If George W. Bush’s speech last week to the National Endowment for Democracy were a Broadway play, it would’ve closed after opening night: All but his most slavish supporters panned it, and the general public yawned.

Billed by his PR people as “an important statement,” Bush’s speech rehashed his same worn-out and discredited lies about why the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq. He tried once again to link Iraq with 9/11, despite all the evidence to the contrary, and claimed the invasion was key to his “war on terrorism.”

Even the announcement the day before by New York City Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg about the “discovery” of a plot to bomb the city’s subway system, which was declared a hoax this week by authorities, failed to move the U.S. people into rallying to Bush’s call to “stay the course” in Iraq. Nor did Bush’s attempt to conjure up Cold War fears by likening Islamic fundamentalism to communism do any good.

It was obvious to just about anyone that the president’s speech was a reaction to the sharp criticism his administration has received because of its bungling response to the devastation cause by Katrina and the continuing quagmire in Iraq.

Polls within the last month that show the demand for immediate withdrawal from Iraq is now a mainstream viewpoint. Add to that the overwhelming support shown to Cindy Sheehan and her “Bring the troops home now” protest, and the momentous peace march in Washington with an estimated attendance of 300,000 to 500,000.

Finally, a new poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs found that, by a 50-44 percent margin, Americans agree that Bush should be impeached if he “did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war against Iraq.”

Bush’s speech is a sign of an administration in trouble, but this is no time to ease up. It is time to keep up the fightback with a view to the 2006 elections, when the people’s movement will have the opportunity to take control of the Congress from the right-wing Republicans. And impeachment is not as far-fetched as some might think.

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