This Washington Post article
by Dana Milbank perceptively notes the similarities between the Bush administration's tax cut strategy and the tack they're taking on the president's upcoming visit to Europe: smile, talk, give nicknames, do what you wanted to do in the first place.
In the new beltway jargon this is known as reaching out: You announce ahead of time that you will listen to everyone's concerns but still do what you planned to do in the first place actually.
Of course, in real life we have another word for this: being patronized.
Here's another emerging pattern. Even when the Bush White House sees the need to conciliate some person or constituency the same tough-guy, ball-busting mentality just can't help but break through.
The White House is pretty clearly trying to backpedal on the global warming front and at least unruffle feathers among our European allies. But on FoxNews today, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card said the Europeans were basically full of it, trying to con us, on the Kyoto Treaty. "I think that they've been driven by emotion rather than by science," said Card said. He then went on to say that "I think it's a little bit of a game that they're playing" because the Europeans also haven't yet ratified the treaty.
Are these two tacks really compatible?
Even when the folks at Bush White House are trying to conciliate or soothe over differences they still can't help kicking a little ass, busting the other guy's chops, showing everyone who's boss.
Hasn't Card gotten in trouble for this tough guy routine before?