Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Is it really the "End of the Bush Era?"

E.J. Dionne's opinion is that it is, essentially for this reason:
The source of Bush's political success was his claim that he could protect Americans. Leadership, strength and security were Bush's calling cards. Over the past two weeks, they were lost in the surging waters of New Orleans.
I agree with this assessment yet have been amazed at the short memory span present in our society where what seem like incredibly momentous issues on one day shortly become just one more matter to be updated on cable news shows, one more topic to endlessly dissect. So I don't know if his analysis will hold over the coming months...

What if Bush, beginning with Thursday night's speech, outlines a grand plan to rebuild the Gulf that really resonates with Americans. Or makes some sweeping gesture or sets what some might see as visionary goals in relation to the rebuilding. If he accomplishes that, his image will benefit and the "Bush Era" may yet be unfinished. The new storylines will be laid out for the media to run with and his operatives will have a whole new framework within which to spin his image. I highly doubt that the image of Bush as a passive, reactive dawdler in the face of the disaster is the one that he or his handlers will be willing to let crystallize. It will be very difficult for them to overcome Bush's self-inflicted wounds, yet I suspect they will devote the rest of their term to it.