BUSH 43 VS BUSH 41, REDUX

Howard Fineman has an excellent piece on how GWB is Different From Dad:

The father settled for the narrowest possible aim with the widest possible support: driving Saddam from Kuwait, and only with full backing of the United Nations. His son seems quite willing to use military might to remake an entire region in idealistic, Wilsonian fashion—and without either the permission or direct participation of the United Nations. So far, Bush Two has conspicuously ignored the cautious advice of such Bush One friends as Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, in favor of big-think “neocons” whom Bush One distrusted but whose influence seems destined to grow with the relatively swift fall of Saddam’s regime.

Perhaps more importantly, in terms of avoiding being a one-termer, is the son’s acute awareness of the need to bolster the perception that he’s working to improve the economy. Fineman is right:

At the very least, voters have to be convinced that Bush cares, and that he has a plan to help them.

I’m skeptical that another round of modest tax cuts is going to do much for the economy; indeed, I think winning the war and the resultant stability will have far more impact. But perception and reality don’t always coincide.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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.