Dick Morris, a man with the dubious distinction of having worked for both Bill Clinton and Trent Lott, thinks the Bush Administration is losing the spin game with regards to the Middle East:
The administration bears much of the blame for its inept job of presenting the good news that abounds on every side in the aftermath of the Iraq War.
Peace is breaking out all over in the Middle East. Is there anyone who doubts that Israel and the most extreme of Palestinian factions have agreed to a cease fire because, and only because, of a chain of events set in motion by our invasion of Iraq?
Does anyone believe that Israel would take risks for peace if the United States did not have 150,000 troops in Iraq? Can anyone seriously maintain that Hamas, Hezbollah, and Fatah would have agreed to a cease-fire if the United States did not have a robust military presence next door and if our invasion had not dried up their funding from other nations?
This is interesting but, of course, it’s hard to make the case that peace is breaking out all over the Middle East when Palestinian terrorists keep blowing up Israeli civilians and when our own troops keep getting killed in drive-bys.
Morris is likely right on this score, though:
Bush will never win another term based on his domestic policy record. Even if the economy recovers in Ã¢€™04, it will be a while before the good vibes filter down to the average voter. His accomplishments in education and in reducing taxes are not sufficient to anchor a case for a second term in an increasingly Democratic nation, driven by the inexorable changes in demographics. His positions on the environment, campaign finance reform, and, despite a deathbed conversion, on healthcare, are not echoed by a majority of Americans.
Bush needs to be seen Ã¢€” correctly Ã¢€” as the innovative and bold foreign policy leader that he is. He needs to get out and make the case, or surrender the field to those who keep pecking away with doubts, misgivings, and fears.
So far, though, none of the Democrats who could plausibly challenge Bush on the foreign policy front are gaining any traction among their own nominating electorate. Bush might win the foreign policy debate by default.