alicecards.jpgIf this were only pieces on the chessboard or a poorly dealt hand of cards at stake, it wouldn't be so disturbing. Via AP:

Increasingly isolated on a war that is going badly, Bush has presented his alternative reality in other ways, too. He expresses understanding for the public's dismay over the unrelenting sectarian violence and American losses that have passed 3,400, but then asserts that the public's solution matches his….

In fact, polls show Americans do not disagree, and that leaving — not winning — is their main goal.

In one released Friday by CBS and the New York Times, 63 percent supported a troop withdrawal timetable of sometime next year. Another earlier this month from USA Today and Gallup found 59 percent backing a withdrawal deadline that the U.S. should stick to no matter what's happening in Iraq….

"They want to know when American troops are going to leave," Kohut, director of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, said of the public. "They certainly want to win. But their hopes have been dashed."

Kohut has found it notable that there's such a consensus in poll findings.

"When the public hasn't made up its mind or hasn't thought about things, there's a lot of variation in the polls," he said. "But there's a fair amount of agreement now."…

Wayne Fields, an expert on presidential rhetoric at Washington University in St. Louis, said the president's new language exploits the fact that there is no one alternative strategy for the public to coalesce around, which clearly spells out how to bring troops home. Bush can argue that people agree with him because no one can define the alternative, Fields said.

But, with the president's job approval ratings so low and the public well aware of what it thinks about the war, Bush is taking a big gamble.

"This is a very tricky thing in our politics. We want to think that we want our leaders to stand up to public opinion. But we also like to think of ourselves as being in a democracy where we are listened to," Fields said. "He risks either the notion of being thought out of touch … or to be thought simply duplicitous."

Could I select option three: the President is both out of touch and duplicitous?  Whatever undisclosed rabbit hole they have Dick Cheney crouching in these days in his off-time, could someone go over and fetch a "Drink Me" bottle of the delusional cocktail that they have been spoonfeeding the neocons?  They still pretend to be ten feet tall with their ever-shrinking public support, and they can't just fortify themselves with hot air and backpatting alone, can they?  There has to be some kick to that stuff that gives them the acting chops or the delusions of candor to appear, in public at least, to sail blissfully along on a rose-colored sea while the rest of the country sees something entirely more fetid and chaotic.  But the mask is slipping, and I begin to see some panic behind the clenched cheshire grins.

As for the ever-shrinking Bush poll numbers?  He appears to have fallen down a hole of his own digging…and no amount of PR jabberwocky will set things right again.  While the President continues to see himself as a white knight of sorts, or perhaps even an indulgent ruler if a bit on the petulant side, what the rest of us see is a man who has dragged us all along to an increasingly mad party of his own making.  But no one seems to know the way back through the looking glass…

(Photo of Alice and the pack of cards in the Fortnum and Mason window via Draconiansleet.  If you get a chance, look through the pictures of the other windows in the photostream.  Simply brilliant stuff – would love to have seen these in person.  H/T to reader WB for the link to the AP article.  Also, Juan Cole had an exceptional piece yesterday about a chance encounter with two soldiers in an airport, that was as pointed as it was poignant.  Do take some time to feed your head and read it.  And you knew I couldn't miss an opportunity for a Jefferson Airplane link here, didn't you?)

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com