Taken from a Yahoo! news bulletin:
WASHINGTON, April 21 President Bush's advisers have drafted a re-election strategy built around staging the latest nominating convention in the party's history, allowing Mr. Bush to begin his formal campaign near the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and to enhance his fund-raising advantage, Republicans close to the White House say.
The story goes on further to say that Mr. Bush plans to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of up to two hundred million sheaves of Grade-A George Washington lettuce in order to finance campaign advertising and other expenses next year, which would amount to twice as much as he spent in 2000. Taken in mind that he is not expected to be strongly opposed within his own party, that is one damned aggressive marketing strategy, if I do say so myself.
But I'm not quite sure how well this news (particularly, the first item) sits with me at this point in time. For one, it seems to me to be at least a tad perverse (if not downright gauche) for a head of state to urge others to rally around a tragedy that happened as, to use the now infamous phrase, "a failure of imagination," -- even moreso, one that occurred on his very own watch. Ten years ago, an attempt by W.J. Clinton to inject his fundraisers with a heavy dollop of pathos by means of reference to the poorly-anticipated disasters of the Branch Davidian Compound at Waco, the Alfred Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, or (ahem) the World Trade Center that occured in the first four years of his administration would have brought heaps of scorn and disgust from his critics, not to mention the inevitable accusation of trying to exploit a national tragedy for cheap political capital.
Not to say, of course, that I am belittling the events of 9/11 or implying that G.W. Bush is a completely heartless, opportunistic, bloody-shirt waving bastard. Far from it. I just think it is a bit ironic, however, that a president who has endeavoured to make "national security" such a strong selling point for his intended upcoming term should choose to draw so much attention on its arguably greatest oversight since the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Whatever the case, it will be very interesting to see how American public perceptions will view this by next fall, assuming that Bush adheres to his current plans. His perceived capability in the defense / national security sphere of affairs seems to be carrying him along all by itself at the moment, but should he lose approval points by being out of step with demands for a (gasp) strong and coherent economic or some other form of domestic policy, that "regime change" which Sen. John Kerry spoke of might not be that far off after all.