Bush flip-flops … errr, “clarifies”

Under pressure, GWB starts to crack.

George W. Bush, who isn’t sure from day to day whether we can win the war on terror, didn’t really mean to dismiss the National Intelligence Estimate’s gloomy prognostications about Iraq as “guessing.” Or so he says.

Of course, he still treats the report as if it were, in fact, mere guesswork, ignoring its conclusions (which he misstated) because they disagree with his prejudices.

Moreover, Mr. Bush seems to think that the two months of bad news we’ve had since the report was written invalidate its finding that things aren’t going well in Iraq. (Think I’m being unfair? Read the story.)

While he was at it, he “clarified” his remark implying that 140,000 American troops in Iraq were being tied down by a “handful” of insurgents.

Kerry is right: the man is living in Fantasyland.

And since, like most bullies, GWB comes up a little bit short in the grit department, Kerry may get a double benefit from continuing to hit him hard: not only does it make Kerry sound strong, but the pressure may help raise the Presidential rate of verbal blunder above its already elevated baseline.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com