After further examination of the president’s speech yesterday and the subsequent commentary afterward, I have to say this was a clever piece of Political jujitsu on this administrations part!
Talk about catching your opponent off balance, in one fail swoop the president effectively took the issues of military tribunals, the al-Qaeda bill of rights and secret prisons and flipped them back on his detractors.
Not only did he flip those issues, two months out of the election, the president, in a brilliant move, has moved the focus off of Iraq and onto the topic of detainees and how to deal with them in the fight to keep America safe! This will no doubt be the news buzz and what everyone is talking about right up to election day!
The president even had, what some would call “Star Journalists”, giving him kudos and some very unusal respect.
ABC's World News with Charles Gibson:
Charles Gibson, overlooking White House: “George, we've talked in the last couple of nights of the political implications of the series of speeches that the President is making on the war on terror. Is this one political, too?”
George Stephanopoulos, on Capitol Hill: “Well, it certainly will have some political consequences again. And it was really interesting Charlie, here the administration took an admission, and a mandate from the Supreme Court, and turned it into a powerful political statement. That's some clever jujitsu there. And what we can see now is that the White House clearly has a very well thought out disciplined plan to own the air waves on these national security issues, at least through the anniversary of 9/11.”
CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
Katie Couric: “I know, Bob, you believe this is a major change in policy for the Bush administration, but the President has gone about this quite artfully. How so?”
Bob Schieffer, from DC: “Well, he was very deft in how he did this, Katie. And there's no question about it. The President stressed the benefits from this program, he talked about how much information they'd gotten from these people, he said that the CIA had never tortured any of these people. He never used the term 'prison.' This is a real change for the administration.”
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams:
Brian Williams: “The White House is openly wanting to take ownership of the entire issue of national security. If you're the Democrats, what can you do about this?”
Tim Russert, at the anchor desk with Williams: “They remember after September 11th the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, a Democratic idea. The President opposed it. He then took it, jujitsu, and drove it and ran against Democrats in the midterm elections, of 2002, successfully. The Democrats today said, the leader of the Senate, 'five years later we haven't had a conviction yet. Finally, Mr. President.' Nancy Pelosi said, 'let's go work together in a bipartisan way.' Then she said, 'what about Donald Rumsfeld and what about Iraq? And the last time we saw a picture of Donald Rumsfeld, he was shaking Saddam Hussein's hand.' We're going to have the administration talking about the war on terror, Democrats talking about Iraq. But the Democrats realize they should try to reach some accommodation because they don't want to be on the losing end of this debate.”
Bravo Mr. President, BRAVO!