Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Something's Changed

I don't know whether Josh Bolton has resuscitated this administration or just temporarily stopped its hemorrhaging, but something has changed since Bolton took over as Chief of Staff.

The daily embarrassing revelations of ineptitude and incompetence have ceased. The photo-ops are less embarrasingly transparent. The Decider!s speeches have been tricked out with nods towards modesty and high publicity meetings with people of ever-so-slightly dissenting opinions have been scheduled. The Decider! has been given a PR makeover and the White House is functioning more coherently and efficiently.

Take today's trip to Iraq: it's not nearly as hubristic as Captain Codpiece on an aircraft carrier nor as treacly as Captain Thanksgiving with the prop turkey. Is it PR? - of course, that's what White House's do. But Andy Card and Karl Rove would not have followed up the news of Zarqawi's death with The Decider! making a speech full of grave warnings about the work to be done then scheduled a full cabinet meeting at Camp David devoted to all things Iraq (with press releases telling us so) and then flown The Decider! immediately afterwards for a relatively low-key (by this administration's previous standards of self-aggrandizement) meeting in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki.

I'm not saying anything fundamental about this president's mindset, his motives and morals, his imcompetence and dangerous foolishness has changed. He's still going to run this fall's elections on gaybaiting and spicbaiting and all the other usual demagogueries, and he's still the spoiled rich brat asshat he's always been. But someone was smart enough to get him a world class handler, and that handler's doing a good job so far. The Decider! may not ever get the polls up to 45% again, but at least they've stabilized.

It's probable that the days of the daily White House PR fuck-ups are over. That started when Bolton took over. If this administration rebounds from the depths in which it found itself recently, much of the credit historians reward will go to Josh Bolton.


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