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.