Dubya held a press conference yesterday and the reviews from the Warhawks and conservatives were not good.
"Unquestionably the most dispirited performance of his presidency," pronounced John Podhoretz, a conservative columnist for the New York Post. He called the President "unsteady" and said that this will gladden the hearts of the enemy. "He has had the stuffing knocked out of him."
When asked yesterday about how he was handling the November thumpin, the President answered, "not well."
The "we are winning" line has given way to the murkier "we are neither winning nor losing."
According to the Warhawks, the President's defeatist attitude would have had Winston Churchill rolling in his grave.
This press conference comes on the heels of another remarkably depressing interview with the Washington Post the day before. Podhoretz, a war cheerleader, said "it would have been better had he not come forward to face the press at all."
When asked one question at the same press conference, Bush answered, "A little louder, please ... Excuse me ... Getting old."
The reporter replied, "I understand, Mr. President."
To which Bush snapped, "No, you don't understand."
At the White House Christmas Party one guest on the receiving line said, "Don't let the bastards get you down."
It may be too late. Bush is down already.
The President has gone from optimistic upbeat to dour about Iraq and everything else. Alcoholism and drug abuse - which Bush suffered from for many years - is often a form of self-medication to deal with low self-esteem and depression. But merely stopping drinking doesn't solve the underlying problems. Bush has managed his anxiety by maintaining a strong connection to God. But now it is all falling apart. See: Bush"s Diminishing Ability to Manage Anxiety: A Danger To Us All.
No wonder Bush is feeling down and it shows. A few weeks ago, he lost control with newly elected Senator Jim Webb when talking about Webb's son in Iraq.
Bush's whole family is clearly shamed and embarrassed. His brother Jeb Bush is feeling betrayed. "No Tengo Futuro" he said yesterday (Does he think that the MSM press is not going to be able to understand Spanish?) ... Bush's father broke down crying twice in the last few weeks, first in Tallahassee and then in the Middle East, obviously contemplating the diminished Bush legacy in the long march of history.
It brings to mind Jimmy Carter's 1979 "Malaise Speech", a low point which marked the beginning of the end of his Presidency. Yesterday, Bush called for "additional sacrifices" and said there is "no end in sight to the violence." Bush said the next President is going to have to deal with it. Bush's approval rating on Iraq is down to 21%.
The dollar is dropping (which is caused by the trade imbalance), sucking value from every US bank account...and asset. The housing bubble is bursting. A record trade and budget deficit is threatening...and our whole economy is teetering on a cliff...held back by China's kindness in not cashing in all their US dollars.
"I encourage you all to go shopping more," urged Bush, expressing a clear anxiety about the economy and Xmas retail sales.
Bush committed the ultimate sin in the view of many conservatives. He went with the neocons.
He bet the House....and the Senate and the Presidency....and the future of the Republican Party on Iraq, and has lost big. It will be a long time before a Republican majority marches up the steps of the Capital or the White House.