September 6, 2004 [LINK]

Clinton gets bypass surgery

Former President Clinton is "recovering normally" from his quadruple heart bypass surgery. I join the vast majority of Americans who wish him well and pray for his health. This being campaign season, however, there is a sad footnote to report: The Associated Press filed a story on Friday erroneously claiming that when President Bush broke the news about Clinton's hospitalization during a campaign rally, the crowd booed. This was totally false! The AP eventually retracted the story, but not before it had spread around the world and become accepted by many as fact. For a full story on this journalistic travesty, including links to an audio clip of the Bush rally, see spinswimming blog. (Via Donald Luskin's Poor and stupid blog.)

Sebastian Mallaby wrote a fair-minded piece on President Bush in today's Washington Post. He praised Bush's admission during the interview with Matt Lauer that the war on terrorism cannot be "won" in the conventional sense of military victory. All sensible people would agree with that, which is why the Democrats were unable to capitalize on Bush's alleged "flip flop." But Bush has yet to face up to his domestic agenda's likely effect on the budget. Mallaby writes:

If Bush offers more sober honesty, complementing the soaring paeans to liberty of his convention speech, he may present voters with the best of both worlds: a glorious belief in American power and a reassuring understanding of its limits. ... But the small signs of foreign policy sobriety are in stark contrast to Bush's domestic-policy thinking. Here, the bluster blares at full volume. There's no evidence of honesty or reconsideration.

As long as Karl Rove remains in charge, I'm afraid there's very little chance Bush will do or say anything differently. If he is reelected, he will then have the painful choice of either continuing the risky current economic policy course or else seeking to reduce the deficit, thereby infuriating millions of voters. Given the hardball campaign tactics he has adopted, he will not be able to expect any help from Congressional Democrats.

NOTE: This is a "post facto" blog post, taken from the pre-November 2004 archives.