With the bad guys in Iraq, Iran and North Korea all causing trouble trying to influence the American election, this is not a great time in the USA. Many folks simply don't want to hear anymore about Iraq and the terrorists and the nutty North Korean guy. People are exhausted.
And I fully understand. Life isn't easy even when things are going well. There are bills to pay, demanding bosses and children, insecurities all over the place.
If we had pacified Iraq, President Bush's approval rating would be about 60 percent. But Americans are dying in that chaotic country and most of us are looking at the Iraqi people and asking, "What the heck's going on? When are you guys going to knock it off?"
Now Sunday night on "60 Minutes," Andy Rooney suggested President Bush should just give it up in Iraq. We'll examine Mr. Rooney's remarks shortly.
But surrendering would put America in grave danger. What many Americans failed to realize is that we are being tested — tested — by the Islama-fascists, the North Koreans and others who despise us. Any sign of weakness will lead to more violence against us.
But we simply cannot stay the course in Iraq. The USA must demand the Iraqi people fight for their freedom and give the Iraqi government a private ultimatum: Get things under control. If you don't, you can't count on us to do it for you.
It is too late in this election cycle to make that kind of thing public, but the Bush administration must understand that most Americans have had it with Iraq. As Talking Points has stated before, war is a performance business.
In two weeks, most Americans will not vote. I am projecting the turnout will be about 35 percent. Democrats will make gains, but it's impossible to predict how many.
By nature, most Americans are optimistic. But in the world today, it's hard to be that. We as a nation have not accepted the fact that we're fighting a long, nasty world war. There's no running away from this, no avoiding the dangerous world in which we all live.
We can dance with the stars, idolize amateur singers, make all kinds of deals on TV quiz shows. But the next morning, the people who want to kill us will still be there searching for ways to surpass 9/11. And that is still the No. 1 song this election season.
And that's the Memo.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
The Washington Post/CNN media guy Howard Kurtz keeps a close eye on this broadcast and he noticed this during my interview with President Bush:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, CNN'S "RELIABLE SOURCES": Love him or hate him, Bill O'Reilly is a talented broadcaster. But have you noticed his knack for making everything about him? Here is he with the president of the United States, and the FOX News commentator turns the conversation to —- well, just watch:
O'REILLY: When people criticize me — I think I'm the most criticized person in the country. You're first by large margin, but I'm second.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes.
O'REILLY: I get really furious, especially if it's dishonest. There's also something else in play here, Mr. President. The secular-progressives — I just wrote a book called "Culture Warrior". And we sent you a free copy, by the way.
BUSH: That's good.
O'REILLY: The secular...
BUSH: Might entice me to actually read it.
KURTZ: Using a presidential interview for a book plug? Now that's chutzpa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Yes. Well, maybe it's chutzpa. But it will be worth it if the president actually reads the book. Then the secular-progressives, which Mr. Kurtz so subtly promotes, might have some new problems. Of course, it would not be ridiculous.
I'm not going to win an interview like that with this guy. I mean, he's going to find something not to like in 40 minutes.
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