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President Misses Major Megaphone Moment

10.06.2006 06:12 | DISPATCHES

The president's men -- or man, Karl Rove -- whiffed at a fat pitch. Remember when Bush, firefighter by his side, picked up that megaphone at the site of the World Trade Center collapse? He got a lot of mileage out of that -- two wars worth, in fact. Well, the Foley affair was another such opportunity.

Instead, according to The New York Times, a White House official said of the affair, "We felt that it was important that the president speak out on this issue." (Note how it had to be decided for Bush.) The president then expressed his support for Speaker of the House Hastert and paid tribute to him as a father, teacher and coach.

If not a megaphone moment, the president could at least have had a Newt Gingrich moment, which is more to the point anyway. Because part of Gingrich's "Contract with America," when he became speaker of the House after the "Republican Revolution," was to purge corruption from the government.

Meanwhile, the Times article added: "But, the official . . . indicated the president would not have much more to say on the matter any time soon."

That's our president -- never one to grab the bull by the horns (unless it's the Constitution).

What Bush should have done is declare that he cares too much for both the nation's youth and the Republican party to see the moral fiber of either corrupted. Congress, he should have commanded, must reconvene for a full investigation.

The White House, however, blew its big chance to make Bush look like a real commander-in-chief. (Just behaving like one, never mind being one, would be a big step for Bush.) It would give his ratings a surge and the Republicans a much-needed boost in the mid-term elections.

But no, as usual with Republicans, Rove has got Bush running in the opposite direction from trouble. Has Rove lost his mojo? His last success, if you can call it that, was unleashing the Swift Boaters on John Kerry.

Unless, that is, Rove just doesn't want to touch this issue with a ten-foot pole -- no, not because of the jail bait angle. But because Bloggy Bottom might remind us of the man who pulled off a career change as radical as any sex change -- Jeff Guckert/Gannon: from call guy to reporter.

According to, he was granted access to the White House on 196 occasions. That's 38 day more than public press events occurred. Meanwhile, on 13 other occasions he checked in with White House security, but never checked out.

Did you ever wonder how progressives let the Guckert/Gannon story slip away? That's not likely to happen with the Foley affair. But we do have to guard against standing by and just watching this train wreck and its aftermath. There are too many whose hands must be held to the fire for leaving some of our most idealistic youth in harms's way.


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