Last year, just days before President Bush delivered his annual State of the Union speech, reporters asked then-White House Press Secretary Tony Snow if anyone was “going to pay much attention” to the President’s proposals because of his low approval numbers. “The President is going to offer some bold proposals,” replied Snow.
He then said that Bush would never “cease to be bold” because of his unpopularity:
SNOW: What’s interesting is the President is going to offer some bold proposals that Congress could, in fact, enact, and in the process make itself look good and, more importantly, do the people ‘s business. So George W. Bush as a President is not somebody who is going to cease to be bold because there has been — because right now people are concerned about the progress of the war.
Snow’s belief in Bush’s boldness was shared at the time by other members of the administration. “The power of the ideas requires people to take notice,” then-White House Counselor Dan Bartlett told the New York Times at the time.
If Snow and Bartlett were still in the administration, they would be disappointed to learn Bush’s plans for his final State of the Union address:
In a bow to political reality, President Bush’s final State of the Union speech will skip bold proposals in favor of ones the country has heard before, a modest approach for a White House that prides itself on big ideas. […]
“It’s just not realistic,” acknowledged White House press secretary Dana Perino on Thursday.