The details of President Bush’s escalation plan for Iraq leaked well in advance of his Wednesday night address, but there were still some surprises in store for TV viewers.
Many were struck by the president’s sober tone and his willingness to admit mistakes. A few were surprised that the beleaguered president actually left them with a little hope for success.
“I was somewhat surprised, and (dare I say it?) somewhat encouraged that he changed his tone, accepted blame, admitted mistakes, stopped staying the course, and limited himself to only one 9/11 reference,” wrote Maryland engineer Ian Broverman in a HOTSOUP.com discussion about the address.
“It surprised me, I guess, because I have been getting to the point of thinking that the president was intransigent and inflexible, willing to go down with the ship etc.,” wrote Richard Loutzen. “I am pleased because it shows even more hope that there are metrics involved and this is not an open-ended, one-sided commitment.”
“No surprises at all,’ wrote a HOTSOUP member who goes by the username USONE. “But it was good to see a more sober, serious person than the usual cowboy braggadocio.”
Not everybody bought the new tone. A post-speech poll of HOTSOUP.com members shows that just 10 percent feel more confident of success in Iraq or feel better about Bush’s leadership. Just two in 10 said there minds were changed by the address.
“To me, Bush looked like a beaten man,” said “tamrock.” “I really do not think that he believed what he was saying.”
A Bush supporter named “civilservant,” said he was not expecting to see such a sad and “downbeat” president. “I was surprised the speech was as long as it was,” civilservant wrote. “He should have just looked into the camera and said, ‘Trust me,’ and I would have.”
While ‘trust me’ may not be enough for most Americans, including Broverman, the Maryland engineer said he was blindsided Wednesday night by a twinge of hope. “I’ve watched other organization leaders listen to their bad advisers up to the day that things truly hit the fan, then try a whole new direction,” he wrote. “That new direction may or may not work, but at least there’s a chance to be hopeful.”
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