David Frum: What the President should be saying

This morning’s must-read comes from David Frum at NRO, who argues that the President badly needs to start reconnecting with Americans and instead of repeating platitudes about the situation in Iraq, and how he needs to remind them of how crucial winning in Iraq is to the global War on Terror (scroll down a bit to where you see the title "ANOTHER LOST OPPORTUNITY") :

Again, supporters of the war can do our bit to try to change minds. But the biggest megaphone in the country belongs to President Bush – and much depends on whether he uses it well or badly.

He is using it very badly indeed.

Let me mention just one single but maybe decisive problem. Again and again during the Bush presidency – and yesterday most recently – the president will agree to give what is advertised in advance as a major speech. An important venue will be chosen. A crowd of thousands will be gathered. The networks will all be invited. And after these elaborate preparations, the president says … nothing that he has not said a hundred times before.

If a president continues to do that, he is himself teaching the public and the media to ignore him – especially when the words seem (as his speech yesterday to the VFW seemed) utterly to ignore the past three months of real-world events.

The president could have made news yesterday by itemizing the reasons to regard Iraq more positively than most journalists do. He could have ticked off some of the achievements daily posted on the centcom.mil site. (Here’s the latest.) He could have teased details even out of the mainstream media. (Mickey Kaus the other day noted that the reliably dour Robin Wright of the Washington Post casually mentioned in the course of her latest down-beater that Iraq has gone on a car-buying boom that has put a million new cars on the road since liberation. Kaus: "A ‘car-buying boom’–another shocking failure! Don’t they know about global warming?")

Or, alternatively, the president could have skipped the good news and delivered a blood, sweat, toils, and tears speech: Yes things are hard, harder in fact than expected, but the stakes remain enormous – and here is why we must win, and why I am determined to fight this thing through to victory. That would be powerful too.

As it is, though, he says nothing, and is perceived to say nothing, and soon nobody will be listening at all, if anybody still is.

Make sure to rea the whole thing – and also check out the reader commentary below that as well.  I totally agree with what he’s saying.  It’s time for the President to remind America in no uncertain terms how much we need to win in Iraq and what’s at stake if we don’t.