the president's message) and for his own sake, because the more he is out there, the more that Americans can see for themselves that he is not the ogre that the mainstream media paints him as. The caricature of him is so unfair as to be obscene. Instead, if Americans see and hear him more often, it will probably redound to Bush's benefit, because they will see that Bush's most famous aide is competent and smart and thoughtful and reasonable, etc., all of which makes not just Rove but the president also look good.

Rovian Rumblings

By on 5.15.06 | 1:30PM

Karl Rove addressed expectant conservatives today with a speech sponsored by the American Enterprise Instituite. He didn't disappoint, even taking a few questions.

This speech follows another address that he made last Friday, which generally followed the same talking points:

Rove understands the mood of the country. He gets it. He also gets the poll numbers (and the difference between job approval and personal approval).

What came across in both Rove appearances is that, one, he's engaged, focused and ready for the hand to hand combat that Republicans should be ready to wage in the coming months with Democrats.

Sign of the Times

By on 5.15.06 | 11:56AM

Grievance liberalism is on perverse display at Washington's Gallaudet University, where students are resisting the appointment of Jane Fernandes as president of the school. Her sin? She's not "deaf enough," evidently, because she first learned how to speak and read lips before studying sign language, in which, according to protesters, she is not fluent enough. Regardless of how she conveyed it, she was fluent enough to capture a further side of what might be called brave new world liberalism, when she told the Washington Post's Fred Hiatt, "Progress in genetics is leading to the idea that you could choose not to have a deaf child." In other words, someday there may be no need for schools for the deaf such as Gallaudet.

Another Miers Moment

By on 5.15.06 | 9:51AM

That's what we'll get tonight. The prez, having reassured our pal Mexican President Vicente Fox that all this is just temporary, is about to lay another slab of cheese out for the public mice to nibble. It'll be the border security equivalent of nominating Harriett Miers to the Supreme Court.

Sonny Montgomery

By on 5.15.06 | 9:43AM

I'm running out the door right now, but here is notice that I intend when I get back to post an entry in fond and respectful memory of former Rep. Sonny Montgomery (D-Miss), who died late last week. A true gentleman and patriot. Anybody who wants to post something nice about him in the meantime, until I return, please have at it.

Iran Arming al-Qaeda in Iraq via Hezbollah?

By on 5.15.06 | 8:26AM

That's what a report in the Iraqi newspaper Azzaman says: "Strela-type SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, modern explosives, and a large number of personnel arms including Kalashnikovs and BKC machineguns." Omar at Iraq the Model notes the similarity to a report from last month from al-Sabah, a paper "that is not normally in agreement with what Azzaman publishes."

The Supply-Side Times

By on 5.15.06 | 1:17AM

A Saturday front-pager in the New York Times focused on Treasury Secretary John Snow and why he's still around. The piece was as bizarre as Snow's situation -- he dutifully continues to serve even though it seems obvious to everyone that the Bush White House would like to replace him ASAP. So why hasn't it replaced him? "Largely because the White House has been unable to find a replacement, administration officials say." Isn't this, then, the real story? Who, pray tell, has been approached and turned the President down?

Meanwhile, it took this report to get out sterling economic news the N.Y. Times would otherwise have never conveyed, given how well the news might reflect on the Bush economy.

Thus, John J. Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable and someone who knows Snow well, is quoted as saying: "This is an economy that by any statistical measure would be the envy of any administration of any party...."

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