Bush: “I’m the Decider”

President Bush yesterday backed Secretary Rumsfeld and said he still had his full confidence.

“I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision,” he said. “And Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. He’s not only transforming the military, he’s fighting a war on terror. He’s helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld. I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.”

From this truism–the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the one who gets to decide whether to keep his cabinet officials around–Joe Gandleman deduces that Bush does not understand democracy, congressional oversight, or the value of professional advice.

Here’s another way to read it: Bush taking responsibility for his administration and doubling down on his bets.

Who was the decider on Iraq? Hint: His initials are GWB. Yes, he got strong bipartisan support from Congress but it would not have happened were it not for his leadership.

If Iraq breaks down into a civil war, fragments into several states, or otherwise does not emerge as a stable democratic ally of the United States in the region, who gets the blame? Hint: It ain’t Donald Rumsfeld.

To use a sports analogy, Bush is the head coach. He’s lost more games than the fans expected but still has a shot at the playoffs. The sportswriters are calling for a change at quarterback. Who gets to decide? The coach. It’s his team.

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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.

Comments

  1. LJD says:

    Gandleman is a boob. Ignoring six retired officers does not amount to ignoring the military as a whole.

    So he wants the President of the United States to bend to popularity polls? We’ll see if he feels the same way about a Democratic President, if the kooks can ever produce a viable candidate.

  2. jacob says:

    Joe Gandleman deduces that Bush does not understand democracy, congressional oversight, or the value of professional advice
    Probably be shorter to ask just what bush does understand, answer not much.

    To use a sports analogy, Bush is the head coach
    I have a hint for you this is not a stupid football game. George isn’t the coach but if he were he would have been fired already. To use this absurd analogy is to reveal why all the repubs are behind it. You’re just cheering for the team, wasn’t George a cheerleader in college.

    Who was the decider on Iraq? Hint: His initials are GWB Well you got that right this is George’s war and he will go down as the worst president ever.

    Bush taking responsibility for his administration and doubling down on his bets
    Only a fool increases a bet on a losing hand but then look who we are talking about. George may not be the world’s biggest fool but when that person dies George will get the job.

  3. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘George may not be the worldâ??s biggest fool but when that person dies George will get the job. ‘

    He’s probably not interested in your pizza delivery job.

  4. Andy Vance says:

    Ah, the George Allen school of representative democracy.

  5. Steven Plunk says:

    It’s nice to see people who understand the use of an analogy to help explain a point.

    Let’s try the facts as they are. Bush is the president of the United States and hires and fires as he sees fit while ultimately being responsible for the job that his subordinates do. Given those facts it is inappropriate for others to expect him to listen to a few retired generals (too weak to complain while in uniform)or to fire a competent defense secretary. He’s the boss, elected by the people, for a few more years.

  6. legion says:

    Yes, but Bush never gets the unasked question – what if you decide wrong?

    I honestly don’t think he believes that’s possible…

  7. James Joyner says:

    legion: Maybe so. But, then, he got re-elected well after making the decision to go into Iraq and well after the insurgency broke out. He gets until January 20, 2009 barring resignation, death, or impeachment to do it his way.

  8. Roger says:

    Yep, we’re stuck with a loser, and the losers he appoints, for a couple more years. Nice break down on the analogy, Jacob.