Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bush Administration Seeks To Move From "Stay The Course" Rhetoric

The Bush Administration is trying to convince Americans that it is no longer "staying the course," instead subbing in variations of the rhetoric "adapting to win."

For example, during yesterday's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Tony Snow had this heated exchange with NBC's David Gregory, in which Snow tried to suggest that it has always been "adapting":

GREGORY: Don't try to dismiss me as making a Democratic argument, Tony, when I'm speaking fact.

SNOW: Well, okay -- well, no --

GREGORY: You can do that to the Democrats; don't do it to me.

SNOW: No, I'm doing it to you because the second part was factually tendentious, okay? Now, when you were talking about the fact that it failed to adapt, that's just flat wrong. And you will be -- there has been -- there have been repeated attempts to try to adapt to military realities, to diplomatic realities, to development of new weapons and tools on the part of al Qaeda, including the very creative use of the Internet. So the idea that somehow we're staying the course is just wrong. It is absolutely wrong.

Linguistics has always been a key for the Bush Administration, but changing rhetoric doesn't equate to changing results. Mid-course during its effort to sell the country on Social Security privatization, the administration began saying "personal accounts" instead of "private accounts." But the plan, at least for now, didn't catch on.

Other examples of conservatives changing the rhetoric include subbing in "death tax" for "estate tax," and subbing in "partial-birth abortion" for "late-term abortion." Any time the GOP needs to put a fresh face on a topic, a Luntzian phrase follows.

The wholesale effort to push "adapting to win" on the American people has been going on for about a month. In August, Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman told guest host Gregory on NBC's Meet The Press that "The choice in this election is not between 'stay the course' and 'cut and run,' it's between 'win by adapting' and 'cut and run.' " Two weeks later, National Review editor Kate O'Beirne said on Meet the Press that the administration is "changing (stay the course) to 'adapt for victory.'"

But the funny thing is, even though the administration wants to change the way Americans think -- important when a majority of Americans don't agree with administration policy -- it can't get the new lingo down.

For example, Bush used the term "stay the course" as recently as August 30, during a speech in Salt Lake City:

BUSH: Iraq is the central front in this war on terror. If we leave the streets of Baghdad before the job is done, we will have to face the terrorists in our own cities. We will stay the course, we will help this young Iraqi democracy succeed, and victory in Iraq will be a major ideological triumph in the struggle of the 21st century.

In an August 17 press briefing, Snow said, "you also cannot be a president in a wartime and not realize that you've got to stay the course." The day before, Snow added: "And that's why the president is determined to stay the course."

The true test of whether the Republicans are successful in changing the rhetoric -- winning the war is another story altogether -- will be if your favorite newspaper or evening news makes the switch. It's already happening (big surprise) on Fox News Channel and conservative talk radio.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting Read. You all might just learn something.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

The U.S. isn't going to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with rhetoric, nor will they win the hearts and minds of Americans by trying to equate dissent with disloyalty.

If the administration spent more time listening -- to their own military, to people of both parties with military experience, to people from the U.S. and elsewhere with a keen understanding of Shiites and Sunnis -- then maybe the U.S. can bring peace to Iraq. Maybe we can capture Osama Bin Laden and destroy Al Qaeda.

It's a shame that the Bush Administration is more interested in linguistics and fearmongering.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous RedStateShame said...

Isn't the new rhetoric, "Agree with us or you love Hitler"?

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Jawja said...

Seems to be.

funny how they are now running away from "stay the course" after it has been crammed down our throats for 4 years.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous savemefromdumbya said...


12:09 PM  
Anonymous TechBear_Seattle said...

You beat me too it

If the White House IN ANY WAY backs down from their absurd "stay the course" rhetoric, I suggest we start sending shower togs and boxes of frozen waffles to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous alyce douglas said...

new saying just mentioned on Stephanie Miller

Repigs new saying should be "we have nothing to sell but fear itself"

12:09 PM  
Anonymous gratuitous said...

Well, I'm sure the major media won't comply Being all independent and everything, I'm sure they won't just let the Bush administration force another transparent attempt to shift responsibility away from themselves for the massive fuck-up they foisted on the American people.

I have no basis for this assertion, of course; the media's track record in calling the Bushistas on their bullshit isn't encouraging.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous The Backlash Cometh said...

Okay, let's go from "staying the course," to, "Bush has a Hamburger Hill mentality?"

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i also have little faith in the media, specifically television

the order of how the phrase will be turned ...

-- Hannity will use "adapt to win," and Colmes will have a glass of milk.
-- Neil Cavuto will suggest the Democrats don't want to "adapt to win."
-- John Gibson will suggest the Democrats don't understand how to "adapt to win."
-- Brit Hume and his "all-stars" will praise Bush for having the courage to "adapt to win."
-- Tucker Carlson will whine about how no one cares if he says "adapt to win."
-- Chris Matthews will mention but not adopt "adapt ton win," but he'll interview 46 Republicans about how they support Bush's "adapt to win" strategy.
-- Joe Scarborough will do a segment on how people in Scarborough Country approve of Bush trying to "adapt to win."
-- Wolf Blitzer will highlight how Americans are increasingly accepting "adapt to win" as a strategy.
-- Lou Dobbs will suggest that Bush will try to "adapt to win" his battle on border security.
-- Tim Russert will ask his panel whether people believe in the "adapt to win" strategy.
-- Chris Matthews will do the same on his Sunday morning show.
-- Katie Couric will interview Ken Mehlman, who will use "adapt to win" 107 times in 90 seconds.
-- The Daily Show and The Colbert Report will have two months of material.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous porphyrian said...

Wafflers! Flip-floppers!
Hypocritical fucking piece of shit traitors, really.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous hatrack said...

Too late - they fucking OWN "stay the course"

It and they are one and the same, and with two months to go, it's just too fucking late.

2:14 PM  

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