Bill Kristol fumes a bit here on the Bush administrations silence on the leak of the "executive summary" of 600K documents related to Iraq / al Quaeda connections. The report says "no smoking gun", which the MSM translates to "no connection", and the Bush administration remains silent. This paragraph summarizes the Bush logic.
If you talk to people in the Bush administration, they know the truth about the report. They know that it makes the case convincingly for Saddam's terror connections. But they'll tell you (off the record) it's too hard to try to set the record straight. Any reengagement on the case for war is a loser, they'll say. Furthermore, once the first wave of coverage is bad, you can never catch up: You give the misleading stories more life and your opponents further chances to beat you up in the media. And as for trying to prevent misleading summaries and press leaks in the first place--that's hopeless. Someone will tell the media you're behaving like Scooter Libby, and God knows what might happen next.What Reagan realized that apparently Bush never has is that the MSM is going to say what they say, and there is nothing he can do about it. They have their agenda, they are going to follow it, and a major part of it is going to be to destroy a Republican President. What he needs to do is essentially what they will accuse him of doing anyway; he needs to claim what he wants to claim in very clear but GENERAL terms and let them spend time arguing about it. As long as they are arguing about how to "prove him wrong", he has won the battle.
When Bush said that "The British say that Saddam is trying to get yellowcake", he had the mistaken idea that since the statement was 100% true, it was safe. Clearly wrong, the MSM took the 100% true statement, and called it a lie. It didn't bother them to lie one little bit.
As a Republican, you have to realize that NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, the MSM is going to call you a "liar", "evil", "incompetent", etc ... they did that with Reagan as well. The difference is that Reagan made his direct case to the American public like a media person, not like an "aw shucks, if I do everything right people will have to like me" honest guy. Don't expect the media to be fair, expect them toe be UNfair. Get THEM arguing about "well, the USSR really ISN'T an "evil empire" ... when Americans knew it was. If you are a Republican, you can count on the media trying to call up down if you call it up.
It is way too late for the Bush administration to make it's case, no matter what Kristol says. Reagan was such a genius. Did he believe that the USSR was an "evil empire"? Probably somewhat, but more importantly he knew how the media and the American people would react to his statement of a stark contrast. Even I can pine away for Reagan from time to time.