EDITORIAL: It’s time for Bush to ‘chat’

During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt often spoke on the radio in what were known as the “Fireside Chats.” In the chats, the president discussed and explained the conduct of the war in Europe and Asia to the American people.

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee suggested President Bush use a presentation similar to Roosevelt’s to update citizens on the progress in the war in Iraq.

Perhaps it could be called the Bush Banter; maybe the Chimney Comments.

No matter its name, it is the opinion of this editorial board that a new kind of communication is needed between this country’s administration and the people. A 2005 version of the “Fireside Chats” may be an appropriate medium through which Bush can explain – in detail – what is going on in Iraq.

It is clear that people want more information. The U.S. Senate voted 79-19 on Nov. 15 to urge the current administration to explain its strategy for success in Iraq to the public. In that same vote, the Senate demonstrated its support for quarterly reports on policy and military operations.

Through the Senate, the people of the United States have spoken. They want answers and explanations, not party lines and vague declarations. It is time the president gives the people who elected him – and the people who did not – the details they demand.

It is quite possible that a new version of the “Fireside Chats” would help Bush, too. The president’s approval ratings have fallen significantly as the war in Iraq continues. Many citizens distrust the motives behind the war and the “progress” the administration claims to see overseas.

Opening the channels of communication between the president, his administration and the people could only help this country, as long as Bush provides sturdy information and non-sugar-coated reports.

According to illustrations available at www.whitehouse.gov, there are several fireplaces in the president’s home, including those in the library, state dining room and blue room. This editorial board suggests he follow Roosevelt’s example, grab a microphone and set up shop near one of them.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.