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Dave 28th May 2006 11:23 PM

George Bush's New Approach
George W Bush is one of my least favourite people, mainly because he keeps doing my least favourite things (like invading countries and destroying natural resources). Over the last year I've taken a lot of consolation in the fact that American voters have also been finding him less favourable, so it galls me to admit that I hope his approval rating goes up this week.

Huh? Me, wanting something good to happen to G W Bush?

Well, sort of. In the last few days Bush and buddy Blair have taken the unusual step of admitting mistakes. Bush even said he regretted some of his earlier tough talk. This is a big change for the man who re-defined American Arrogance.

Of course I'm aware that this change of strategy was not his decision, it was a desperate act of political survival by his advisors. In fact the new-look George who was paraded for the press this week was such a sudden contrast that it all appeared embarrassingly contrived, but that's not the point. The point is that the presidential PR camp has realised tough-guy George has failed and there's nothing to lose by trying a slightly more humble, human approach.

Although George Bush hasn't made any substantial move towards common sense, he has made a very tiny step in the right direction. Psychologists and animal trainers know that when you are trying to train a stubborn or slow-learning subject it is important to reward incremental improvements. When the subject makes the smallest move in the right direction you give them a reward in the hope that they will be more inclined to move in that direction in the future.

No-one believes George has suddenly reformed but at least he's made a move. Let's give him a candy bar and hope he learns something.

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