Between elections, Mrs. Bush is publicly seen hostessing parties and dinners, touring foreign countries with a daughter or two, supporting New York's "Fashion Week," and quietly accompanying her husband on trips.
But rarely stumping for issues or candidates, or granting interviews.
TRANSLATION: Laura makes George look palatable. People tell themselves that if that wonderful Laura Bush likes George, well... maybe he's not such a bad guy
They're desperately hoping that Laura Bush's substantial likability will ooze over George and Republican candidates, and cause voters to overlook all those inconvenient issues.
4. The Reemergence of Osama bin Laden
On the 5th anniversary of 9/11, President Bush said in a nationally-televised speech, "Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice."
And on September 15, 2006, President Bush said, "You know, there is a kind of an urban myth here in Washington about how this administration hasn't stayed focused on Osama bin Laden. Forget it. It's convenient throw-away lines..."
Before September 11, 2006, George Bush hadn't publicly mentioned Osama bin Laden in ages, for fear of reminding voters that he's failed miserably for 5 years to find the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
As late-night comedian Jon Stewart wryly joked about the President's September 11, 2006 Osama bin Laden reference, "Huh??? There's one for the where-are-they-now list."
Remember the threatening bin Laden audio tape that "surfaced" on the eve of the 2004 presidential election? Analysts uniformly believe that exquisitely-timed tape cast a major influence on Bush-Kerry election results. Immediately after its release to the news media, Bush surged to a new 6-point poll lead over contender Kerry.
And remember the first weeks of 2006, when the Bush Administration was reeling under the weight of Jack Abramoff's Republican bribery and corruption revelations; with Congressional hearings slated to start on Bush's rampant warrantless spying; and after the brilliant Martin Luther King birthday speech by Al Gore, in which he declared..."...the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently"?
Yup, you guessed it. Another bin Laden audio tape surfaced that very week. And it's "coincidentally" happened on many other occasions when George Bush needed to shore up his support. And almost never happens at any other time.
Reality is that many international leaders and their intelligence agencies, especially in the Middle East, strongly believe that Osama bin Laden is dead, and has been for several years.
In fact, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was informed by the CIA in November 2005 that bin Laden is likely dead.
And such suspicions grow more widespread daily in the US.
Regardless, look for Bush/Rove resurrection of the useful political ghost of bin Laden once again in 2006. You can mark your election calendar by it.
TRANSLATION: The world knows that al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006, and no other Middle Eastern figure has been developed to sufficiently frighten the American public. Osama bin Laden wins the nomination to 2006 terror-scarecrow by default.
5. George Bush, Born-Again Environmentalist
1. George Bush, likely the most environmentally-destructive president in our nation's history, plans to make "an astonishing U-turn on global warming, senior Washington sources say," per The Independent in Great Britain.
Writes The Independent, "Over the past few days rumours swept the capital that the 'Toxic Texan' would announce his conversion this week."
This from an administration that has longed implied that global warming is a hoax, and for 5 damaging years, has stymied the Kyoto Protocol international global warming agreement.
TRANSLATION: The public thinks it's cool to fight global warming, so we need to get with the PR program during this election cycle. We can dump it after the elections.
Will the Public Be Fooled Again?
Will US voters buy Bush as a born-again global warming believer, just in time for the November 2006 mid-term elections?
Will US voters shiver in fearful paranoia at their biennial dose of Bush imagery of Middle Eastern Nazi-clones, mushroom clouds and Armageddon without Republican leadership?
Will US voters swallow another campaign season of ugly smears by the Bush/Rove campaign machine?
Will US voters be lulled into sleepy obedience again by likable Laura?
Will US voters be tricked again by cleverly timed, unknowably edited tapes by bogeyman Osama bin Laden?
We will know on November 8, 2006.For the sake of our great country, I pray not.
My guess, and that of public polls, is NO.