What you will notice missing from this WaPo article is what Kaus noticed missing from the poll question: no mention of NSA at all. And only the slightest mention of Katrina, or Rita, issues which continue to roil the Gulf Coast, if not the Beltway.
Which is the only explanation for why the White House thinks things are improving for Bush.
Despite the gain in polls, some advisers see trouble ahead. Bush's top aides are telling friends they are burned out. Andrew H. Card Jr., already the longest-serving White House chief of staff in a half-century, is among those thought to be looking to leave. Rove's fate is uncertain, as he appears likely to remain under investigation in the CIA leak case, people close to the inquiry said.Let's see: we know the White House has dropped Katrina recovery off of its radar screen; but the stories about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still out there. And everyone ignores the impact of Rita on the rest of the Louisiana coast, and the Texas Gulf Coast from Louisiana down to Galveston.
Some are concerned that although Bush has changed his approach, he has not changed himself. He has been reluctant to look outside his inner circle for advice, and even some closest to Bush call that a mistake because aides have given up trying to get him to do things they know he would reject.
As they end a difficult year, advisers said they know they cannot take the recent political progress for granted. "We view this as not mission ccomplished," one top aide said. "It's going to need to be sustained."
This is the plan to stabilize Iraq.
And no one has been talking about anything except the NSA story since December 18th. And that story is just getting wider and wider and wider. The White House is even losing the courts, and Alito's nomination is likely a train wreck. So where does the WaPo article go with this? Apparently, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition:
No one in the White House expects the speech to include anything of the magnitude of Social Security. As one aide put it, instead of home runs, Bush will focus on hitting singles and doubles. "The lesson from this year," said Grover G. Norquist, a GOP activist close to Rove, "is you cannot do anything dramatic unless you have 60 votes" in the Senate, where Republicans are five shy of the count needed to break a filibuster.Uh, that would be the Patriot Act, WaPo; at a minimum. You know, the one that was supposed to pass handily, and is now extended for only 5 weeks? I mean, even the Republicans in Congress realize they haven't been doing their jobs.
And the White House response is: Iraq is getting better?
And that's just what I can put together in 20 minutes, at this rather obscure and certainly not-influential blog, just from MSM sources.
What are they smoking at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?