The New York Times has an article today giving a sense of the views of several local Cincinnati area residents. The article gets a wide sample of quotes from various local people from all sides of the political spectrum. Cincinnati is a bellwether for Bush's reelection. If Bush does not win big locally, he will loose Ohio and the overall election.
Steve Gilliard at DailyKos had this link and has comments discussing Bush's overall current predicament. I myself am disgusted with Bush. His performance in this exhcange from today's press conference with Blair illustrates the fault line of Bush's credibilty:
Q Mr. President, others in your administration have said your words on Iraq and Africa did not belong in your State of the Union address. Will you take personal responsibility for those words? And to both of you, how is it that two major world leaders such as yourselves have had such a hard time persuading other major powers to help stabilize Iraq?Bold added.
THE PRESIDENT: First, I take responsibility for putting our troops into action. And I made that decision because Saddam Hussein was a threat to our security and a threat to the security of other nations.
I take responsibility for making the decision, the tough decision, to put together a coalition to remove Saddam Hussein. Because the intelligence -- not only our intelligence, but the intelligence of this great country -- made a clear and compelling case that Saddam Hussein was a threat to security and peace.
I say that because he possessed chemical weapons and biological weapons. I strongly believe he was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program. And I will remind the skeptics that in 1991, it became clear that Saddam Hussein was much closer to developing a nuclear weapon than anybody ever imagined. He was a threat. I take responsibility for dealing with that threat.
We are in a war against terror. And we will continue to fight that war against terror. We're after al Qaeda, as the Prime Minister accurately noted, and we're dismantling al Qaeda. The removal of Saddam Hussein is an integral part of winning the war against terror. A free Iraq will make it much less likely that we'll find violence in that immediate neighborhood. A free Iraq will make it more likely we'll get a Middle Eastern peace. A free Iraq will have incredible influence on the states that could potentially unleash terrorist activities on us. And, yeah, I take responsibility for making the decisions I made.
I am sure partisan conservatives loved the confrontational response to the question. They like the brashness and defiance of the Press. Their "fearless leader" can do no wrong. They are overjoyed that Bush is "fighting back" against the "partisans."
Everyone else, I think, is either disgusted like me, or greatly disappointed that Bush failed to take responsibility for his actions. Instead of stopping the Buck, Bush refused to acknowledge it exists. His answer to a question of responsibility for his actions is a recitation of "ends justify the means." Swagger and defiance are great for John Wayne War movies, but Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart showed how real people lived with dignity, honor, and respect that had value, not just comic book drama.
What further makes me cringe is the continuing trail of Clintonesque semantics. Bush said, “I say that because he possessed chemical weapons and biological weapons.” He further revised his history with this exchange:
Q Mr. President, in his speech to Congress, the Prime Minister opened the door to the possibility that you may be proved wrong about the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.Note the “truth” we will find is that he (Saddam Hussein) was developing a program for WMD. What about the threat of existing WMD Hussein was alleged to possess? Will we find those? Is this some kind of game? Pin the tail on the Dubya? Who is actually buying this crap? I can’t imagine the level of rationalizing it would take to believe this administration’s statements on WMD. Ok, well, I can imagine it, but it gives me the creeps.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
Q Do you agree, and does it matter whether or not you find these weapons?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you might ask the Prime Minister that. We won't be proven wrong --
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: No.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I believe that we will find the truth. And the truth is, he was developing a program for weapons of mass destruction.
Now, you say, why didn't it happen all of a sudden? Well, there was a lot of chaos in the country, one. Two, Saddam Hussein has spent over a decade hiding weapons and hiding materials. Three, we're getting -- we're just beginning to get some cooperation from some of the high-level officials in that administration or that regime.
But we will bring the weapons and, of course -- we will bring the information forward on the weapons when they find them. And that will end up -- end all this speculation. I understand there has been a lot of speculation over in Great Britain, we've got a little bit of it here, about whether or not the -- whether or not the actions were based upon valid information. We can debate that all day long, until the truth shows up. And that's what's going to happen.
And we based our decisions on good, sound intelligence. And the -- our people are going to find out the truth, and the truth will say that this intelligence was good intelligence. There's no doubt in my mind.