Still in need of an extreme makeover, the Bush administration has again turned to a friendly media type for help, hiring conservative journalist, author, erstwhile radio host and soon-to-be documaker Karl Zinsmeister as Bush’s top domestic policy adviser.
But the White House may still be struggling with reality.
As editor for the last 12 years of the house magazine published by a conservative think tank, Zinsmeister, without reservation, has hailed immigration, supported the exporting of democracy and cheered the war in Iraq — not exactly in sync with the American public, according to polls.
True, like the majority of the public, Zinsmeister stands by deployed troops: The docu he says he is producing for PBS will be “a major film… profiling the men and women in America’s fighting forces.”
Possibly the administration thinks its domestic troubles are just a matter of finding the right pitchman. After all, Zinsmeister’s predecessor, Claude Allen, was recently charged with running a clever fraud against retailers — not the most credible agent for how the country should conduct itself.
But Zinsmeister’s own credibility may need help. Without offering much proof other than his flag-waving enthusiasm, he once predicted: “I think within a couple of years, we’ll be mostly outside of Iraq.” That was 2003.
Last year he amended himself (sort of), saying, “With the exception of periodic flare-ups in isolated corners, our struggle in Iraq as warfare is over.”
At the very least, he may want to pick his metaphors a bit more judiciously than when he and a colleague wrote, “Democratic values are contagious… The democratic infection needs carriers. Who are the carriers? Powerful nations, in recent centuries the U.S., France, England and others.”