As pure political theater, President Bush’s speech last night was brilliant.
He flew the plane part of the way. He endured a carrier landing. He looked comfortable in a flight suit (feel free to bring back memories of Mike Dukakis looking like Snoopy in an M-1). He gave a stirring speech on a flight deck filled with victorious sailors and naval aviators.
Again, as pure political theater, the only thing I can compare it to is Ronald Reagan’s quips after being shot, Reagan chopping wood on his ranch, and Reagan. . .well, doing all those Reagan things. Karl Rove is at least the equal of Mike Deaver, if not better.
Was it necessary? Yes and no. At the conclusion of any campaign, the President usually first addresses Congress, then goes on a victory tour of some sort with the troops. Or at least that’s how Bush 41 did it after the Gulf War. The Congressional address is carried live by all the major networks. The talk to the troops is carried on the evening news. What Bush 43 did was to combine the two, thereby damn near forcing the networks to carry the speech live