FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2003HANNITY: Let me throw one question at you about the presidents economic proposal, stimulus package. You know Im watching this president and I see hes standing on principle. He knows what the rhetoric of the left is going to be but a bold tax cut, a bold position on defense and intelligence and terrorism issues. Hes shown a lot of courage in my view. What do you think of him and especially the economic plan?
QUAYLE: You know, I think this president is very clear in his policies. Hes very clear in his articulation of the issues. He goes a lot of times with his heart and his gut, which I think is correct. Ive always said that hes got very good judgment, and this is a very bold package. Enjoy yourselves as you watch the spinners rush to say bold-bold-bold-bold.
In closing, one other guy deserves to be mentioned. At his dotcom, Andrew Sullivan said he didnt know much about economics. But he did know one thing. Bush was bold:
SULLIVAN: Im not really qualified to judge economically. But politically, it seems to me that Bush has again completely outwitted his opponents. What matters is the size and boldness of his plan, its appeal to his political base, and the insipid nature of the alternative. In all three respects, Bush wins. His boldness signals to then public that hes not his dad. And it also signals that he's taken control.Sullys right. He doesnt know if the plans any good. But he does know one thing: Bush is bold.
CNN SAID THAT BUSH WAS BOLD TOO: Bush wasnt just bold on H&C. He was bold all over CNN, too. How did CNN report the Bush speech? When the president finished, Kyra Phillips threw to Suzanne Malveaux. She limned the presidents plan:
MALVEAUX: Hi, Kyra. Here in windy Chicago, President Bush just unveiled his economic stimulus packagereally a very bold plan. This is really a top priority for the Bush administration.Land o goshen! There was Malveaux, describing the plan with the very same word Bush had chosen! And a few hours later, on Inside Politics, John King also said the Bush plan was bold:
KING: Reaction has been coming fast and furious from all quarters. Conservatives love the plan, Democrats are panning it. One word youre not hearing from either side is timid. The president today offering what all parties say is quite an ambitious, bold plan.This is so unlike John King that one hardly knows how to react. Were all parties calling the plan ambitious and bold? We sure cant find any Dems who were saying it. (Within the next day, Paul Sarbanes would say the plan was nuts. Tom Daschle would call it obscene.) But there was King, assuring the world that everyone found the plan bold. Moments later, Judy Woodruff had the same line. At CNN, they couldnt stop saying bold:
WOODRUFF: Ron [Brownstein], youve been doing some heavy thinking about the presidents plan. And one thing it seems like you and others agree on, the president was bold. Whether you agree or disagree with what he did, this is not a timid proposal.In fact, Brownsteina very professional journalistdidnt call the plan bold. Was everyone saying ambitious and bold? Nobut all good Republicans were. A few minutes later, for example, Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth appeared on Inside Politics. He knew the words to say:
MOORE: I applaud what President Bush did today. He came out with a very bold and big and ambitious plan.Kids, two groups were calling the Bush plan boldRepublican spinners and CNN. Ideally, reporters learn to use value-neutral words to describe proposals like President Bushs. On Tuesday, CNNbreaking down once againwas up to more of its clowning.
CLUBBY: As noted, Stephen Moore heads the Club for Growth. Please dont get him confused with Sy Sperling, who heads up the Hair Club for Men.
HOWLER HISTORY/BUSHS BOLD LEADERSHIP: The Bush camp has long loved the word bold. On May 15, 2000, Candidate Bush gave a major speech in which he discussed his ideas for Social Security. Bush never laid out a specific plan, but a number of journalists reported the way Bush aides were framing his proposal. Bush sees Social Security as an issue on which to present himself as a bold leader, Dan Balz wrote in the May 15 Washington Post. The next day, Judy Keen described the same dynamic in USA Today. According to Keen, Bush was using the subject to claim the label of bold leader while dismissing Gore as timid. On the May 15 Inside Politics, Candy Crowley made it three, saying that the Bush campaign hoped that voters will see Bushs proposal as a sign of bold leadership. Bushs defenders say he should get credit for boldness, E. J. Dionne wrote in the Post.
Was Bush a bold leader? His aides said he was. And obliging pundits framed the issue just as Bush had requested. Here, for example, was Kate OBeirne on that weekends Capital Gang. As Sean and Bill would later do, Kate fought to get in the two spin-points:
OBEIRNE: I agree with Al [Hunt]. It is bold and courageous, and youre right, its a gamble, but he deserves enormous credit for doing this And secondly, I think Bush looks like a leader. Hes ahead on the polls on leadership quality, and he has a bold proposal.The notion that Bush was showing bold leadership was voiced all over the press. This week, Bush again told the world he was bold. Courtiers ran to repeat it.
VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: When Gore picked Lieberman, the press called it bold. Incomparably, we told them to stop; see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/11/00. For the record, this was the only thing Gore ever did that the press corps liked. So they knew what to dothey said bold.