Monday, March 29, 2004

David Frum weighs in on 9/11 and Bush's approach to terrorism. While Bush is no more responsible for 9/11 than I am, Frum does tag him here for his poor communications effort:

But while President Bush should get full marks for what he has done, the administration has done a worryingly bad job this week of defending its record. Why shouldn’t Condoleezza Rice, for example, testify to the 9/11 commission? The administration’s fears about separation of powers are valid enough – but the commission is not a congressional committee, it’s a blue-ribbon panel of experts from both parties. Why put yourself into a position where you have to explain why it’s OK for Rice to talk to “60 Minutes” but not to the nation’s designated investigators of the worst disaster in its modern history?

In action, the Bush administration is bold. But in communication, it is extraordinarily cautious – more afraid of saying the wrong thing than of omitting to say the right one. Calvin Coolidge said that you never have to apologize for what you don’t say – but that’s not right. The things the administration didn’t say to make its case for Iraq; the things it isn’t saying to explain why it over-ruled Richard Clarke – these omissions have been and are damaging. The more fully the Bush administration lays out its case, the more convincing that case is.

Many (like me) find that the most frustrating part of this administration. Bloggers and newspaper columnists are better at laying out the administrations case than the professionals making the big bucks to do just that.


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