After a difficult summer of bad headlines out of Iraq, Bush appeared to be getting his footing in the weeks surrounding the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.Anybody got Monica Lewinski's phone number?
His job approval ratings were up. And his message was playing widely that Republicans are better than Democrats at handling terrorism and that the United States must stay in Iraq to finish the job.
"The stakes are high, the Democrats are the party of cut and run. Ours is a party that has got a clear vision and says we will give our commanders and troops the support necessary to achieve that victory in Iraq. We will stay in Iraq, we will fight in Iraq and we will win in Iraq," Bush said in Stockton, California, on Tuesday.
It is a theme he is still pushing and will continue to highlight, but right now, the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who sent sexual messages to teen-aged congressional aides, is burning up the air waves.
"It's driving out everything. I don't know how long the legs will be, but probably pretty long, because it's the sort of scandal that's going to keep having odds and ends show up," said presidential scholar Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution.
See, here's the thing: If you're going to be the party of morality and wrest power based on that footing by, well, distracting the American people from things like fighting terrorism BEFORE it hits our shores by endlessly.bringing.up.a.sex.scandal.and.conditioning.
Americans.to.react.to.that.more.than.the.news...well, when you're trying to govern, what in the hell do you think is going to be lobbed back at you at an opportune moment?