It looks like the Bush-Cheney team and their minions have begun to roll out their "legacy project" plans to restore their administration's tarnished reputation. They will attempt to restore their long-lost post 9/11 luster with a series of carefully scripted public events, speeches and awards ceremonies touting their signature theme; "We kept you safe." In fact the very first designation begins with a highly touted award to the former president from the Texas legislature claiming him as a great Texan, mainly for that reason, (of course avoiding any mention of one unfortunate incident when they failed to so.) Bush will begin a series of campaign-like speeches to inspire and rally the Republican base around his favorite themes, including how much better of we are without Saddam Hussein. The former VP will be interviewed this Sunday on CNN by John King, not known for tough, fact-based questioning. He may wilt under Cheney's well-calibrated evasions and determination to stay on message.
What is the goal of this highly calibrated reemergence strategy? First, the Bush presidency has been judged by experts and the public as one of the worst presidential administrations in history. As "legacy project" implies, they seek to use the media to replace that evaluation with a new narrative that casts their foreign and domestic policy debacles in a more positive light.
Second, they are eager to claim a historic military victory in Iraq as the linchpin to the "kept you safe" story line and use that to pressure Obama to maintain a permanent garrison there and boost military spending to the benefit of their major supporters and themselves associated with those related industries.
Third, they believe in the "power of ideas" and must abhor their current irrelevance as the country grapples with a daunting and momentous economic emergency rightly blamed on their misrule. They are surely eager to influence the direction of the Republican Party, not cede that role to the party leadership in Congress. We can expect Bush, Cheney et al., to highlight to their signature issues -- tax cuts, military expansion, cutting entitlements, and deregulation (including opposition to the carbon tax) while obscuring their responsibility for the Wall Street meltdown and their poorly conceived and executed TARP plan. This is the team that will take aim at the Obama administration's plans for universal health care, green energy, expanded unionization and aid to distressed schools, states and industries.
What we know is that they have the resources, the political base and the media connections to organize a powerful assault on the Democratic project and in so doing, make way for a comeback of Republican power.