Look at the past few months. Not a good period for the Bush Administration, don't you think:
- Both Bush and the Iraq Adventure are polling lower and lower every week.
- The Ft.Bragg speech was a fiasco. The soldiers were stone-faced because they are disciplined enough not to laugh out loud. Kids at home laughed. Mockingbirds nesting in front of my house are repeating "9-11 Iraq, 9-11 Iraq" and the Mynah bird is laughing.
- Failures at recruitment efforts by the Army have been well publicized.
- Autopsy of Terry Schiavo.
- Sandra O'Connor resigns. This is not the time when Bush needs to go through the nomination process. No matter who he nominates, it will be controversial - and that is just within his own party. Either the Religious Right or the Capitalist Right are going to be pissed. Bush cannot afford a split in the GOP base right now, and the cracks are already visible on some Wingnut blogs.
- If, as is rumored, Rehnquist also retires, Bush has to play a really good game to prevent this from becoming a double-whammy. If he does it right, he may be able to satisfy both the Jesus-Freaks and the Robber Barons without too much controversy, but you know that both groups will want BOTH Judges! Also, don't expect that Democrats are not going to raise hell this time around. The blood is in the water.
- Downing Street Memo is increasing in public awareness and it ties neatly with everything else. It is a sad state of affairs that half of the country does not give a damn about politics and will continue watching the soaps no matter what is happening in the country. But the half that pays attention has heard of the DSM and it is a damning document.
- The London Bombing, I argue contrary to most lefty bloggers, will have a net negative effect for Bush. They struck at home. They were NOT SUPPOSED to strike at home!
- New memo showing that the Brits are pulling out of Iraq soon, followed by much of the coalition of the bribed, and that even the US is thinking about it BECAUSE OF THE EXPENSE cannot be good news for an Administration that adamantly refused to set a timetable.
- Toyota's decision to build a plant in Canada instead of the US because of the educational level of the workforce and the cost of health insurance is not a good piece of news.
- And now Plame and Rove. You can get lots of details here.
So, where is Frank Luntz? When things happen, good or bad, within 24 hours Frankie gets his Talking Points forum-tested, printed out and sent to every Wingnut with any potential access to any form of media: from Limbaugh and radio copycats, through bloggers and journalists, to elected officials. Everybody gets The Talking Points. Everybody has a sacred duty to repeat the talking points at least three times a day while kneeling and bowing towards D.C.
Where are the Talking Points? Scott McLellan does not have them, for crying out loud! He is just refusing to talk! Get the whole transcript here (Billmon has collected Scott McClellan's past and recent statements on Rove and Plame).
Without Talking Points, Freepers are in disarray. There is no disciplined parroting - they are all screaming nonsense. Of course, to invoke the principle of "Use and Disuse", their thinkin' organs have degenerated after years of readily available talking points, so they are a little rusty....
Where are the memorable zingers, something along the lines of "with us or against us", or "bring them on", or "ownership society", or "up-or-down vote"? The officials are silent. The bottom-dwellers are just howling like hyenas. Where is the crisp message? What happened to legendary Republican framing? Why are they incapable of shutting the press and the opposition up with language?
This can mean several things. Warning: wild speculation ahead. Possible explanations:
- Talking Points were sent out but they were so lame and stale, nobody noticed. There is nothing they can do with language any more. They have reached the bottom.
- Talking Points were sent out but many with a mike or pen decided to ignore them and chose to either remain silent or speak their minds. The conservatives are starting to wake up. RINOs are starting to gather and organize.
- Luntz never got the orders for Talking Points because there is a lot of in-fighting going on within the White House. Perhaps the Plame leak deposition is more dangerous for them than we suspect. Perhaps Rove has a choice to save his own skin or to save skins of others, including Bush (and who knows how many others and who they may be). The offences may be even more impeachable - or even jailable - than we know. Everybody knows that Rove is such a despicable person that he will not blink lying under oath. But he always lied for others before. Now he may have to make a choice to lie for himself and put the whole Administration in jeopardy, or to lie to save the GOP and land in jail.
Shake's Sis is absolutely right that we should keep all of the above-listed negatives connected and frame the language that keeps stressing the unifying thread underlying them all - the "severe and appalling breech of ethics, most notably the betrayal of the trust of the American people."
Update: A-ha. Here are the Talking Points, several days later than usual, and they are not very impressive.