BIG WIN FOR BUSH

Howard Fineman says President Bush continues to take big risks and win big:

I’ll focus on what I know, which is this: it’s George W. Bush, in a sense, who toppled that statue. The guy doesn’t play small ball; he goes for the Big Inning—and doesn’t waver. Bush is what I’d call a disciplined radical, pursuing sweeping aims with an almost blinkered determination. At least for now—since September 11, 2001—it’s working. A month ago I wrote in this space that never had so much blood and treasure been risked on the hope that people would smile. Well, watch MSNBC. There they are.

The last three weeks of the Big Inning Presidency have been a roller-coaster of emotion in the cable-TV green rooms of the commentariat. The war went from “cakewalk” to “quagmire” and back again in the eyes of retired generals and other experts second-guessing every move in every way. On Day 13, one very senior retired general privately had me convinced that Tommy Franks was a fool and that disastrously thin American forces would be butchered wholesale in Baghdad. Nonmilitary types, from Hollywood to the Hill, tauntingly wondered where the Happy Iraqis were—the locals Bush believed would celebrate in the streets.

Throughout this dark time I nagged my White House sources, trying to glean what little I could about the president—his mood, his orders, state of mind. A few outsiders not in position to know (and who loathe his war policy for various reasons) spread word that he had grown snappish and weary. I think they were wrong. My sense is that he burrowed deeper into himself (and ran extra miles on the treadmill), steadily monitoring the war but never losing faith (or sleep) about his momentous decision to take out Saddam with a U.S.-U.K. coalition.

Fineman positively gushes over Bush’s leadership style, although worries that his propensity to take risks could backfire at some point.

(Hat tip: PoliBlogger)

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.