Monday, April 17, 2006

From Charles Gabriel, Jr. at Prudential Equity Group:
The White House is once again staring at $3 per gallon gasoline, Bush approval ratings in the mid-to-high 30-percent range, and retired Army and Marine Corps generals mounting a cable-TV-amplified rebellion against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Administration officials seem so anxious to prove themselves, the Washington Post noted on April 16, that they're touting details of their preparation for a notional bird flu pandemic.

It is because of this backdrop that one can't help but be intrigued by the incremental incentive the White House might have this summer and fall to rattle the sabers louder and more convincingly than expected toward Iran. Handling Iran and the Global War on Terror is one of only a few areas where the public still expresses confidence in Bush and the Republicans equal to or greater than that afforded the Democrats. And a shift back to public focus on an imminent security threat or test of American resolve might (for Bush and GOP lawmakers) prove a welcome diversion from non-security issues, which seem to be playing to Democrats' strength.
In other words, look for a wag-the-dog, pre-November attack on Iran.

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