In his Washington Post column today, Dan Froomkin provides an excellent parsing of the classic response of the Bush administration to political crisis:
- Multiple appearances by the president in controlled environments in which he can appear leader-like.
- Extensive use of Air Force One and a massive deployment of spinners.
- No change in policy required.
- No admission of error.
- Attack critics rather than defending against their criticism.
- Throw up chaff to muddle the issue and throw the press off the scent.
- Regular public expressions of outrage over the politicization of the issue and of those who would play the "blame game."
- Ignore the administration's own politicization of the issue and its own efforts to allocate blame.
Froomkin goes on to explain why applying this strategy is a bit trickier with the poor response to Katrina. Let's hope that this time the strategy of misdirection and personal attack doesn't work. After all, this is about our national security. And if the public - even the Dems - saw the administration taking ownership of the federal failures in the past few days, they'd be more supportive and more open to discussing local failures.