There has been mounting pressure for weeks for President Bush to make changes in his administration, to counter his falling poll numbers.
Yesterday the Pew poll came out. It showed Bush's approval rating had dropped to 33%, and people thinking he was "out of touch" had risen to 56%.
And where in the past a majority of people cited the word "honest" to describe him, now 48% percent of Americans chose the word "incompetent," followed by "idiot" and "stupid." Here's the full Pew poll: http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=271
Bush initially resisted making changes, but in a surprise move, it has been announced he's bringing in a new speechwriter, the retired Rudolph Drecksau, famous for writing Nixon's "I am not a crook" speech.
Drecksau is in the midst of writing a speech that Bush will present next week at the National Conference of Magicians in Pocatella, Idaho. A draft of this speech has been leaked to me by someone called Liddy or Libby or Lizzie, it was hard to hear over the telephone. Here is the draft that was faxed to me:
"My fellow Americans. I am not an idiot. I am not incompetent. I am not stupid. I don't believe in polls, but if I did, apparently 48% of you on this Pew poll think I'm incompetent, an idiot or stupid. Harriet Miers calls the Pew poll the P-U poll, and I agree with her.
I have a greeting card here from Harriet, it has a little flower arrangement with sparkles on it, and inside the card she says that I was the best governor ever. And she has also said publicly that I am the smartest person she knows. And she knows a lot of people. The secret committee that chose to run me for president also thinks I am very smart.
Let me tell you some other things I'm not. I am not insulated. Isolated. I talk to lots of people, I hear lots of outside opinions. Karen Hughes tells me things, Condi Rice, she's very popular, she tells me things. Sometimes Dick and I speak; he speaks in such a low register that is hard for the human ear to hear, but I get the gist.
What else can I tell you? I am an optimistic. I look on the bright side.
The Iraq war is going well. Wars are messy. We didn't need more troops. We don't torture people. We have captured 1,377 terrorists. We're holding them incognito in Cuba. They can't see lawyers, and we may keep them there for the rest of their lives without trials. It's a new world since 9-11. Alberto says the new world is a lot like Kafka's The Trial. I've never read that, but it sounds good.
Here are some other things I am not. I am not a religious fanatic. I found Jesus when Laura said I had to stop hitting the bottle, and then I went into a room with a minister and wham! Jesus entered my soul.
This means I have been sober thanks to Jesus, and I haven't had to sit in a room with a lot of alkies talking about this 12 steps stuff where you have to apologize and make amends all the time. Oh, also, I am not a dry drunk. People in AA who are sober but still acting crazy and manipulative and grandiose are called "dry drunks." I, however, have never been in AA, so according to Alberto Gonzalez, I can never be called a "dry drunk."
Alberto Gonzalez has been doing a heck of a job as Attorney General, have you noticed? I did a heck of a job choosing him.
When he was the White House counsel, he's the one who redefined "torture" so that it's only torture if it causes organ failure or death. So that means you can go pretty far with people you've captured and not be guilty of torture.
I am opposed to torture. I signed the McCain anti-torture bill, though I also signed one of those nifty side statements Alberto and Harriet help me with, which says I don't necessarily have to follow this law if it conflicts with my role of Commander in Chief.
Speaking of following laws, did you see that insulting thing Senator Russ Feingold did? He says he wants to censure me because he says I am guilty of authorizing "illegal wiretapping program in direct violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."
Boy, talk about partisan. Did he not LISTEN to Alberto during his visit to the Senate Judiciary Committee? That law does not apply to me for two reasons: one, my role as Chief Executive of the country makes that law null and void as it relates to me; and also the Congress voted to give me total power to use force against Iraq, and that includes anything else I do that I feel is related to that, and that includes wiretapping. You can't break the law if it doesn't apply to you.
Am I saying I am above the law? Yes, I am saying that. There are some laws I am willing to still follow. Traffic laws. I will still stop at red lights. Unless I am chasing a terrorist, in which case I will go through the light.
I am the Commander in Chief. We live in a post-9-11 world. Because of that, I am re-asserting my carefully reasoned doctrine of "pre-emptive war." That means we no longer wait to be attacked. We attack first.
We get all the finest intelligence, as we did in the run-up to the Iraq war. Sorry, as we thought we did, but Judith Miller fed us a lot of hooey. She kept telling Libby stuff and he believed her. No other countries may use the doctrine of pre-emption to attack us, however. This doctrine only applies to us because we are the strongest, and because we are good.
I know some of you were disappointed that there weren't weapons of mass destruction.
But we were always going over to Iraq for more reasons than just the weapons thing. Dick and Paul and Donald all have that neo-conservative theory that if we impose democracy on some of these Arab countries, then the entire area will get a whole lot more stable.
I know I didn't say that BEFORE the war, because frankly we didn't think you'd understand it. So instead we just stressed how Saddam was trying to get nuclear weapons, and that he was likely to use them against the United States in like five minutes. Condi was very worried about that mushroom soup thing.
A lot of the news media keep stressing the killing and kidnapping and blowing up of mosques. Where are the human interest stories of soldiers patting children on the head? Or painting schools. Or lending people flashlights when the electricity doesn't work. I mean, it all takes time.
And Iraq turns out to be harder than anyone expected. I mean, just as no one could have predicted the levees might break in New Orleans, so nobody could predict there would be all this sectarian fighting in Iraq between the Kurds, the Shiites, and the Sunni. Well maybe the state department prepared some papers about that, but Dick wouldn't let any of us read those things.
Plus Colin Powell was so sour all the time. "If you break it, you've bought it" he kept saying about invading Iraq. That's negative thinking. I like African-American people, I like Condi Rice, and that guy who got caught shoplifting. But I was very disappointed in Colin. He wasn't a team player. And he didn't listen to Dick and Donald enough. Dick and Donald refers to Dick Tracy and Donald Duck. I am the Sense of Humor President. As well as the War President.
In conclusion, I am not an idiot. I am not incompetent. I know some things in Iraq are going badly right this minute, but that doesn't mean in the next minute the Iraqi people won't suddenly calm down and get democractic.
I have been more honest today about some of the things that have been upsetting the American people. I understand their pain, I've read about people feeling pain, it's been explained to me.
But still I am an optimist. I am not part of the reality based community. I believe we never back down. I believe in pre-emptive attack. Empt first, figure out later.
I think I'm going to go back to my previous spreechwriter, I don't think it's a good idea I keep saying "I am not an idiot." A lot of people didn't even hear about that part of the P-U poll.
I'm going to go back to my standard repeating of phrases over and over. That has worked before. I'm competent. I'm competent. I'm competent. I'm competent. I'm competent, competent, competent. I'm competent. I. Am. Competent."