The Note Already Knows What You’re All Going To Say

From today’s Note:

    With a lot on the line, we asked a diverse group of keen political observers – ranging mostly from older white men who live in Washington to younger (relatively) white men who also live in Washington – what the stakes and challenges are for the President tonight. While their views are not as colorful as the pre- and post-game analysis of Terry, Howie, and Jimmy, here’s what we found:

    David Gergen, adviser to several presidents of both parties: “The President has to walk a real tightrope tonight.”

    Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute: “This is Bush’s last chance to make his case, and, frankly, it might already be too late.”

    Charlie Cook, independent political analyst from the Cook Political Report: “The danger for the President is that the country has stopped listening to him on Iraq. This is a very, very hard sell.”

    Stuart Rothenberg, independent political analyst from the Rothenberg Political Report: “Republicans want Iraq off the table by the end of this year, but the White House just doesn’t seem to get it.”

    Stephen Hess, Brookings Institution: “You normally don’t get a seventh chance to make a first impression. Somehow, the President has to convince the country to change its collective mind, and that is a difficult thing to do this far into a very costly war.”

    Ken Duberstein, chief of staff to Ronald Reagan: “If the President can convince the country that he has a real, new plan to fix things, the American people will give him a chance to try, but that is going to be tough to do. We’ll see.”

    John Podesta, chief of staff to Bill Clinton: “Democrats are going to listen to the President’s plans, but, frankly, the time for listening is over. Every Democrat in Congress is going to have to ask if the plan can work, and we already know what the answer to that is.”

    Lawrence Korb, broadcasting from CAP, “Had the President simply adopted my plan of two years ago for a Phased Redeployment, we could have been out of Iraq by now and well into screwing up Iran.”

    Michael Beschloss, historian: “President Taft faced a very similar circumstance.”

    Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard: “The President will be making a terrible mistake if he calls for any fewer than 40,000 additional troops. I worry about his spine.”

    Mark McKinnon, long-time Bush media adviser: “The President is as calm and at peace as I have ever seen him. He knows what he wants to do.”

    Any Republican appearing on Larry King Live: “Yada yada yada, a surge, though too little too late, might be our last best chance.”

    Any Democrat appearing on Larry King Live: “Yada yada yada, an escalation, because that’s what this really is Larry, hasn’t worked in the past and won’t work now.”

    Jack Hanna, renowned animal expert, appearing on Larry King Live: “Larry, it’s good to be here yet again tonight. I knew things in Iraq were bleak when Steve Irwin passed away.”

    Donna Brazile, Al Gore’s presidential campaign manager: “The country has already spoken. If Bush’s words don’t reflect the national mood and the Democratic mandate from the midterms, it will be a big waste of time. He might be pre-empting ‘Deal or No Deal,’ but based on the leaks we have heard already, I think ‘no deal’ is the likely response from Capitol Hill — from both parties.”

    (Of course, none of those quotes are real, although they might as well be.)